The Anti-Inflammation Super Food Pyramid: What to Eat to Avoid Inflammation
With the word, “inflammation” comes a long list of scary ailments that we want nothing to do with. This list includes acne, sleeping problems, gut issues, as well as life-threatening diseases such as heart disease. Don’t worry though, there’s good news! You can eat your way out of inflammation.
As long as you are filling up on the right foods, you can avoid putting your body in a no-go zone of inflammation. Turmeric is taking the glory as MVP for inflammation avoidance, but you have other choices. Well and Good interviewed Barbara Mendez, a nutritionist, and trained chemist and pharmacist built an anti-inflammatory food pyramid as a guide. It’s like the food pyramids we learned about in school as kids — healthiest foods at the bottom and the not-so-great for you foods at the top. This is the pyramid of superfoods.
The Base of the Pyramid: Leafy greens and healthy fats
Leafy greens are the most important food for fighting inflammation. The more spinach, broccoli, romaine, cabbage, etc. the better. These green power machines are loaded with antioxidants, which rejuvenate weak cells.
Right next to leafy greens in power are the healthy fats. Salmon, walnuts, fermented foods such as kimchi, garlic and turmeric pack a punch against inflammation. Eating a serving of walnuts and fermented foods each day is a great choice, however, on the other hand, it is advised to keep the salmon to two days a week due to the potential of containing mercury. Garlic and turmeric can be incorporated into juices and recipes throughout the day. If you are really looking to spice things up with your health, you can try turmeric supplements.
The Second Level: Produce that gives you a little extra
Here, you will find papaya, beets, pineapple, ginger, flax, and blueberries. These produce options pull double duty when introduced to your body. Pineapple and papaya contain Bromelain, an enzyme that fights inflammation while it also acts as a digestive aid. One serving of this a day should do it.
A cup of blueberries each day is also wise. Blueberries contain a powerful flavonoid that has been linked to fighting cancer. And then there are beets! Beets are good to incorporate into your meals twice a week and, like greens, they help rebuild cells.
For avid inflammation fighters, Mendez suggests drinking two to three cups of ginger tea each day and incorporating flax oil into your daily salad.
The Third Level: Keep it low key
Although having a veggie-filled diet is definitely encouraged, according to the superfoods, inflammation pyramid, you should keep vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants to a minimum when fighting inflammation. A good way to test and see if your body has been reacting negatively to these veggies specifically, try cutting them out of your diet for three weeks. After the weeks have passed, reintroduce them and see how it makes you feel.
The Top Level: The no-gos for inflammation
Wheat, soy, sugar, dairy, corn and peanuts are not your friends. It is essential to avoid refined or processed foods at all costs.
Also, if you are a meat eater, it is important to strictly eat grass-fed meat. Meat that is fed otherwise is packed with hormones, antibiotics, and fed with soy and corn which all lead to inflammation.
This pyramid is a helpful guide to fighting inflammation and should be something to stress out over. In the end, it’s simple enough, eat nutritious, balanced meals with lots of leafy greens.