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Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners: Essential Foods to Include

The article talks of anti-inflammatory diet and what foods to include.

Shipra Singh
Anti-inflammatory diet
Anti-inflammatory diet

Regular intake of heavily processed foods can put your body under continuous inflammatory stress. The processed foods are usually loaded with artificial flavours, added sugars, additives, trans fats, saturated fats, and other synthetic ingredients. Eating such foods regularly can trigger inflammatory response in the body.

Many people do not know the hazards of processed foods. They taste yummy, so people simply eat them. Many of us are unable to cook food due to our hectic schedules and end up eating all sorts of packaged foods to appease our hunger. And then, slowly, we begin to feel stiffness or pain in body joints and tissues. We also feel a difference in the way our stomach behaves over time.

This is the result of anti-inflammatory response in the body, according to doctors. Fruits and vegetables play an important role in preventing and treating inflammation in the body. It is essential to increase daily consumption of fruits and vegetables in diet to reap their maximum benefits. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in them provide an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

According to Jane Clarke, a renowned nutritionist based in the UK, our daily meals must comprise whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, pulses, beans, lean meat (optional), and healthy fats. For Indians, ghee is a healthy fat if taken in moderation.

Studies have proved that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables in combination with whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can make you live longer and healthy.

A healthy diet that provides anti-inflammatory effect
A healthy diet that provides anti-inflammatory effect

Important components of anti-inflammatory diet

Here are some vital components of anti-inflammatory diet;

1. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables form a major component of an anti-inflammatory diet. Nature has given us a variety of colors and each colored fruit or vegetable indicates the presence of a certain nutritive compound. Doctors call it the “rainbow diet.”

Dark Green color: Leafy greens like kale, spinach, fenugreek (methi), and cabbage are rich in Vitamin K, which decreases age-related inflammation, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular problems.

Purple color: Beetroot, black currants, jamun, brinjal, and purple sprouting broccoli are loaded with antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Scientists believe that anthocyanins help in preventing and treating inflammatory conditions and cancer.

Yellow color: Lemons, yellow bell peppers, pineapple, muskmelon, mangoes, nectarines, bananas, and apricots are high in Vitamin C, which is helpful in diabetes and high blood pressure.

Orange: Oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squashes are loaded with beta-carotene, which get converted into Vitamin A. This is good for eyes and prevents age-related degeneration of eye muscles.

Red color: Red bell peppers, red potatoes, tomatoes, red cabbage, and apples contain B6 and other important vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes contain lycopene. All these help to prevent and treat chronic inflammation and cardiovascular problems.

Do you know the United Nations has declared 2021 as International Year of Fruits and Vegetables?

2. Whole Grains

Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, unlike processed and refined grains, which get stripped off their essential nutrients and are left with simple carbohydrates. The latter are responsible for blood sugar spikes and sudden lows. On the other hand, complex carbs help to keep your blood sugar stable.

Whole grains like oats, wholegrain breads, and brown rice feature low glycemic index (GI), which means the rate at which the food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with low GI keep you feeling fuller and keep your blood sugar levels stable. This gives you consistent energy throughout the day.

Fresh cut fruits and vegetables
Fresh cut fruits and vegetables

3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Want to up your omega 3 fatty acid intake and are a vegetarian? Don’t worry. You can munch on nuts and seeds. Nature has given choices for all. Walnuts, almonds, linseed, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds are brimming with this essential nutrient.

For non-vegetarians, oily fish like salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, and sardines, plus red meat are great sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Lean meat
Lean meat

4. Lean protein

If you love to eat meat, have red meat once or twice, but make sure your cholesterol levels are good. Red meat contains fats. At the same time, red meat contains Vitamin B12 and all 8 essential amino acids, which you may not get through plant-based diet.

Check your diet. Does it contain anti-inflammatory foods? If not, include them today.

(Disclaimer: If you are on a diabetic diet or weight loss diet or suffering from some chronic medical condition, please consult your doctor before adding or removing any food from your diet. This article contains no medical advice. It is only for general information)

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