A lot of research has gone into creating this Anti Inflammatory Foods List PDF. And for good reason. Chronic inflammation can be the source of many long-term bodily ailments. Eating the right way can help.
The evidence is mounting. Chronic inflammation is now known to contribute to many disease processes. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and gut diseases are all associated with chronic inflammation.
There’s also a mounting collection of evidence that food and diet can cause or contribute to chronic inflammation. Eating the right food can make all the difference. This anti inflammatory food list PDF is a great guide to get you going.
How Does Chronic Inflammation Affect the Body?
In a nutshell, when your body is in an ongoing state of inflammation, the body’s inflammatory response can damage healthy cells and tissues. This can ultimately lead to DNA damage, scarring, and tissue death.
These resulting problems are what now is thought to greatly contribute to diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Crohn’s disease, many types of cancer, among other things.
Research shows that chronic inflammation is affected by the food you eat. It’s not only about the foods you consume. It’s also about the foods you should avoid. My anti inflammatory foods list PDF covers the top 10 foods you should eat. And the top 10 foods you should avoid.
My Personal Inflammation Story
I am not a doctor. But I am someone who was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s disease a few years ago. This is an auto-immune disease that causes significant inflammation of the colon. My mission was to figure out what I could do to help my own body fight this non-curable disease.
I was amazed at the amount of information – both anecdotal and scientific – that suggested inflammatory diseases can be somewhat or fully controlled with food! I love food! So this seemed like a good place to start.
After a lot (and I mean A LOT) of research, I decided to go off my medications and attempt to control my Crohn’s disease with diet, exercise and other helpful-to-my-body activities like a wee bit of meditation (quite peaceful, actually). I also got the support of my physicians (well, I did have to do a little convincing),
I’ve now been off the medications for nearly a year and I feel better than I have in 20 years! And my test results are all normal! Yay!!
I am very focused on my anti-inflammatory diet and stick to it quite rigidly. And I’m passionate about helping others help themselves through diet. That’s why I created this Anti Inflammatory Foods List PDF for you.
Anti Inflammatory Foods List PDF – What to Avoid
The evidence is pretty clear. There are many foods that actually cause inflammation and it’s critical to avoid these foods if you are trying to fight inflammation. Here’s a food list of what to avoid: (get the printable version here)
1. Refined Sugar – Sugars that have been processed from their natural forms are called refined sugars. Diets high in refined sugar have been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and hypertension, to name a few.
Best to avoid refined sugars when possible. They can sneak their way into many packaged foods like cereal and baked goods.
2. Processed Meats – deli meats, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon (yes, my beloved bacon!) are all considered processed meats. They are high in saturated fats and have been scientifically linked to chronic inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.
3. Packaged Foods with Stabilizers – Prepackaged “convenience” foods are full of additives and stabilizers that add to the products’ shelf life. Many of these have been shown to alter the gut bacteria in a negative way, which can lead to chronic inflammation. If you don’t recognize the ingredients on the label as food, then it is best to avoid that product.
4. Refined Carbs – Refined carbohydrates are foods that have been stripped of all the fiber, bran, and other nutrients. Think of things like white bread, sugary cereals, white rice, and pasta.
Because the refined carbs break down in the body so quickly with no other nutrients being absorbed, they can trigger the body’s inflammatory response system and cause unnecessary inflammation. Whole grain alternatives are best.
5. Dairy – Most know about lactose intolerance (in fact, most adults are actually lactose intolerant.) But the ingredient in dairy that causes many to have chronic inflammation is actually the protein called casein.
This is another one of those ingredients that it’s best to monitor for yourself to see if you have any kind of reaction to casein. The easiest way to do this is to eliminate dairy for 30 days and see how you feel. If you notice a positive difference, then limit dairy as much as possible.
Keep in mind, though, that not everyone has a casein sensitivity that can cause inflammation. Dairy does have many positive health attributes as well, so only eliminate it if necessary for your body.
6. Alcohol – There’s good and bad when it comes to alcohol. In general, alcohol in excess has many negative effects on the mind and body (excess is generally defined as more than 2 drinks/day for men and more than 1 drink/day for women.)
Excess alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. But the good news is that two types of alcohol have been shown to have health benefits. Red wine is rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation, and is very good for the heart.
If red wine isn’t your thing, then tequila may be a good option. Studies have suggested that tequila is a probiotic that can help digestion and may help fight osteoporosis. Moderation is the key to any alcohol consumption.
