What does an anti-inflammatory diet look like?

mediterranean diet

Left unchecked, chronic inflammation can cause life-threatening disease. Fortunately, a nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet can help to keep you healthy.

Some of the world’s biggest killers are heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.  These diseases are all being linked to chronic inflammation.  Researchers across the globe are looking for ways in which to prevent and thwart a process in which the body’s inflammatory response lingers. Although inflammation is a normal, healthy defense mechanism that protects you against serious infection, chronic, low-grade inflammation has been linked to tissue damage and disease.

In recent years, a nutritious diet has emerged as an important weapon in combating chronic inflammation.  Many of the foods that seem to work best are found in the Mediterranean diet.

Eating foods typically associated with the Mediterranean region, and cutting out foods that may contribute to chronic inflammation, form the basics of following an “anti-inflammatory diet”.

Foods that reduce inflammation

If you’d like to keep your risk for chronic inflammation and the associated diseases low, you’d do well to include more of the following foods in your diet:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Wholegrains
  • Olive oil
  • Fish, poultry and eggs
  • Dairy (especially cheese and yoghurt)

Ideally, you should eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains and healthy fats every day, and fish, poultry, legumes and eggs every week.

Foods that contribute to inflammation

In turn, drinking sugar-sweetened drinks and eating the following foods too often may lead to chronic inflammation:

  • Refined carbohydrates (white bread, pastries, cake, cookies and sweets)
  • Fried foods (French fries, doughnuts and samosas)
  • Red meat (burger patties, steaks, lamb chops and boerewors) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausages and ham)
  • Margarine, butter and lard

More broadly speaking, you should aim to avoid foods high in saturated fat and refined sugar to reduce inflammation in your body.

Good to know

Following a healthy diet is only one of the lifestyle factors linked to lower levels of inflammation. Other important steps include stress and weight management and not smoking or drinking too heavily. With the help of your doctor, medication and other treatments can also be used to get chronic inflammation under control.


By Carine Visagie







The Content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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