Popular Diets Part 3: Anti-Inflammatory Diet
"This plan... includes delicious, natural foods that focus on maximizing your ability to naturally prevent and reverse damage caused by chronic inflammation."
In Part 3 of the three-part series on popular diets, Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD holistic nutritionist, is going to look at her anti-inflammatory diet plan and the benefits of what she calls healthy balanced eating. You will also get to know more about the anti-inflammatory way of living together with some of the do’s and don’ts. And as usual, we'll have a few tips for yummy, healthy foods that are easy to make and enjoy.
- 4:36: What is an anti-inflammatory diet plan?
- 6:34: Types of Inflammation.
- 9:05: Benefits of this diet plan.
- 11:06: What’s in the anti-inflammatory diet plan?
- 23:39: Foods to avoid on this diet.
- 29:50: Anti-inflammatory diet recipe sample.
- 31:33: Anti-inflammatory way of living.
- 36:41: Wrapping Up.
What is an anti-inflammatory diet plan?
This diet plan is all about balance. Think of it as a paleo meets vegan way of eating. This is a hybrid, that combines the best of both worlds, and it’s not too restrictive. It includes delicious, natural foods that focus on maximizing your ability to naturally prevent and reverse damage caused by chronic inflammation. Every aspect of this diet plan is designed to be anti-inflammatory and to protect your body from harmful, damaging symptoms caused by chronic, and then widespread inflammation.
Dr. Nancy’s diet is based on the health equation you know by heart if you’ve been following our page:
Less Inflammation In + More Inflammation Out = Healthier You
Before we get into the details of the diet, let’s talk about inflammation: when it’s good, when it’s bad, and the effect it can have on your body.
Types of Inflammation
Acute Inflammation – This is a normal part of the immune system’s response to injury or infection. It is the body’s way of signaling to the immune system to heal and to repair damaged tissue as well as defend itself against any foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. However, if the inflammatory process goes on for too long, it becomes what’s known as chronic.
Chronic Inflammation – When the inflammatory response occurs in places it’s not needed, or goes on for too long even in response to injury, it becomes problematic. Chronic inflammation has been linked to certain diseases such as heart disease and stroke, poor liver health, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. It can also lead to autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, leaky gut syndrome, thyroid disease and even lupus. There are many indicators of chronic inflammation in the body. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Body pain, especially in the joints
- Skin rashes such as eczema or psoriasis, such as patches of irritated, raised, itchy, or dry skin
- Excessive mucus production, resulting in the constant need to clear your throat or blow your nose
- Low energy, or feelings of severe apathy and lethargy, despite sufficient sleep
- Poor digestion, including gas, bloating, and abdominal pain
Chronic inflammation is pervasive. It’s commonly found in people who are overweight or obese. With 75% of men and 60% of women now considered overweight, there is no doubt that chronic inflammation is a pandemic that we need to address. The good news is that in most cases, chronic inflammation is reversible, treatable, and preventable.
Benefits of this diet plan
Following this diet plan will go a very long way toward helping you lower your daily inflammatory load— the load that you carry that causes the aches and pains in joints, mood swings, and brain fog.
According to the equation of health, you want to have both lower inflammation coming into your body and more inflammation going out of your body. You want get rid of all the existing inflammation, as well as shield yourself from things that increase inflammation. You can do that just by:
- Consuming natural, organic foods, and avoiding some of the most inflammatory foods especially processed and fast foods
- Removing harmful chemicals and toxins from your home
- Getting more rest, regular body movements and exercise
What’s in the anti-inflammatory diet plan?
This diet plan is organic and we recommend buying as much organic food as much as possible. Among other reasons, organic foods have been shown in studies to be more nutritious than conventional foods. More importantly, they have not been treated with toxic chemicals or fertilizers that can contribute to inflammation. These toxins include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers from synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, ionizing radiation, growth hormones, antibiotics. Still, if you can’t afford to shop completely organic, don’t be discouraged. It’s still better to eat Kale than to eat pizza.
The anti-inflammatory diet will tell you what to eat and what to avoid. It’s rich in inflammation and free-radical fighting antioxidants and also omega-3 fatty acids which also help to minimize and neutralize inflammation in the body.