7. Red Meat – There’s some controversy in including red meat in this list. Many studies show that “meat” does, in fact, lead to inflammation. However, many of the meats included in those studies include highly processed meats that were discussed above so it is difficult to determine conclusively whether high quality cuts of beef should be included in the “do not eat” section.
There are many in the medical industry, however, who do believe that red meat causes heart disease, cancer, and inflammation. It is probably best to limit red meat to once or twice a week at most.
8. Fried Foods – There are a couple of reasons to avoid fried foods. Many of them are starchy foods that are also coated in some type of flour, which is kind of a double-whammy. Both of these get absorbed by your system very quickly, which can kick your inflammatory response into high gear.
Additionally, there is some evidence that the chemical reaction that occurs when foods are fried at high temperature can lead to additional health problems like aggravating inflammatory bowel disease.
9. Margarine/Shortening/Lard – Trans fats are bad for your body. Margarine, shortening and lard are loaded with them. Many studies have shown that trans fats are associated with heart disease and highly correlated with systemic inflammation.
10. Gluten – Gluten is a protein found mostly in wheat, barley, and rye. Most products that contain flour contain gluten. Not everyone looking to reduce inflammation needs to avoid gluten. But many have gluten sensitivities that cause bloating and long-term inflammation.
Pay attention to how you feel after consuming gluten to determine whether you may be better off avoiding it. If you feel bloated, crampy, or very tired, then you might want to avoid gluten when possible.
What Are the 10 Foods That Fight Inflammation?
The good news is that there are also foods that can actively reduce inflammation! And they’re really good. Here are the top 10: (get the free Anti Inflammatory Foods List PDF here)
1. Leafy Greens – Pile on leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, and chard to load up on many health benefits. Jam packed with vitamins A, C, E, and K and lots of antioxidants make leafy greens prime ingredients to stave off the beginnings of cancer as well as fight inflammation. Plus they have very few carbs. Win-win!
2. Spices – Turmeric/Cinnamon/Pepper – Turmeric and cinnamon have both been found to have anti inflammatory effects on the body. They have also been used for centuries in other countries for their medicinal properties. Pepper has been shown to aid in the absorption of cinnamon and turmeric.
There are many other spices that are thought to aid with inflammation problems, but these three have been well-studied and well proven, so add them to your diet every chance you get.
3. Tomatoes – It’s all about the lycopene! Tomatoes are chock full of it. Lycopene is a precursor to vitamin A and is a powerful antioxidant full of anti-inflammatory properties. And tomatoes are SO easy to add to your diet.
4. Ginger – Ginger has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It contains gingerol, which has been well-studied and proven to be a powerful antioxidant and exhibits phenomenal anti inflammatory properties. It is also used to curb nausea, morning sickness, arthritic pain, and alleviate menstrual discomfort.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Kale, and Cauliflower are all cruciferous vegetables that contain vast amounts of folate and vitamin K, which are great for building bones and blood cell regulation. (These Brussels Sprouts are my favorite!)
The dark green cruciferous foods also contain vitamins A and C, as well as phytonutrients that have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation.
6. Nuts – Walnuts and almonds are standouts when it comes to the anti-inflammatory effects of nuts. Walnuts, in particular, are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been well documented to reduce inflammatory markers. Almonds are high in fiber to keep that gut moving and contain lots of the antioxidant Vitamin E.
7. Fatty Fish – Salmon and tuna are loaded with those amazing Omega-3 fatty acids. The anti inflammatory effects of Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to influence at least 12 inflammatory markers, making them one of the most powerful anti inflammatory elements of food known to exist.
8. Dark Berries – We’re talking blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. The primary antioxidant in berries is anthocyanin, which has been clinically proven to lower inflammatory markers.
9. Avocados – The healthy mono-unsaturated fats in avocados are known to counteract the body’s inflammatory response to other foods. They are also a good source of fiber and potassium, which helps with digestion.
10. Shrimp – Load up on antioxidants with shrimp. Omega-3 fatty acids and the astaxanthin found in shrimp can prevent cell damage that may lead to cancer and reduce inflammation.
Your Anti Inflammatory Foods List PDF
I know this list is rather extensive, so I have included it as a printable version here. The printable version also includes some recipe suggestions to help you incorporate these anti inflammatory foods into your diet. (My anti inflammatory soup is a good place to start!)
I welcome you to join me on your journey to good health. It’s truly amazing how much food affects the body! Give it a little time and you’ll be shocked at how good you feel!