Heal Your Body With a Plant Based Anti Inflammatory Diet
Have you been feeling under the weather lately? Nothing seems to be seriously wrong, but you just don’t feel your best. You’re tired, achy, and just generally blah. There’s a good chance inflammation is the culprit. The typical Western diet full of sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods promotes inflammation in the body, which can sap your energy, cause pain, and lead to more serious health issues down the road.
The good news is, you can heal your body and ease inflammation by switching to an plant based anti inflammatory diet. A plant-based diet with lots of whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats can work wonders.
An plant based anti inflammatory diet reduces inflammation by providing antioxidants and nutrients that support gut health, balance hormones, and limit free radical damage. In just a few weeks of eating an plant based anti inflammatory diet, you’ll likely start to feel like your old self again. You’ll wake up with more energy, your aches and pains will subside, and your mood and mental clarity will improve.
An anti-inflammatory diet is a natural remedy that can have profound effects on your health and well-being. Why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose, except the blahs.
What Is Inflammation and Why Reduce It?
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury or infection. White blood cells rush to the affected area, causing redness, swelling, and pain. This immune system reaction helps protect you from harm in the short term.
The problem is when inflammation becomes chronic, lasting for months or years. This can happen due to autoimmune diseases, allergies, obesity, stress, or unhealthy lifestyle habits. Chronic inflammation has been linked to health issues like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even some cancers. The good news is an plant based anti inflammatory diet can help reduce inflammation in your body and lower disease risk.
A plant-based diet is naturally anti-inflammatory.
Filling your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds gives you antioxidants, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds to help lower inflammation. Some of the best options include:
•Leafy greens like spinach and kale: High in inflammation-fighting vitamins A, C and K.
•Fatty fish: Salmon and sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids which are strongly anti-inflammatory.
•Turmeric or curcumin supplements: Turmeric is a spice used in curries that contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound.
•Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocados and coconut oil provide anti-inflammatory fats.
•Berries: Blueberries and cherries in particular are loaded with anthocyanins that reduce inflammation.
•Cruciferous veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts boost your levels of glucosinolates, compounds that fight inflammation.
• Green tea: Contains compounds like EGCG that have an anti-inflammatory effect, especially helpful for gut inflammation.
An plant based anti inflammatory diet can be a natural solution to decreasing chronic inflammation in your body. Give it a try – your health will thank you!
The Benefits of an plant based Anti Inflammatory Diet
A plant based anti inflammatory diet can do wonders for your health. By reducing inflammation in your body, you’ll feel less pain, have more energy, and may even lower your risk of disease.
Some of the main benefits of plant based anti inflammatory diet include:
- Less pain. Inflammation is a major cause of pain in the body. By eating anti-inflammatory foods, you can relieve joint pain, muscle pain, and even headaches.
- Improved gut health. An anti-inflammatory diet is high in fiber and good bacteria that are essential for optimal gut health and digestion. Your gut microbiome directly impacts your overall health and immunity.
- Lower disease risk. Chronic inflammation is linked to conditions like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and more. An anti-inflammatory diet may help lower your risk of developing these serious diseases.
- Healthier skin. Inflammation shows up on your skin in the form of redness, irritation, and breakouts. Anti-inflammatory foods can reduce skin inflammation, leaving you with a clear, glowing complexion.
- Better sleep. Inflammation disrupts your body’s circadian rhythms and makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. An anti-inflammatory diet leads to less pain and stress, making it easier for you to sleep soundly through the night.
- Improved mood. Inflammation is connected to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Anti-inflammatory foods boost the production of mood-regulating chemicals in the brain that can help reduce feelings of stress and promote an overall sense of wellbeing.
In summary, plant based anti inflammatory diet does far more than just reduce pain. It can transform your health from the inside out and provide benefits for life. Making the switch to an anti-inflammatory diet may be one of the best things you can do for your long term health and happiness.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts should be staples in any plant based anti inflammatory diet. These veggies are packed with compounds like sulforaphane that help reduce inflammation in the body.
