The anti-inflammatory diet is a nutritional plan that aims to calm down the ongoing inflammation in the body, and thus prevent many diseases that originate from chronic low-intensity inflammation (e.g. diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease). Read what are the rules of the anti-inflammatory diet and find out what products to include in it, and which are not recommended to consume.
As a result of chronic stress, exposure to pollution, genetic predisposition, very small amounts of exercise and improper diet, a large part of the population is exposed to diseases associated with chronic inflammation.
Dr Weil ‘s anti-inflammatory diet is designed to respond to the needs and solve the problems of more and more often suffering communities. Recommendations for an anti-inflammatory diet can be modified in terms of calorific value and combine the anti-inflammatory effect of menus with excess weight loss.
The anti-inflammatory diet is based on products with strong antioxidant potential and scientifically proven anti-inflammatory effect. Her recommendations and principles were formulated by dr. Andrew Weil – American specialist in nutrition and integrative medicine. Its primary task is to prevent and eliminate inflammation.
Inflammation, in turn, is a normal reaction of the body to injury, injury or microbial attack. Allows for quick recovery and prevents the spread of the disease.
Acute inflammation is manifested in:
- elevated temperature,
- feeling hot,
- redness, swelling and pain at the site of injury.
It is a natural and desirable defence response that mobilizes the immune system to react in a given place.
Chronic inflammation is dangerous for health, which takes a hidden form and gives no symptoms for a long time.
Chronic inflammation is the cause of increased oxidative stress, which is one of the triggers of autoimmune diseases, e.g. lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Chronic inflammation is also mentioned among the causes of atherosclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, allergies and others.
Chronic inflammation is responsible for stress, environmental pollution, use of stimulants, drug abuse and – last but not least – diet.
Diet can be both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory diet inhibiting and reversing the changes caused by chronic inflammation is part of the cure for civilization diseases and above all a way to prevent them.
What is the anti-inflammatory diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet is a nutritional plan that aims to provide your body with the necessary nutrients to help prevent and treat diseases associated with chronic inflammation.
Dr Andrew Weil – lecturer at Harvard, pioneer of integrative medicine, combining traditional Far Eastern knowledge with the scientific achievements of Western medicine, well-known American nutrition expert and author of many popular books are responsible for systematizing knowledge obtained on the basis of scientific research results and formulating anti-inflammatory diet recommendations. According to his idea, the anti-inflammatory diet is a diet based on the Mediterranean diet, but with a few additions, such as green tea, dark chocolate and Asian mushrooms.
The goal of the anti-inflammatory diet is not slimming, but to provide the body with optimal health.
The nutrition pyramid in the anti-inflammatory diet
The nutrition pyramid in the anti-inflammatory diet consists of 12 floors, on which products with anti-inflammatory potential are placed and indications regarding the frequency of their consumption. The anti-inflammatory food pyramid was developed by dr. Andrew Weil.
Foods to eat with an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan are:
1. Vegetables (minimum 4-5 servings per day) – especially green leafy vegetables ( spinach, kale ), cruciferous vegetables ( cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage ), carrots, beets, onions, beans, kelp. They are a very good source of flavonoids and carotenoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential. It’s best to choose vegetables from the entire colour palette to provide yourself with a variety of nutrients. Vegetables can be eaten raw and cooked.
2. Fruit (3-4 servings per day) – the darker the fruit, the more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients they contain. Like vegetables, they provide flavonoids and carotenoids. It is advisable to eat a variety of fruits.
3. Grains (3-5 servings per day) – rice wild, brown and basmati rice, buckwheat, buckwheat and barley, quinoa, cereal products is recommended. Their task is to provide energy and minimize sudden jumps in blood glucose and insulin levels, which promotes inflammatory processes. Bread is not allowed.
4. noodles (2-3 times per week) – of flour, rice, bean starch acceptable additives in the diet of anti-inflammatory. It is important that they are cooked al dente so that they have a lower glycemic index and cause fewer fluctuations in blood glucose levels.
5. Legume seeds (1-2 servings per day) – beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fibre, which supports the excretion of toxins from the body. They are also a source of protein and have a low glycemic index, which helps control blood sugar levels.
