The Power of Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Amanda Goncalves

Written by: Amanda Goncalves

Updated: November 30th, 2023

The connection between our digestive system and overall health has been a subject of growing interest in recent years. One key factor in maintaining a healthy gut is managing inflammation, as chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of digestive issues and contribute to systemic health problems. The good news is that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the kitchen! You can support your gut health by incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.

What are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

While the term “anti-inflammatory” may sound technical, the idea is simple: it’s about choosing foods that reduce inflammation within your body, especially in your gut. It’s important to note that there isn’t one “anti-inflammatory diet”. Instead, think of it is as a lifestyle shift, starting by slowly making changes to your diet. In this article, we’ll walk you through a list of anti-inflammatory foods, explore what causes inflammation, and go through the numerous benefits of including these foods in your diet. We also have included a delicious anti-inflammatory recipe at the end, that will leave your taste buds (and your gut) smiling!

The Gut-Health Connection

Your gut, often referred to as the “second brain,” is home to trillions of microorganisms collectively known as the gut microbiota (1). These microorganisms play a crucial role in digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and supporting overall well-being. When the balance of this microbiota is disrupted, it can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, chronic inflammation, and even more serious conditions (2).

Chronic inflammation in the gut can result from a variety of factors, including a poor diet, stress, infections, and autoimmune responses. It can cause digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (3). Moreover, gut inflammation can have far-reaching effects on the rest of the body, contributing to conditions such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, and even mental health disorders (4). 

What Foods Are Anti-Inflammatory?

When it comes to anti-inflammatory foods, nature has generously provided us with an array of options. These foods are packed with nutrientsantioxidants, and compounds that help calm the fires of inflammation in our bodies. A general rule of thumb is to go for whole foods with no added sugar. Here are some key anti-inflammatory foods to consider:

anti-inflammatory nuts and seeds

What Foods Cause Inflammation?

Inflammatory foods are those that can contribute to chronic inflammation in the body. These often include “ultra-processed” and sugary items, as well as those high in trans fats and refined carbohydrates. Typically, these are food items that come in packages. Excessive consumption of these foods can lead to systemic inflammation, which is associated with various health issues, including heart disease, obesity, and autoimmune disorders (7). By minimizing the intake of inflammatory foods, individuals can help reduce their risk of chronic inflammation and support overall health and well-being. Here are some examples of inflammation-inducing culprits to avoid:

What Are the Benefits of Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

By making smart food choices and embracing a colourful diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, you can enhance your gut health and reduce the risk of chronic inflammation. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods yields numerous health benefits, including:

Conclusion

As you can see, supporting your gut health through anti-inflammatory foods is a proactive approach to maintaining overall well-being. And the best part is, many of these incredible food remedies can be found right in your fridge! 

By taking steps to reduce chronic inflammation and promote a balanced gut microbiome, you can enhance your digestive health and reduce the risk of gut-related issues. Remember that a diverse diet (one that is full of colour and variety), coupled with the inclusion of foods like fatty fish, antioxidant- packed berries and anti-inflammatory spices, can help you foster a healthier gut and a happier you. 

For those seeking culinary inspiration for their next anti-inflammatory meal, consider exploring a delectable salmon dish that not only satisifies the taste buds but also aligns with your health goals. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, this dish is a delightful addition to your wellness recipe book. Dive into the full recipe

References:

  1. Ways our Mind and Gut are Connected – Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (cdhf.ca)
  2.  Foods that fight inflammation – Harvard Health
  3.  Reducing gut inflammation: Diet changes, strategies, and more (medicalnewstoday.com)
  4. Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span – PMC (nih.gov)
  5.  Review of Functional and Pharmacological Activities of Berries – PMC (nih.gov)
  6. .Best Grains for Arthritis | Arthritis Foundation
  7. A Full List of the Most Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Can Eat (healthline.com)
  8. Quick-start guide to an anti‑inflammation diet – Harvard Health

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