Broccoli is high in vitamins K, C, and A, and also contains folate, potassium, and fiber. It’s one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Broccoli sprouts, in particular, have up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli. Add broccoli to salads, stir fries, or eat it raw with a dip like hummus.
Brussels sprouts are miniature cabbages full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. They help boost the health of your heart, bones, and cells. Brussels sprouts contain compounds called glucosinolates that may help fight cancer. Roast Brussels sprouts with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper until crispy for a simple side dish. Shred them in slaws or add to pasta dishes and grain bowls.
Both broccoli and Brussels sprouts belong to the brassica family of vegetables, known for their many health benefits. Other options include:
•Cabbage – Red and green cabbage are great for coleslaws, wraps, and salads. Cabbage is high in vitamins K and C.
•Kale – This leafy green is packed with vitamins A, C and K. Massage chopped kale with olive oil and lemon juice for salads or add to smoothies.
•Arugula – Peppery arugula adds flavor to salads and sandwiches. It’s a good source of folate, vitamin A and antioxidants.
•Bok choy – Mild-flavored bok choy works well in stir fries, soups and braised dishes. It provides lots of vitamin A, C and folate.
•Radicchio – Bitter radicchio mixes nicely with sweeter greens in salads. It contains antioxidants like quercetin and vitamin K.
•Turnip greens – The leafy green tops of turnips have a strong, mustardy flavor and are loaded with nutrients like folate, vitamin K, vitamin A and manganese.
Including a variety of these cruciferous veggies in your diet can have significant anti-inflammatory effects and provide many other benefits for your health and wellness. Aim for 2 to 3 cups per week for the best results.
Berries: Nature’s Candy With Benefits
Berries are nature’s candy—sweet, delicious and bursting with nutrition. Their vibrant colors come from anthocyanins, plant pigments that act as antioxidants in your body. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage your cells. Choosing a diet high in antioxidants, especially from berries, is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation and promote health.
Blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses, with one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits and vegetables. Their anthocyanins give blueberries their signature blue hue and help reduce inflammation in the body. Blueberries may help improve memory, prevent heart disease, and reduce the risk of cancer. Aim for 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries two to three times per week.
Blackberries are another excellent source of anthocyanins, with anti-inflammatory effects. Blackberries can help control blood sugar levels, improve digestive health and may even enhance brain function. Blackberries contain fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Have 1/2 to 1 cup of blackberries two to three times per week.
Raspberries contain anthocyanins that give them their bright red color and help fight inflammation in the body. Raspberries are high in fiber, vitamin C and manganese. They may help reduce the risk of cancer, improve metabolism and enhance skin health. Enjoy 1/2 to 1 cup of raspberries two to three times per week.
Strawberries are not only delicious but also highly nutritious, containing anthocyanins with anti-inflammatory effects. Strawberries are high in vitamin C, folate and manganese. They may help boost heart health, support healthy vision and promote skin health. Aim for 1/2 to 1 cup of strawberries four times per week.
Berries are nature’s sweet treat and one of the healthiest ways to reduce inflammation in your body. Stock up on a variety of berries and enjoy them in yogurt, oatmeal, salads or right out of hand. Your body and taste buds will reap the benefits.
Healthy Fats: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Avocados
Healthy fats are essential for reducing inflammation in your body. Focus on consuming more of these beneficial fats:
Olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet and is loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking, marinades and salad dressings. It has a low smoke point, so avoid using it for high-heat cooking methods.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides that are easily digested and help support brain and thyroid health. Coconut oil is very stable at high heat, so it’s great for sautéing and stir-fries. Add a tablespoon to your morning coffee or smoothie for an energy boost.
Avocados are a perfect anti-inflammatory food. They’re rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and contain compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Avocados also provide nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, B vitamins, and folate. Enjoy half an avocado on toast, in salads, or make guacamole as a dip.
Other sources of healthy fats include:
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Seeds such as chia, flax and hemp
- Fatty fish high in omega-3s like salmon, sardines and mackerel
- Grass-fed meat and pasture-raised eggs
Replace unhealthy fats from red meat and full-fat dairy products with these healthy options. When cooking, use coconut oil or olive oil instead of canola or vegetable oil. By making this simple switch, you’ll reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.
