5 Cornerstones of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan
The term “anti-inflammatory diet plan” is thrown around like glitter confetti yet, most people have no clue what it means!
And to be completely honest, I am not sure that I fully understood the concept until I spent many years studying functional nutrition, so, let’s break it down plain and simple.
When you hear the word inflammation, you might picture a swollen knee, a bruised ankle, or a scraped elbow. While those are definitely signs of inflammation or trauma to the body, they are signs of short term inflammation.
Long term or chronic inflammation within the body is not quite as obvious. If our body is experiencing chronic inflammation, that stress may manifest in the form of chronic fatigue, joint pain, headaches, or constant sinus issues to name a few.
Eating poor quality food day in and day out will slowly cause our body to deteriorate from the inside out. Our body was never meant to live off processed foods and added sugar. Think about this, would you put low-grade fuel in a Ferrari? No. Would it still run on that fuel? Sure, for a little bit at least but eventually if we repeatedly fueled the Ferrari with low-grade gasoline, the engine would start to gunk up and the car would completely breakdown. Our bodies are the exact same way. So, in this article, I’m going to explain the key components to an anti-inflammatory diet plan so you can unleash the healing power of food.
A True-Life Story of What Inflammation Looks Like
I want to share a real-life example that might resonate with you. I had a client who came into my office a few months ago and she said “It’s so hard for me to make healthy changes to my diet because I live with my best friend who is so thin and she eats junk food ALL day long.”
For starters, it’s important to note that thinness does NOT equal optimal health!! However, here is the real kicker. Her best friend actually came to see me a month later and yes, she was quite thin, but she had a face full of acne, she did not have a bowel movement every day, her cholesterol panel was a disaster and her body composition (muscle to fat ratio) was less than ideal. These are ALL signs of chronic inflammation!!!
Simply put, an anti-inflammatory diet plan is premium fuel (or possibly rocket fuel if you really do it right!) for our body. It is one of the easiest ways to improve our health and the function of our body because it is something we can completely control.
Are you ready to eat in a way that supports total body health? Here are my top 5 best tips to follow an anti-inflammatory diet plan:
5 Cornerstones of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan
1. Avoid Refined Carbohydrates and Added Sugar
Sure I know a bagel is so easy in the morning, a sandwich is convenient for lunch, and that big bowl of crunchy cereal before bed can be so satisfying. However, these foods are most notorious for causing chronic inflammation in the body. Instead, the bulk of your diet should consist of real food that does not come with a list of ingredients the length of a Harry Potter novel.
2. Rotate Your Food!
I know it might be simple to eat the same foods each day but the more diverse your diet, the more diverse the bacteria in your gut will become. The more diverse the bacteria in your gut, the better your body will be able to fight disease. Plus, rotation prevents you from consuming too much of certain lesser quality foods.
3. Eat a Rainbow
The more color you eat, the more your body will be able to fight oxidative damage. Aim to consume at least one red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple food each day. You may find this to be easiest if you aim for 2-3 different colors at each meal. An example might be a breakfast that includes scrambled eggs with red peppers. A smoothie for lunch that includes a banana, spinach, blueberries and a dinner that includes eggplant, bright orange sweet potatoes and a beautiful mixed-greens salad.
4. Focus on Functional Foods
Choose foods and spices that actually serve a purpose in the body. It’s actually easier than you might think! If you choose foods that come from the earth, you are automatically making this happen. Salmon protects our brain, broccoli helps us to detoxify, turmeric is a spice is famous for its ability to fight inflammation. The list goes on and on. Interested in a delicious way to combine a bunch of functional foods into one tasty anti-inflammatory drink? Check out my favorite recipe for Homemade Golden Milk here or scroll to the bottom.
5. Reverse the Pyramid
Most of us reading this article were raised to follow the traditional Food Guide Pyramid when it came to making food choices. Sadly, we as healthcare practitioners eventually found that this only lead to health issues. Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician famous for his ability to use food as medicine, created an anti-inflammatory food guide pyramid which is essentially our traditional pyramid shaken up and put back together. Not only does Weil’s food pyramid show you which foods to eat in order to fight inflammation, but it also explains how much to consume.