6. Healthy fats (5-7 servings per day) – recommended sources of fat are extra virgin olive oil, organic, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, walnuts and hazelnuts, seeds, especially hemp seeds and linseeds, chia seeds, avocados, fatty foods sea fish, eggs from chickens fed fodder enriched with omega-3 fatty acids and soy products. Their task is to provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant polyphenols.
The anti-inflammatory diet is very varied – you can consume various types of products, and you only have to give up some.
7. Fish and seafood (2-6 times a week) – salmon, herring, sardines, tuna and mackerel are sources of omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory effect. Their consumption is all the more important as they are one of the few sources of these valuable fats in food.
8. Soy products (1-2 servings daily) – tofu, tempeh, soy milk and soy dishes are to provide the right amount of antioxidant isoflavones. Choose whole soybeans instead of soy protein isolates, such as protein supplements and ready meals.
9. Cooked Asian mushrooms (unlimited) – Shiitake, enokidake, maitake and other mushrooms contain ingredients that support the functioning of the immune system. They are not allowed to eat raw.
10. Protein sources (1-2 times a week) – cheese, high-quality dairy, eggs enriched with omega-3, skinless poultry and lean dairy are products that may appear in the anti-inflammatory diet, but their consumption should be limited.
11. Herbs and spices (without restrictions) – these are diet ingredients with powerful antioxidant potential. You can use both fresh and dried.
12. Tea (2-4 cups a day) – green, white and oolongs are sources of catechins and other anti-inflammatory compounds. Brew them appropriately to maximize health and taste benefits.
13. Supplements (daily) – multivitamin and multimineral supplementation are intended to supplement deficiencies if a person on an anti-inflammatory diet is not able to follow it exactly. Particularly important supplements are vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, selenium, coenzyme Q10, vitamin D and fish oil.
14. Red wine (optional, no more than 1-2 glasses a day) – is a product with a well-known anti-inflammatory effect, for which mainly resveratrol and quercetin are responsible.
15. Healthy sweets (sporadically) – unsweetened dried fruit, fruit sorbets and dark chocolate with a cocoa content of min. 70% are sweets that are approved in the anti-inflammatory diet.
Products prohibited in the anti-inflammatory diet:
- sweetened drinks and fruit juices;
- white bread, white pasta and other purified flour products;
- shop sweets, doughnuts, buns;
- ice cream, cake creams;
- salty snacks: chips, sticks, crackers;
- highly processed meats: sausages, canned goods, sausages, sausages with meat content below 90%, whose
- mass is increased by injection with water with polyphosphates;
- trans-fatty acids (hardened vegetable oils);
- spirits, e.g. vodka, whiskey, gin.
Anti-inflammatory diet principles
The anti-inflammatory diet is based on fresh food, mainly vegetables and fruits, recommends eating a variety of products to provide the whole range of health-promoting ingredients, and encourages the elimination of processed and fast food. It is to cover the body’s needs because it is not a slimming diet. In the anti-inflammatory diet, it is recommended to include carbohydrate, fat and protein sources with each meal, and the energy distribution from macronutrients should look like this:
- 40-50% of energy from carbohydrates,
- 30% from fat,
- 20-30% from protein.
Most of the carbohydrates in the diet should be low processed products, not refined, with the low glycemic index, e.g. cereal and rice. Products containing white wheat flour and sugar, especially bread, sweets and salty snacks should be excluded. It is also advisable to avoid products with glucose-fructose syrup.
Daily calorie intake in the anti-inflammatory diet ranges from 2 to 3 thousand and is dependent on gender, age and physical activity.
It is recommended to eat 40 g dietary fibre daily by incorporating a large number of berries, vegetables and whole-grain products. In the anti-inflammatory diet, you should strongly limit the consumption of saturated fat, which is found in butter, cream, cheese and meat. It is particularly important to exclude products containing highly pro-inflammatory trans fats, present in hardened (hydrogenated) vegetable oils from margarine and fries, which can be found primarily in sweets and confectionery, as well as ready meals and powdered soups. Recommended oils are olive oil and rapeseed oil, and desirable fat sources are nuts and avocados. It is very important to eat fish that provide omega-3 fatty acids. People who do not eat fish should take supplements with EPA and DHA.