Vegetables —This diet includes a huge variety of organic vegetables with the exception of inflammation producing nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables include tomatoes, egg plant, potatoes, mushrooms, and peppers: a lot of things that are frequently found on pizza, all of which are inflammatory. Both the paleo and the vegan diets are loaded with nightshade vegetables, which is an inflammatory flaw in both of these diets. On this diet plan, you can feel free to eat any other organic vegetables though, like asparagus, beets, and cauliflower, which are three of the best, and other great choices like garlic, kale, peas, spinach, sprouts, microgreens, broccoli, zucchini, and other dark leafy greens.
Fruits—Organic fruits are on the menu as well, like apples, apricots, avocados, berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, melons, pears, citrus fruits, lemons and limes. Pineapples, which are loaded with bromelain and natural enzymes that further helps to fight inflammation, are a great fruit choice.
Organic Sweeteners —Raw organic honey, stevia, and 100% pure maple syrup.
Organic Gluten Free Grains—These include wild rice, quinoa, millet, sorghum, teff, red, black and brown rice (no white rice as it is inflammatory).
Organic Proteins—Grass-fed, lean meats, seafood, poultry, egg whites, cold water omega-3 fish like salmon, halibut and sardines, as well as split peas, lentils, turkey, legumes, and spirulina.
Organic oils and Healthy Fats—Avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, and walnut oil.
Nuts/seeds—Unsalted, sprouted organic nuts and seeds. When sprouted, you make the enzymes alive and they are more bioavailable, they yield higher protein content, and they’re easier on the digestive system. Sprout them by putting them in a glass jar filled with spring water and leaving them in the refrigerator overnight. The next day dump out the water, and your seeds are sprouted. They’ll be softer and taste much crunchier, richer and more creamy. Sprouted almonds, sprouted walnuts, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, tahini, and sunflower seeds are all included in this diet.
Organic Healthy Condiments—To add flavor, try organic apple cider vinegar, fresh and dried herbs, sea salt, and spices like garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, as well as nut butters like almond, walnut, or cashew butter, and sunflower seed butter.
Beverages—Purified water and various herbal teas, green and maccha teas, yerba mate teas, and coconut water. Dr. Nancy’s favorite brand is Harmless coconut water, which is a raw coconut water and it’s pink because it has polyphenols in it, it is high in antioxidants, and it supports the immune system. It’s a great way to stay hydrated and replace electrolytes lost. This can be found at most of your local grocery stores.
Fermented Foods—These are absolutely delicious and they’re packed with probiotics (the good for you bacteria in your belly that supports digestive and gut health). They include pickled vegetables, kimchi, and kombucha, which are really healthy for you. They support the health of your natural microbiome in your gut. Did you know that 70% of your immune system is actually housed in your gut or the digestive system? So if you don’t have really good eating habits, you’re going to find that you get sick more often than not. If you have a lot of tummy issues you might get more susceptible to illnesses. Probiotics and fermented foods are essential when it comes to preventing inflammation throughout the body. You should try to get some type of probiotic in your diet every single day.
Avocado—Scientific studies say that if you put 1/4 of an avocado on a burger, it cuts the absorption of the saturated fat by 60%. Avocados are loaded with nutrients. The healthy fats in avocados have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, and remarkably have been shown to offset damage caused by other less healthy food choices that we tend to eat. They are also rich in oleic acid and vitamin E, and have been found to alleviate pain in muscles and joints. An avocado a day takes the inflammation at bay.
Herbs and Spices—Garlic and ginger, cinnamon, clove, sage, especially turmeric. These are all known inflammation fighters to some degree, and you can use them as often as you like. The miracle healing active ingredient inside turmeric, which is only about 3% of the root itself, is called curcumin. The one that Dr. Nancy takes daily and recommends to her clients is called Smarter Curcumin. It has the fastest acting curcumin available, coupled with black seed oil and complementary herbs that make it highly absorbable.
Foods to avoid on this diet
You want to avoid any food that has been shown to contribute to inflammation in the body. Unfortunately, many of these are allowed on either the paleo or the vegan diet. For example, a typical Mediterranean salad includes salmon, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peppers, pita bread, and wine. However, we advise removing some of these ingredients in order to make it more balanced, healthy and anti-inflammatory. Foods you want to avoid include:
- Dairy (so no tzatziki sauce on that salad!)
- Alcohol (try green tea instead)
- All nightshades. These include bell peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. Nightshades contain alkaloids that contribute to chronic inflammation and a host of other health conditions in your body.
