An anti-inflammatory diet invented by Andrew Weil focuses on consuming healthy, nutrient-rich, whole foods that contribute to the reduction of inflammation. As part of this eating program, you should choose and prepare foods that help you stay healthy. The anti-inflammatory eating plan claims to provide you with a steady energy and meet your nutritional needs in a way you can follow in the long run.
Even though this eating plan is not aimed at weight loss, some people may be able to lose weight while following it.
Inflammation occurs as your body’s natural response to infection or injury. Although acute inflammation helps fight off infection, low-grade, chronic inflammation can harm your health. Since the body does not have a foreign invader to target, chronic inflammation can damage healthy tissues. The anti-inflammatory diet aims to minimize harmful, persistent inflammation and improve your health.
The anti-inflammatory diet boosts energy, minimizes inflammation, maintains blood pressure, and decreases the development of depression, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer risk.
In the anti-inflammatory eating program, carbs must compose 40-50% of your daily calorie intake. You can receive carbs from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Around 20% to 30% of your daily calories must be obtained from protein. However, you should limit your animal protein intake to fish, yogurt, and some cheeses. Replace meat with protein-rich vegetables like beans, soy products, and soybeans.
In turn, your daily healthy fat intake should be around 30% of the calories. Include in your diet nuts and nut butter, seeds, fortified eggs, as well as products rich in omega-3 fatty acids like avocado and fish like sardines, salmon, herring, or black cod. The use of oils made from cottonseed, sunflower, corn, safflower, and mixed vegetables is prohibited. You should give preference to the extra-virgin oil.
Following the anti-inflammatory eating plan, you need to cease consumption of sweeties, chips, foods made with high-fructose corn syrup, and any products containing partially hydrogenated oil. In addition, there is a preference for tea over coffee. You are allowed to have 1-2 glasses of red wine a day. Moreover, dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content is acceptable in moderation.
People with diabetes or blood pressure issues must consult a doctor before starting the anti-inflammatory diet.
How to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies
The anti-inflammatory diet does not exclude any healthy food groups, so it cannot lead to nutritional deficiency.
After talking with your doctor, you may consider taking vitamins C, vitamin E, selenium, mixed carotenoids, multivitamins containing vitamin D, folic acid, calcium (for women only), ginger, and turmeric supplement.
Tips on improving your dieting experience
- Eat various fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms to protect your body against age-related diseases and environmental toxicity.
- You should maximize your intake of phytonutrients to reduce inflammation in the body. To increase the number of phytonutrients in your diet, you should add more vegetables and fruits to your meals, drink tea instead of coffee, prefer red wine over other types of alcoholic drinks, and avoid pesticide residues by choosing organic when possible.
The anti-inflammatory eating program encourages a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, and avoidance of processed foods. In addition, it promotes the elimination of meat. Physical activity is encouraged but not strongly emphasized in the anti-inflammatory program. Since it does not limit any healthy food groups and includes a well-balanced nutritional plan, this eating plan can be considered a healthful way to improve your health and reduce inflammation in the body. However, you should talk with your doctor and discuss your health condition and goals before starting the anti-inflammatory diet.