Are you struggling with chronic inflammation and looking for a natural way to manage it? You’re not alone. Many people suffer from inflammation-related health conditions like arthritis, asthma, and heart disease.
Fortunately, there are simple dietary changes you can make to help reduce inflammation and promote overall health.
Our South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness team enjoys finding natural ways to support our patients. This blog concentrates on how plant-based foods can help to reduce inflammation naturally.
In this blog post, we’ll look closely at anti-inflammatory foods and how they benefit your body. We are excited to be supported by Dreena Burton, a local South Surrey vegan cookbook author for this blog.
Dreena helps us learn more about plant-based nutrition, how certain foods can reduce inflammation, and some great tips on adding more plant-based foods to your diet. Plus, some yummy recipes for you to try!
Get ready to feel better and enjoy delicious foods that can help you manage and reduce inflammation naturally.
Let’s dig in!
Natural Ways to Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response to any injury or illness, but sometimes the body’s inflammatory response can go too far. When this occurs, the natural self-repair process in your body becomes more challenging.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to many common diseases and conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis – to name a few. Luckily, some foods can help reduce inflammation naturally so you can live an inflammation-free life!
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a biological response of the body’s immune system to an injury, infection, or tissue damage.
Inflammation can be either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is a short-term response that occurs in response to injury or infection and is often resolved within a few days. Chronic inflammation is a long-term response that can persist for weeks, months, or even years. It can contribute to the development of various diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
While inflammation is a natural and necessary process to fight infection and promote healing, chronic inflammation can be harmful and contribute to various health conditions. Therefore, managing inflammation and taking steps to prevent and reduce chronic inflammation when possible is important.
Learn more about Inflammation – both acute and chronic in our recent blog: “Inflammation: The Good and Bad”
Foods that Cause Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection, but certain foods can trigger chronic inflammation, leading to various health issues.
These commonly consumed foods have been identified as inflammation triggers and may require moderation or elimination from one’s diet to promote overall health and well-being.
The following is a list of common foods that cause inflammation:
- Packaged foods, particularly those with high sodium content
- White bread, White pasta, White rice
- Processed meats, such as lunch meat, pepperoni and salami
- Farmed fish
- Conventionally-raised poultry
- Grain-fed and industrially-produced meats
- Canola oil, Soybean oil, Margarine
- Refined sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners
- Desserts and pastries
- Partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils (including foods with trans fats)
How Food Helps Reduce Inflammation
Improving digestion is crucial to reducing chronic inflammation, and it’s not just about the food we eat. We must focus on dietary changes to properly process our food and naturally reduce inflammation.
An anti-inflammatory diet is a dietary approach that aims to decrease inflammation by utilizing the nutrients found in food. Rather than a particular diet plan, it encompasses an overall eating style that prioritizes whole foods and monounsaturated fats while minimizing processed foods and saturated fats.
Research has demonstrated that an anti-inflammatory diet can significantly reduce body weight and visceral adipose tissue, making it an effective tool for managing obesity and other inflammatory diseases.
Incorporating whole and plant-based foods (unprocessed foods) into our diet is one of the simplest ways to enhance digestion and reduce inflammation.
These foods are packed with fibre, minerals, and vitamins that our bodies require for optimal functioning.
They are also easier to digest, which aids our digestive system in breaking down and absorbing nutrients. In addition, certain foods contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce inflammation in the body.
Benefits of a Plant-Based Vegan Diet
Plant-based foods offer anti-inflammatory effects on the body. There are several reasons for this:
Rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients:
Plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, have nutrients rich with anti-inflammatory effects. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, and polyphenols.
Low pro-inflammatory nutrients:
Plant-based foods are typically low in pro-inflammatory nutrients found in animal products, such as saturated fat and cholesterol. Inflammation in a person’s body can increase with foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
High in fibre:
Foods derived from plants typically contain high levels of fibre that nourish beneficial gut bacteria, thereby aiding in the reduction of bodily inflammation.
Increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids are a healthy fat with anti-inflammatory effects. Plant-based diets can provide ample omega-3 fatty acids from plant-based, vegan sources, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Plant-based Foods
An anti-inflammatory vegan diet is a plant-based way of eating that emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods that can reduce inflammation. Some critical components of an anti-inflammatory vegan diet include:
A diet full of fruits and vegetables provides our bodies with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help to reduce inflammation. Berries, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and colourful fruits are particularly beneficial.
- Berries – blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries.
- Leafy Greens – Romaine, arugula, radicchio, spinach, kale, swiss chard
- Whole grain foods like quinoa, brown rice, and oats are high in fibre.
- Beans, lentils, legumes and chickpeas are excellent sources of protein and fibre.
- Nuts, seeds, coconut and avocados are rich in healthy fats, fibre, and antioxidants.
- Many herbs and spices, including turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon, have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Healthy fats and Omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and algae-based supplements.
- Fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut. These naturally fermented foods promote healthy gut bacteria, which can combat inflammation and enhance immune function.
Note: It’s important to note that some individuals may have specific food sensitivities that make certain foods problematic for them. We recommend you work with a healthcare professional or registered dietician to create a personalized nutrition plan best suited for yo
Favourite Anti-inflammatory Foods
TRY A BOOST! These are some favourite anti-inflammatory foods. Try incorporating these naturally anti-inflammatory foods into your diet regularly.
- Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory spice that contains curcumin, which has strong antioxidant properties. Turmeric can be used in cooking or taken as a supplement.
- Turmeric is also frequently used in Indian recipes, soups, stews, and smoothies. In addition, the active ingredient curcumin helps in reducing pain associated with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions as well as protecting against heart disease by preventing oxidation of the LDL cholesterol (the bad kind!)
- Green tea has a group of antioxidants called catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is the most abundant and potent of these antioxidants in green tea and helps to reduce inflammation naturally.
- EGCG can reduce the activity of several pro-inflammatory molecules in the body, including cytokines and chemokines. By lowering the levels of these molecules, green tea can help to alleviate inflammation and associated symptoms.
- Green tea helps to modulate the immune system and improve gut health, which helps to reduce inflammation in the body. A healthy gut microbiome and a balanced immune system are essential factors in reducing chronic inflammation.
- Green tea also contains polyphenols, which benefit cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation, and brain function. These effects can indirectly contribute to reducing inflammation in the body.
- Ginger has long been used for its medicinal properties and is known for its ability to reduce inflammation. In addition, ginger contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
- These blends work by inhibiting the production of specific pro-inflammatory molecules in the body, such as cytokines and prostaglandins. By reducing the levels of these molecules, ginger can help to alleviate inflammation and pain.
- Ginger is rich in antioxidants, which play a vital role in neutralizing free radicals and protecting cells from oxidative stress and damage — helping to reduce inflammation in the body, as oxidative stress is a significant contributor to chronic inflammation.
- Ginger helps the gut microbiome, which can also help reduce inflammation. By increasing good bacteria and reducing harmful bacteria, ginger can improve gut health and reduce inflammation.
- Ginger reduces inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants, and positive effects on gut health.
- Ginger can be used in many forms and recipes: tea, smoothies, juices, sauces, dressings or as an ingredient in your favourite recipes.
- Many health food stores or your local markets, including Nature’s Fare and Choices, also sell ginger supplements or chewable ginger tablets. Be sure to look for pure, natural ginger supplements, not ones loaded with sugar and extra unnecessary ingredients.
- Leafy greens, including kale, spinach, bok choy, arugula and collard greens, are known for their high nutrient density, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, to help reduce inflammation in the body.
- One reason leafy greens are so effective at reducing inflammation is that they are rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants can help to neutralize free radicals that can cause damage to tissues and cells in the body and contribute to inflammation.
- Leafy greens are high in fibre and help to promote healthy digestion and reduce inflammation in the gut. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for reducing inflammation throughout the body.
- Leafy greens are also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to alleviate inflammation in the body naturally.
- Adding leafy greens to your diet can offer various nutrients that aid in reducing inflammation, enhancing digestion, and promoting overall well-being.
Incorporating Anti-Inflammatory Plant-based Foods into Your Diet
By incorporating anti-inflammatory plant-based foods into your diet, you can feel energized and well-nourished while also controlling inflammation.
Incorporating a plant-based diet into your lifestyle is a great way to fight against chronic inflammation and improve your overall well-being.
Consuming more meatless meals, you can also enjoy the added benefits of fibre and phytochemicals in plant-based protein sources like tofu, beans, lentils, seitan, and tempeh.
Plant-based meals can include an array of healthy plant-based proteins, colourful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and olive oil, as well as plenty of whole grains to nourish your body.
Dreena Burton Plant-based Vegan Recipes
Dreena Burton has so many excellent and yummy plant-based recipes. Below are some of our favourite anti-inflammatory recipes created by Dreean Burton.
We encourage you to try them and have fun adding more plant-based ingredients to your daily lifestyle and diet.
Meet Dreena Burton, Vegan Cookbook Author
Dreena Burton is a local South Surrey cookbook author, vegan for 25 years, and a busy mom of three. Dreena Burton, the OG vegan cookbook author, plant-based for over 25 years.
She is the author of six vegan cookbooks. Her most recent title, “Dreena’s Kind Kitchen,” won the world’s first vegan cookbook award.
Dreena has also co-authored with plant-based physician Dr. Barnard on The Cheese Trap and Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes. Find out more information at Dreena Burton
For more recipe inspiration by Dreena Burton, be sure to check out the recipe section of her website. Dreena Burton Recipes
You can also learn more about Dreena Burton’s Cookbooks and purchase them yourself. Dreena Burton Cookbooks
South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness
South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness is an integrated multidisciplinary wellness clinic in South Surrey, British Columbia. The clinic offers various services to help individuals achieve and maintain optimal health, including:
- Chiropractic care
- Registered massage therapy
- Spinal decompression
- Cold laser therapy
- Shockwave therapy
Our team (Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, and Massage Therapists) at South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness work together to provide high-quality, personalized care. Our integrated wellness clinic helps patients achieve their health and wellness goals to be “Your Most Well Self.”
Online booking is available (for most practitioners) to schedule appointments at your convenience. In addition, we support ICBC cases and can direct bill to most insurance providers.
South Surrey Chiropractic and Wellness provides a welcoming and supportive environment so you can take the first steps towards a healthier and happier you. Our team looks forward to welcoming you to our clinic.