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The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Can the foods you eat beat inflammation?

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Can the foods you eat beat inflammation?


The anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan designed to prevent or reduce low-grade chronic inflammation, a key risk factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases. The typical anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

Often resulting from lifestyle factors like stress and a lack of exercise, chronic inflammation results when the immune system releases chemicals meant to combat injury and bacterial and virus infections, even when there are no foreign invaders to fight off.

Since our food choices influence the level of inflammation in our bodies, the anti-inflammatory diet is thought to curb chronic inflammation and help prevent or treat the following conditions: allergies, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, gout, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and stroke.

Foods to Eat on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Research suggests that people with a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and fish may have a reduced risk for inflammation-related diseases. In addition, substances found in some foods (especially antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids) appear to possess anti-inflammatory effects.

Foods high in antioxidants include:

Berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)





Dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens)

Sweet potatoes


Nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts)

Beans (such as red beans, pinto beans, and black beans)

Whole grains (such as oats and brown rice)

Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

Oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies)



Omega-3-fortified foods (including eggs and milk)

There's also some evidence that certain culinary herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic, can help alleviate inflammation.

Foods to Avoid

Omega-6 fatty acids (a type of essential fatty acid found in a wide range of foods) are known to increase the body's production of inflammatory chemicals. Since omega-6 fatty acids help maintain bone health, regulate metabolism and promote brain function, you shouldn't cut them out of your diet altogether. However, it's important to balance your intake of omega-6 fatty acids with your intake of omega-3 fatty acids in order to keep inflammation in check.

Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids include:


Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream)


Vegetable oils (such as corn, safflower, soybean, peanut and cottonseed oil)

Instead of vegetable oils, opt for oils like olive oil and avocado oil.

Additionally, studies show that a high intake of high-glycemic index foods like sugar and refined grains, such as those found in white bread and many processed foods, may rev up inflammation. Avoid sugary drinks, refined carbohydrates, desserts, and processed snack foods.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

More and more research suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet may play a key role in scores of health conditions. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2017, for instance, assessed the association between dietary inflammation (measured by a dietary inflammatory index) and atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in the arteries) in women over the age of 70. Researchers found that dietary inflammatory index scores were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis and heart-disease-related death.

Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce levels of certain inflammatory markers (such as a substance called C-reactive protein) in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Endocrine in 2016.

For the study, people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes followed the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet. After one year, C-reactive protein levels fell by 37 percent in people on the Mediterranean diet, but remained unchanged in those on the low-fat diet.

Meal Ideas

Breakfast foods: breakfast smoothie, chia bowl, oatmeal.

Lunch: salad with quinoa and vegetables, soup, grilled salmon.

Snacks: fresh blueberry fruit salad, apples and nut butter, walnuts, chia seed pudding, guacamole.

Beverages: ginger turmeric tea, golden milk, green juice, green smoothie, herbal tea, turmeric tea, green tea.

Tips on Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day.

Limit your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids while increasing your consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as flaxseed, walnuts, and oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring).

Replace red meat with healthier protein sources, such as lean poultry, fish, soy, beans and lentils.

Swap out margarine and vegetable oils for the healthier fats found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

Instead of choosing refined grains, opt for fiber-rich whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, breads, and pastas that list a whole grain as the first ingredient.

Rather than seasoning your meals with salt, enhance flavor with anti-inflammatory herbs like garlic, ginger, and turmeric.

A Word From Verywell

Choosing a variety of these delicious, antioxidant-rich foods can help curb inflammation in combination with exercise and a good night's sleep, which may improve inflammation markers and possibly reduce your risk of many illnesses.


Bondonno NP, Lewis JR, Blekkenhorst LC, et al. Dietary inflammatory index in relation to sub-clinical atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality in older women. Br J Nutr. 2017 Jun;117(11):1577-1586.

Maiorino MI, Bellastella G, Petrizzo M, Scappaticcio L, Giugliano D, Esposito K. Mediterranean diet cools down the inflammatory milieu in type 2 diabetes: the MÉDITA randomized controlled trial. Endocrine. 2016 Dec;54(3):634-641.

10 Replies

Hi Mel,

I used to have a recipe book which was focused on the foods high in anti-oxidants - I can't find it anymore, and I really liked the recipes. I think it was called 'The ORACLE Recipe book' or something like that - but it specifically chose foods high in anti-oxidants - and I have to say that they are so tasty - I love the foods listed in your post. Yum!

