Anti-Inflammatory Diet Benefits and Menu Plan
Inflammation has long been indicated as a culprit in several diseases and disorders. Inflammation is an important biological response resulting from an injury, allergen, or pathogenic intrusion. The redness and swelling found at the site of injury results from the immune system’s attempt to ward off infection and accelerate healing.
Inflammation becomes problematic when the body’s inflammatory response is unnecessarily triggered, or when the response is too extreme. Disorders that are strongly linked with abnormal inflammation include asthma, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases, and skin disorders, such as acne and dermatitis.
While abnormal inflammation is frequently the result of genetics, research is showing that certain lifestyle choices can immensely improve inflammation and its related conditions. Diet is the main focus of such research.
Certain foods prevent inflammation, whereas others appear to exacerbate it. Since recognizing the link between diet and inflammation, scientists and dieticians continued to extensively research how to avoid inflammation by specifically selecting anti-inflammatory foods to eat.
After several studies, they found that several anti-inflammatory foods are also staples in the traditional Mediterranean diet. This is no surprise being that the Mediterranean diet is renowned for being one of the best diets for preventing diseases, particularly heart disease, and promoting longevity.
It is more than likely that anti-inflammatory foods are at least partially responsible for the Mediterranean diet’s reputation for promoting optimum health.
Mediterranean foods that are also on the anti-inflammatory diet food list include fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fat sources, such as olives and olive oil. The omega-3 component in fish is behind its anti-inflammatory benefits.
According to research done at the University of California San Diego, omega-3 fatty acids act on a receptor found in inflammatory macrophage cells, blocking the inflammatory pathways. In fact, the researchers noted that fish oil was the most potent out of all the anti-inflammatory substances that were tested.
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are loaded with phytochemicals and antioxidants that are scientifically shown to reduce inflammation. The ample amount of pure olive oil is a characteristic that distinguishes the Mediterranean diet from other healthy diets.
Olive oil is recognized as one of the most heart-healthy foods. It contains a natural chemical called oleocanthal, which inhibits certain enzymes responsible for inflammation.
Those wishing to promote health and longevity should incorporate Mediterranean foods into their diets to avoid inflammation. Below is an example of an anti-inflammatory diet plan.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan
• Oatmeal made from whole oats
• Fresh fruit
• Spinach salad topped with assorted veggies, nuts, and Italian dressing made with extra-virgin olive oil
• Sweet potato
• Steamed vegetables
• Whole grain bread topped with olive oil instead of butter
• Glass of red wine