And for what it’s worth, if you already feel that you have followed these 5 steps to no avail and you still have not resolved your headaches, fatigue, joint pain, sinus issues, – you fill in the blank- then as a client, I would tell you its time to dive deeper into a properly formulated elimination diet meal plan.
5 Favorites to Boost Your Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan
Green Tea in Smoothies
Alright, so we all know by now that green tea is awesome to incorporate into our daily routine for its incredible anti-inflammatory related health benefits. But, let’s be honest, it’s bland taste can be hard to sip on cup after cup each day. So, my simple fix, I use iced green tea as the liquid base in my smoothies! Nut milk is my usual go-to but green tea adds a nice refreshing twist. Try blending it with flavors such as mango, coconut, banana, lime, and raspberry!
- Metabolove Say hello to one of the very best supplements on the market for simultaneously boosting energy and fighting food cravings. All-natural and dosed accordingly to help you successfully stay focused and avoid intense sugar cravings.
- Perfect Condition Vitamin We see many women with serious gut microbial imbalances in our practice and often, this pairs with less than optimal vaginal microbial balance. The Perfect Condition Vitamin by Love Wellness is incredible for fighting inflammation and self-regulating vaginal health.
- Metagenics Phytomulti In today’s world, it is virtually impossible to eat a perfect diet, let alone a diet loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants day in and day out. A quality multivitamin is an awesome way to support the demands of daily life while filling in any nutrition loopholes. One of my favorite professional grade multivitamins of all time is Metagenics Phytomulti. It contains the perfect array of vitamins and minerals as well as an additional base of antioxidants which is not something you will typically find. I recommend this for my clients who are suffering from chronic illness as well as my clients who are elite athletes, training to the max. Just be careful if you’re caffeine-sensitive as it has some green-coffee extract in it.
Sprinkle the Cinnamon
Did you know cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties? Lately, I have been sprinkling that bad boy all over everything and my husband Michael even puts in on his eggs! Try adding a teaspoon or two to your cup of coffee, favorite smoothie, or super-tasty overnight oats!
Homemade Antioxidant Water
Let’s be honest, half of the “energy” waters on the market are full of gunk and additives that no human should ever consume. Sometimes though, I just like to have a little flavor mid-afternoon. My solution? Homemade antioxidant water!
Step 1: Fill an old school ice cube tray with half water, half lemon juice and then in each cube toss a few antioxidant-rich blueberries, raspberries etc.
Step 2: Freeze, then drop a few cubes into your water each day. As the cubes melt, you will experience a little phytonutrient-rich party in your mouth!
Turmeric is the real MVP in the game of inflammation but sometimes it’s tough to hunt down the actual root and find a tasty recipe. Many love the delicious golden milk (see my favorite recipe below!) but again, sometimes time constraints make it tough. The solution? Gaia Golden Milk! This delicious blend can be mixed directly into warm milk before bed and voila, an anti-inflammatory relaxation cocktail at your fingertips!
I hope I have inspired you to start fighting disease with your fork. Cheers to a happier, healthier life through food!
KB’s Homemade Golden Milk
Sometimes it’s hard to unwind after a long day but instead of relying on wine or chocolate, its time to up your anti-inflammatory game with a little golden milk!
Golden milk is a delicious, warm, turmeric-based beverage that I recommend my clients sip on before bed as a way to relax. The anti-inflammatory properties of the ginger, turmeric and cinnamon are incredible for the human body. Check out my latest recipe below!
KB’s Homemade Golden Milk
- ½ cups unsweetened almond coconut, or macadamia nut milk
- 2.5 inches of sliced fresh turmeric root
- 1 inch sliced fresh ginger root
- A tablespoon of coconut oil
- A pinch of black pepper
- 2 Medjool dates
- Dash of cinnamon
Pour all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
Simmer on low for 7-10 minutes.
Strain into your favorite mug, sprinkle a dash or two on cinnamon on top and enjoy!
Love this recipe? Wish you could learn more about a holistic approach to all things women’s health? Check out the Love Club at Love Wellness today!