Zest :-)

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Hi Zest,

What a pity you've lost your book! I found some of my favourite old Sarah Brown & Cranks cookery books on the internet very cheaply. It might be worth looking if you still need the information.

Mel x

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You're right, now you've reminded me of it, I will try to find it online. :-) xx

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Hope you can find it!

The Oracle came up with some strange selections, but I found this new for £5.99: The Cook's Oracle Paperback – 1 Apr 2006

by M. D. William Kitchiner

Care for a bit of Colcannon? Craving some Winter Hotch-Potch? Wishing for Wow-Wow Sauce? This newly released edition of The Cook's Oracle is an exact replica of Dr. Kitchiner's original book first published in 1829. A bestseller in its day, Kitchiner's fundamentals of 19th-century cookery cover the gamut from meat & fish to gravies & sauces to puddings & pies, including many of his favorite "receipts." Interestingly enough, he toured with a moveable taste cabinet; a folding cupboard stocked his unique mustards and sauces. And, unlike most food writers of the era, he whipped up the recipes himself, carried out the dreaded after-dinner clean up, and did all his own housework! A marvelous culinary artifact of 19th-century cookery, this book is certain to delight both social historians and food-lovers alike. A household name during the 19th-century, WILLIAM KITCHINER, M.D. (1775-1827) was an optician, inventor of telescopes, amateur musician and exceptional cook. His other works include: The Invalid's Oracle, The Housekeeper's Ledger, The Traveller's Oracle, and The Art of Invigorating and Prolonging Life.



I fully support the idea that anyone with inflammation investigates dietary methods for recovery, since I think they account for 99% of the problem. However from the anecdotal experience my own recovery there is no such thing as a definitive list of foods that are in or out. There are general principles that can help guide, such as dairy is a very common trigger and that nightshades are a common trigger, especially tomatoes.

However my own experience at the start of the paddison program was that EVERYTHING was a trigger. I am not alone in that. Almost everyone I have seen go through the paddison program has found that in the early days everything is a trigger.

I also have a problem with any diet that suggests that meats such as chicken are somehow healthier. Let me take a sideways angle on this. The chicken one eats today is a far cry from the chicken of say 20 years ago. Today's chicken can hardly stand up because of the weight of breast meat on it, for which it has been specifically bred because society loves breast and does not want legs. How can a chicken that cannot stand up be considered healthy?

On omega 3 & omega 6 ratio, the best ratio is around 1-4. My low oils diet naturally delivers this ratio. Anyone who adds fats & oils to their diet must add more omega 3 proportionally to keep up that ratio. This is why people think they need fish oils. The problem with fish is eating them has downsides such as saturated fats and cholesterol. I have vegan omega-3 tablets which I take occasionally when eating out extensively and so unable to control my diet they way I do at home.

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How long did it take you to find what worked best andyswarbs?

'm very glad I don't react to nightshade plants as they're some of my favourite foods. From talking to my herbalist friend. food & plant medicine that's naturally local to a person, should be better for them. With farming practices & food availability, that's difficult without growing our own, though I know someone who's over 90% self sufficient.

The majority of farmed animals are full of growth hormones, & antibiotics which have created drug resistance & backfired on us, though they're still widely used. Farmed fish can't be healthy when given these, too, or be healthy when taken from polluted waters. Fish oil from the livers of non-oily fish also contain their body's concentrated toxins, perhaps it's just promotion of another waste product industry can't do anything with. I wasn't aware they caused high cholesterol, aside from shellfish.

I have a high fat diet mostly from nuts, seeds, avocado, so haven't bothered to supplement with omega 3 oils as well. I'll look into this for when I'm away from home.


My experimentation started Nov 2015. I removed coffee & gluten first. The main thrust of experimentation started after I bought the Paddison Program and then began around Easter 2016 and continued in a major way for six months. I used a spreadsheet to plan what foods I was going to test, the order of introduction and then monitor progress. During the process, if I identified a mild reaction I continued to consume that foodstuff to see if my body became used to it, which it often did. Larger reactions caused me to postpone and retest retest at a later date. The larger the reaction the larger the delay before retesting. Such delays could range from weeks to months. The whole retest thing is crucial because the body is changing and hopefully improving each day, so a test that fails one day may not fail later on. By November 2016 all major testing was completed. January 2017 I started decreasing medication and that ended six months later, 1st July - always monitoring for any reactions.