A balanced diet with the right types of fats is key to decreasing inflammation in the body. Focus on following an plant based anti inflammatory diet, managing your stress, staying active and getting enough sleep. Your body and mind will thank you!
Herbs and Spices: Turmeric, Ginger and Rosemary
Turmeric, ginger, and rosemary are three herbs with potent anti-inflammatory effects that are easy to incorporate into your diet.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with anti-inflammatory abilities. Turmeric can be added to curries, stews, and smoothies. You can also make turmeric tea by simmering turmeric root in hot water and straining, or add ground turmeric to warm nut milk with honey for a golden milk latte.
Ginger is a rhizome related to turmeric that also reduces inflammation in the body. Grate fresh ginger into stir fries, salad dressings, and marinades or add ginger juice to sparkling water for a refreshing homemade ginger beer. Pickled ginger can be used as a condiment or palate cleanser. For an anti-inflammatory tea, steep freshly grated ginger in hot water.
Rosemary is an aromatic herb from the Mediterranean with rosmarinic acid, a compound that inhibits inflammation. Rosemary adds flavor to tomato sauces, bean dishes, and eggs. Use rosemary sprigs to infuse olive oil or vinegar. You can also make an inflammation-fighting rosemary tisane by steeping fresh rosemary needles in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the needles before drinking.
Using these herbs and spices in your everyday cooking is an easy way to get the benefits of their anti-inflammatory effects. Even small amounts on a regular basis can have significant benefits for reducing chronic inflammation in the body and promoting overall health and wellness.
Here are a few more ways to add plant based anti inflammatory herbs to your diet:
•Make herb-infused rice, quinoa or farro by simmering grains in broth with turmeric, ginger and rosemary.
•Add turmeric, ginger and rosemary to homemade salad dressings, marinades and rubs.
•Make a spice blend with turmeric, ginger, rosemary, black pepper and olive oil. Use it to coat vegetables before roasting.
•Add turmeric, ginger and rosemary to homemade bone broth or miso soup.
•Make golden milk ice cubes by blending turmeric milk with banana and honey and freezing in ice cube trays. Add to smoothies.
•Steep fresh or dried herbs in vinegar or honey for inflammatory salad dressings and glazes.
•Add anti-inflammatory herbs to homemade hummus, tapenade, pesto and harissa paste.
Using a variety of herbs and spices is the key to an plant based anti inflammatory diet. Experiment by adding different herbs to your favorite recipes and beverages to find new ways to reap their benefits.
Legumes: Beans, Lentils and Peas Galore
Legumes like beans, lentils, and peas should make up a big part of your plant-based anti-inflammatory diet. These powerhouses are packed with fiber, protein, and various antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Beans of all kinds — black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, etc. — are nutritional superstars. They’re loaded with fiber, protein, and antioxidants like quercetin, all of which help combat inflammation. Aim for 1 to 2 cups of beans 3 to 4 times per week. Some easy ways to eat more beans:
•Add them to salads – Black beans pair great with a spinach salad.
•Make chili – A pot of veggie chili made with kidney beans is perfect for leftovers.
• Mash them as a dip – Black bean dip with veggies is delicious.
•Soup them up – Lentil soup with beans is warming and satisfying.
Don’t overlook lentils, like brown, red, and green lentils. They’re a quick-cooking legume that’s ideal for soups, stews, and salads. Lentils provide a hefty dose of fiber, protein, and antioxidants in just one cup. Simmer lentils with aromatics like garlic and onion, then season with cumin, chili powder, and fresh herbs.
Peas, such as black-eyed peas and split peas, deserve a spot on your anti-inflammatory menu. They’re packed with nutrients like fiber, protein, folate and antioxidants. Add split peas to soup for a creamy base, or simmer black-eyed peas with collard greens for a Southern-inspired side dish.