- Take out white bread, which is inflammatory
- Processed meats including bacon, beef jerky, hot dogs, ham, sausages and smoked meats, and barbecued meats
- Trans-fat and vegetables oils including canola, corn, peanut, grapeseed, soybean oil, and sunflower oil
- Take all white flour, white bread, and white rice
All of these foods have been shown to contain ingredients or compounds that cause inflammation in the body. Removing them from your diet or reducing them as much as possible lowers the inflammation in your body and allows your body to heal, which can really help your joints. If you’re feeling negative sensations and discomfort in your body, you are inflamed. So why not do something that you can control? Stop buying and eating the things that are contributing to your pain.
Anti-inflammatory diet recipe sample
Here are two easy and fun anti-inflammatory recipes from Dr. Nancy’s e-guide:
- Mediterranean salmon salad. This is the salad we discussed earlier, with the inflammatory foods removed. A bed of mixed greens, cucumbers, olives, and wild-caught salmon with olive oils drizzled on top is delicious and balanced.
- Quinoa bowl salad with arugula. This one is made with red quinoa and chickpeas. It’s vegan friendly, so you don’t have to add animal meats. It does include radishes and purple cabbage and it is really yummy! You can put in some olive oil and sprinkle some Himalayan salt.
The anti-inflammatory diet e-guide includes lots of other recipes, including guacamole, and green anti-aging smoothies. These are super yummy and kids will love them!
Anti-inflammatory way of living
An anti-inflammatory way of living is a lifestyle that not only focuses on the foods that you eat but also on the way that you live. It includes taking steps to get quality sleep, minimizing the chemicals and toxins in your home and work environment, reducing stress in your daily life, and engaging in regular and consistent exercise.
Take note of all of the different cleaning products and other products in your home, and start to eliminate toxic products. This is part of the new Medit-American Diet and Lifestyle, which we believe is the most balanced lifestyle. Take out all products delivered in cans, such as canned foods, and BPA products that are endocrine disruptors. Most canned products contain a BPA lining. These include beans, soup, shaving cream, deodorant, oven cleaner, hair spray, toilet cleaner, shower cleaner etc. They all fall into this category. If you must purchase your beans or chickpeas in a can, make sure they are organic and come in a BPA-free can. They are better for the environment, create less waste, and are much cheaper if bought raw.
Also, start storing your leftovers in glass or ceramic containers, not plastic Tupperwares, or metal, since these types of containers are loaded with harmful chemicals.
Also toss out anything that says antibacterial on the label. Ehese typically contain a synthetic antimicrobial called Triclosan and it wreaks havoc in your body, and on your endocrine system. It contributes to heavy duty chronic inflammation. These items are often marketed as a quick and easy way to kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria on your hands, but they fail to report the damage being done to you in the process. It also kills all the good bacteria, so after using them, something as simple as going outside can harm you because you have no protective layer on. Stick with natural soaps and cleaning products.
The same goes for synthetic fragrances and air fresheners, plug-ins, room deodorizers, cosmetics, fabric softeners, laundry detergent, and candles. Don’t use them. Many of all the things I just mentioned have more than 500 chemicals in them. They also use fragrances, and synthetic fragrances are neurotoxins that have a very poisonous effect on your brain and on your endocrine system. They cause significant damage and result in massive amounts of chronic inflammation throughout the body. Swap out synthetic fragrances for natural, healthy, and great-smelling alternatives, such as natural essential oils.
Physical movement and exercise is also really important when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. You should be getting up and moving your body every day!
In this episode, we talked about Dr. Nancy’s anti-inflammatory diet plan, which is all about balance. It doesn’t eliminate healthy beans, legumes, and gluten-free greens, like the paleo diet, or avoid healthy animal products, like the vegan diet. Rather than avoiding all of these healthy foods, we embrace them and we use them responsibly in moderation as part of a complete lifestyle plan specifically designed to eliminate inflammation and support you in your efforts to be optimally well and healthy.
As part of Dr. Nancy’s anti-inflammatory diet plan, we recommend eating organic foods as much as possible, avoiding exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals that are used to grow and raise conventional foods. Enjoy a wide variety of natural and delicious fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and herbs and spices. You also want to avoid processed meats and dairy products, vegetable oils, and harmful nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplants, all of which contribute to chronic inflammation in the body.
Remember, just as life is, health is also all about balance. This anti-inflammatory diet plan is the best for your health because it combines everything that you need into one, concise, easy-to-follow and effective plan, allowing you to improve your health and the overall quality of your life right away. You can start now, and don’t feel like you have to do it all at once, but build on it step by step until you achieve the healthy lifestyle you want.