by Dr Ryan Hislop
An anti-inflammatory diet will not cure arthritis, however for many it can drastically reduce symptoms and assist in maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of developing other health problems. So what is an anti-inflammatory diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet involves eating nutrient-rich, whole foods that reduce inflammation in the body. It contains plenty of fibre, antioxidants, and omega-3s. This means a diet rich in vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, legumes, and fatty fish while also steering clear of processed foods.
Examples of anti-inflammatory foods:
- Fresh vegetables (all kinds) – Aim for a variety of types and colours (a rainbow of veggies provides phytonutrients) – especially dark, leafy greens (spinach, kale, Asian greens)
- Whole pieces of fruit (not juice) – three to four servings per day is a good amount for most people, especially berries and cherries
- Fatty fish – such as salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel & tuna
- Herbs & spices -turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, cinnamon etc.,
- Healthy fats – extra virgin olive oil is the best option, avocado oil and the fats found in seeds, nuts, fish
- Nuts and seeds – such as walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, chia, hemp
- Whole grains – brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa
- Legumes and beans – especially black beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney
Avoid these inflammatory / processed foods
- Processed meats – sausages and cold cut meats – ham, salami etc.
- Refined sugars – found in soft drinks, cookies, cake, lollies, ice cream, some breakfast cereals
- Trans fats – found in deep fried foods, fast foods, commercially baked goods
- Processed snack foods – such as chips and crackers
Easy food swaps & meal ideas
Instead of white bread (crumpets and English muffins), butter, jam, Nutella, processed breakfast cereals, pancakes and bacon, try:
- Organic scrambled / boiled eggs with herbs or turmeric
- Avocado & smoked salmon on whole grain bread
Instead of hot chips, frozen meals, white bread sandwiches (cold cuts), pasta/potato/Caesar salads try:
- Salads with a variety of fruit and vegetables – also add brown rice, quinoa and nuts to be more filling – dress with oil and vinegar and spices (not store-bought dressings); replace lettuce with spinach
- Lettuce wraps with salmon or trout, herbs and carrot/cucumber
Instead of pizza, pasta, hamburgers, red meat roasts try:
- Replace side serves of pasta, white rice and potatoes with more veggies, salad or whole grains
- Grill fish and veggies on the BBQ and service with a salad
Instead of chips, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, try:
- Toasted pita spread, carrots, cucumber with hummus or avocado dip
- Mixed berries and Greek yoghurt
- Grab a piece of fruit
We hope that you enjoy the great feeling and health outcomes from eating nutrient-rich, whole foods. A special thanks to Arthritis NSW for these great ideas.