A friend was having health issues and her doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory diet. It was a little overwhelming for her so she requested I put together something simple she could follow considering she was feeling sick, working a full time job and living by herself.
An anti-inflammatory diet is usually prescribed when your immune system is over-reacting like it would when exposed to an allergen or having a rheumatologic episode. It’s also a great diet to follow to reduce risk of heart disease, some cancers and possibly even Alzheimer’s.
Foods to avoid include red meat, dairy, sugar, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, peanuts, tomatoes, potatoes, simple carbohydrates, saturated or trans fats, gluten, and peppers of all kind, except for black pepper.
Good foods include green or herbal tea, eggs, poultry, fish, almonds, walnuts, avocados, beans, legumes, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, sweet potato, of course fruits and vegetables, and plain non-fat yogurt with live active cultures.
For dessert you can have your chocolate. Dark, only slightly sweetened, it’s one of your healthier desserts next to fresh fruit. Chocolate does contain caffeine, however, so only eat it in small doses.
There are some spices that do amazing things for your immune system. Try curry, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cilantro, parsley, turmeric, black pepper, rosemary, basil, cardamom, chives.
Omega 3 fatty acids are a main component of an anti-inflammatory diet. Omega 3 is naturally found in fish, eggs, olive, flax seed and sesame oil. Salmon is one of the highest sources of Omega 3 you can find. If you are curious about how much Omega 3 is found in other fish, there are plenty of lists on line that go into great detail.
How do you make this diet part of your ongoing lifestyle? Pick a few items to make into a one day menu and make multiple servings. Having leftovers makes life a little easier while you are trying to get the hang of it. Eat protein with every meal, including with snacks in between. Nuts and yogurt are great options.
Breakfast – Steel cut oatmeal, hard-boiled egg, 100% fruit juice with no sugar
Snack – Piece of fruit, handful of almonds
Lunch – 4-6 ounces fish, quinoa cooked in chicken broth, fresh carrot sticks
Snack – Yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
Dinner – 4-6 ounces of chicken, wild rice, cooked mixed vegetable
Snack or dessert – dark chocolate covered strawberries with handful of walnuts
Use the seasonings listed to gain variety on your meat. For bigger variety, the Mediterranean diet is the closest to the anti-inflammatory diet. There are a lot cook books dedicated to this. Watch tomatoes though. They can go either way for some people with digestive issues.
If you are not fond of cooking, busy or too exhausted to cook, making large portions each time you cook and freezing the left overs simplifies it for you. Take frozen leftovers to work for lunch. Focus your cooking on the weekend so you have multiple options for the week.
I hope this gives you a good start!