Legumes may cause gas for some, an unpleasant side effect of their fiber content. Start slowly and drink plenty of water to give your body time to adjust. Drain and rinse canned beans to reduce sodium. When prepared properly, legumes can be a very healthy part of your plant-based diet. Focus on variety and season them boldly for maximum flavor. Your body and taste buds will thank you.
Whole Grains: Choose Wisely for Maximum Benefit
Whole grains are a key part of an plant based anti inflammatory diet, but some are better than others. Choose wisely for the most benefit.
Brown rice is a whole grain that still has the bran and germ intact. Unlike refined white rice, it retains more nutrients like magnesium, selenium, and fiber. Brown rice is versatile and can be used in place of white rice in most recipes. Other options include:
- Wild rice: Technically not rice at all, wild rice is a whole grain that is high in protein and fiber. It has an earthy, nutty flavor and chewy texture.
- Quinoa: This ancient grain is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. It’s also high in fiber, iron and magnesium. Quinoa has a mild nutty flavor and a texture similar to couscous.
- Barley: Barley is high in fiber, selenium, and B vitamins. Pearl barley has the bran removed, while hulled barley retains more nutrients. Barley has an earthy, nutty flavor and a chewy, pasta-like consistency.
• Buckwheat: Despite the name, buckwheat is not wheat at all. It’s an ancient whole grain that’s high in magnesium, copper and manganese. Buckwheat has an assertive, nutty flavor and a texture similar to bulgur wheat.
Avoid These Grains
Some whole grains are heavily refined and not as nutritious. Limit or avoid:
• Whole wheat flour: While better than white flour, whole wheat flour is still quite processed and low in nutrients compared to intact whole grains.
• Wheat germ: Although wheat germ contains fiber, protein and healthy fats, it lacks many of the nutrients found in whole wheat berries. It’s often highly processed and may be rancid.
• Bran cereal: Bran contains fiber but lacks nutrients found in the germ and endosperm. Bran cereals are usually highly sweetened and made from refined grains.
Choosing nutritious whole grains, limiting more processed options and watching your portion sizes can help reduce inflammation and promote better health. A balanced whole foods diet with lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of vegetables and fruits is key.
Plant Based Anti Inflammatory Diet FAQs
Wondering if an plant based anti inflammatory diet is right for you? Here are some common questions and answers to help you decide.
Do plant based diets really reduce inflammation?
Yes, plant-based diets high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body. These plant foods are high in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can help lower inflammation. Some of the top anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Turmeric and ginger: Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects.
- Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that help fight inflammation.
- Fatty fish: Salmon, sardines, and trout contain omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce inflammation in the body.
-Nuts and seeds: Especially almonds, walnuts, and flax seeds which provide healthy fats and fiber.
-Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, and cherries which contain anthocyanins that give them their bright red and blue hues, also act as antioxidants.
What are the 3 best foods to fight inflammation?
- Turmeric and curcumin supplements: Turmeric is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory spices. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that reduces inflammation.
- Fatty fish high in omega-3s: Salmon, sardines, and mackerel contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are strongly anti-inflammatory. Aim for 2-3 servings per week.
- Leafy green vegetables: Leafy greens like kale, spinach and swiss chard are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Try to have 1-2 cups daily.
What is the most anti-inflammatory plant?
Turmeric is considered one of the most anti-inflammatory plants. The curcumin in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Turmeric supplements or adding more turmeric to your diet by sprinkling it on foods, making turmeric tea or turmeric milk (golden milk) can help reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of this yellow spice.
So there you have it. By switching to an plant based anti inflammatory diet, you can transform your health and wellness. Focus on eating more whole plant foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Crowd out inflammatory foods like red meat, sugar and processed carbs. Drink plenty of water and herbal tea to stay hydrated. Get enough sleep and exercise regularly to keep inflammation in check.
Making this lifestyle change may seem challenging at first, but your body and mind will thank you. You’ll have more energy, better digestion, improved skin health and a lower disease risk. An plant based anti inflammatory diet is one of the best things you can do for your long term health and vitality. Give it a try – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your body will heal and rejuvenate, leaving you feeling years younger. Here’s to your health!