In the anti-inflammatory diet, animal protein should be severely reduced, and the amount of plant protein eaten from legume seeds and soy products should be increased. To maximize the anti-inflammatory potential of the diet and protect against diseases, it is necessary to include a variety of sources of bioactive phytochemicals – make sure that the menu is varied, contains vegetables and fruits in different colours and is based on the guidelines described in the anti-inflammatory food pyramid.
The anti-inflammatory diet recommends taking a daily set of antioxidant supplements:
- vitamin C – 200 mg,
- vitamin E – 400 IU,
- selenium – 200 µg,
- carotenoids – 10000-15000 IU,
- folic acid – 400 µg,
- vitamin D – 2000 IU.
Anti-inflammatory diet: menu
Oatmeal cooked in water, with blueberries, chia seeds and cashews
Strawberries + a handful of almonds
Buckwheat groats with smoked tofu and mushrooms
Preparation method: 2/3 cup buckwheat and 1/3 cup dried mushrooms put in the pan, in which oil was preheated. Fry until porridge sizzles and smells. Pour 1/4 cup of broth or water and boil. Add liquid and cook until the porridge is soft. Season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Chop half a tofu and fry n oil until browned. Add chopped onion and fry until it is fine. Porridge with mushrooms put on a plate put tofu on top, sprinkle with chives. Serve with pickled cucumbers or other vegetables.
Avocado paste with a clove of garlic, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of lemon juice + carrots cut into sticks
Tomato soup with lentils and coconut
Preparation: 1 large onion and 2 cloves of garlic, chop and fry in hot oil. Add spices: 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon curry, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of chilli. Fry for a while. Pour 2 cans of chopped tomatoes and 1 l of water into the pot. Transfer the contents of the pan. Add a glass of red lentils, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt to taste. Cook for about 30 minutes until the lentils soften. Toast in a dry pan 4 tablespoons of coconut flakes. Add to soup, mix. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
Pure grain bread + paprika with millet
Ingredients for a medium jar (several sandwiches): ¾ cup dry millet, 2 cups carrot or celery, grated on the coarse mesh, 1 medium white onion, 3 teaspoons of good tomato concentrate, 2 teaspoons of canola oil, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, sos teaspoon of herb ground English, 1 teaspoon smoked sweet (or regular hot) pepper, 1-2 tablespoons yeast flakes, salt, pepper
Chop the onion and fry in oil in a hot pan. Add grated carrots and stew for a few minutes. Cook millet semi-dry with 1½-2 glasses of water. Add the millet, spices and tomato puree to the stewed carrot and onion. Mix everything thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a jar.
Soy yoghurt + peaches
Roasted tuna steak
Baked sweet potatoes topped with olive oil, sprinkled with a pinch of salt and rosemary
Sauerkraut salad with onions and linseed oil
Cooked broad beans
Cooked broccoli + tomato + cucumber + hard-boiled egg + sauce with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pressed with a clove of garlic and herbs
Cocktail: banana + pineapple piece + coconut milk
Rice flakes cooked in water with raspberries and chia seeds
Grain and pitted crackers
Ingredients for two sheets of crackers: 1 cup of sunflower seeds, ½ cup of whole linseeds, ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, 4 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 1½-2 cups of mountain oat flakes, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, about 1½ cup of water, 1 teaspoon of syrup maple, 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon salt, favourite spices and herbs
Preparation method: Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. In the second, combine all the wet ingredients together with the melted coconut oil. Add wet ingredients to dry ones and mix thoroughly with a spoon. Stir until the seeds and flakes absorb the water and the dough is quite thick and spreadable. Set aside the bowl for about 1-2 hours until the dough absorbs all the water. After this time, divide the dough into two parts. Transfer one part of the dough to a baking tray lined with baking paper and a roller wrapped in cling film, roll out the dough about 3 mm thick. Cut the dough into oblong rectangles. Place the baking tray in a preheated 180 ° C oven and bake the crackers for about 20 minutes. After this time, turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes until browned. Leave to cool.
Rice noodles with spinach, garlic, radish sprouts and natural tofu
Hummus + chopped vegetables
Salad: arugula + lamb’s lettuce + dried tomatoes + pepper + roasted salmon (not farmed!) + Cooked millet + olive oil + 1 teaspoon honey + 1 tablespoon lemon juice