Because my six month final stage was proving a success I decided during it to add extra challenges to my body, that of reintroducing foods that had previously proved significant triggers. These were mostly the nightshades and gluten. My gluten reintroduction was a complete success, that said these days I only ever have one or two slices every two weeks or thereabouts. Nightshades have been mixed reactions. I have never re-tried coffee and no intention of doing so.

This journey is far from over. Every time food goes into my mouth I am questioning the potential outcome. Every day I ask myself how can I improve my diet. My body is not that of a normal human being. From the outbreak of Rheumatoid Arthritis, RA, my body is significantly less tolerant of foods that I had previously consumed with no immediate effect. Now effects surface in a matter of hours.

I ask myself how on earth did I get into this state? Was it my genes, was it my parents, was it my fault? These same questions no doubt are asked of anyone with cancer, strokes and other chronic diseases. The good news with RA I have a second chance and a clear feedback loop. Whatever the cause there is only one way - and that is to continually chase down a healthier diet.

A healthier diet, is a mix of self-experimentation and staying on top of quality unbiased research. If there was one bit of unbiased quality research saying fat was good for you then I would eat it by the bucket load.

Sadly 90% or more the research into paleo/keto/low-carb approach is paid for directly or indirectly by the industry. Sadly because that same industry has a financial budget approaching the size of the defence industry that means 99% of new research is published each and every day, all skewed fro m the outset to show that butter, eggs, fish, chicken is good for you. It is published and then the news industry that is funded by advertising from that same industry spreads articles across the web pushing the same story.

I know from the diet I follow that my body has become healthier in ways I never expected. When I look in the Veganuary facebook group and find stories from others going vegan spontaneously saying their health is improving, that means that something good is happening.

I just wish the "health" groups on HealthUnlocked were reporting the same spontaneous improvements. Whether people solve the "main" chronic illness is not at even important to me. Just so long as they realise that by changing to a whole-food plant-based low-oil diet magical improvements will slowly happen to their bodies. And these people, like myself both deserve and need healthier bodies, day in day out.

As it is there is too much of "diet has no effect" mentality. Fortunately at least this group has agreed that diet can have positive effects, albeit we may disagree about the best diet.

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I knew exactly what foods to eat to heal my body, and what ones my own body saw as an invader. As i had a test.

I was intolerant to lemon, limes, orange, banana, leeks, onion, mushrooms, tomatoe, garlic, soy, milk, coconut, potatoe, chocolate (dark worse than milk choc, i would get migraine to the point i couldnt see out of 1 eye, as it looked liked shattered glass) and i was intolerant to more foods to.

All femented foods were really bad for me. Vinegar, like avc gave me seriously bad symptoms.

I was intolerant to alot which were meant to be good for us all.

I could of never found these without a test.

Im completely symptom free and have been for years.

Im not intolerant to potato anymore🎉🎊😆 or leek, onion, garlic, and some others.

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I have never trusted intolerance/allergy tests. Too many false positives and negatives. But if your health is improving that's all that matters.


Hey andy, i never said "my health was improving"

I said im completely symptoms free and have been for years" lol

Theres a very big difference.

I also didn't mention allergy tests.

Nhs do allergy tests for free.

I said i had intolerance tests.

False positives/ negetives ?

I took 2 totally seperate tests lol at totally different clinics and my results were the same lol.

If i needed more i would of had more tests.

If my results were not accurate then i wouldn't of got rid of all my intolerance symptoms lol.

I don't do any tests that don't work, otherwise i wouldn't be completely symptom free still 😄

Letting people like nhs dietitions etc guess was killing me at 7st 12 at 5ft 9 lol.

You don't get rid of over 40 plus symptoms like i did by taking useless tests lol.

I also have my pancreas, liver, kidney, adrenal, thyroid function checked appox every 6/8 weeks, my hormone balance, hydration levels, vitamin/ minerals checked, fungi, parasite, heavy metals and more lol

Im not symptom free because i don't know what im doing lol.

I can't help that others have to guess what foods are good or bad or why they got sick in the first place.

I know exactly why i did, i knew exactly how to correct it with my healing plan designed for only my body.

My life is amazing💖

All the best x


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