What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

What is an anti-inflammatory lifestyle?

You have likely heard the term anti-inflammatory lifestyle before, but what is it? Basically, it is a lifestyle and not a diet. We don’t like to call it a diet, as that implies restrictions and often limiting yourself in what you eat and with that the enjoyment of your food. As a lifestyle, it’s intended to reduce inflammation in your body by eating the right foods and preparing them the right way. Read further to see our list of foods that increase or decrease inflammation. 

What is an anti-inflammatory lifestyle? 

An anti-inflammatory lifestyle consists mainly of foods that slow down inflammation in the body. These are primarily a variety of foods from the plant kingdom. At the same time, foods that can increase inflammation – for example, sugar and trans fats – are avoided. 

Eating anti-inflammatory foods to slow down inflammation – why is that important? 

The type of inflammation known as acute inflammation is not dangerous. It’s the body’s natural reaction and protects us when we are exposed to threats. Like chemicals, malicious bacteria or other injuries. This type of inflammation shows up as, for example, redness, swelling and increased heat.

Low-grade or chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is when inflammation is systemic and constant and affects the body day in and day out. Even when not exposed to an immediate threat. This is the type of inflammation that can be harmful to your body. Low-grade inflammation can have several causes, such as being overweight, unhealthy diet, stress and smoking. 

The benefits of anti-inflammatory foods 

All in all, foods included in the anti-inflammatory lifestyle are very healthy and generally in line with current national dietary guidelines. Since an anti-inflammatory lifestyle primarily centres around a wide variety of plant-based foods, it is also rich in fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and offers a host of other benefits. 


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Recommended anti-inflammatory foods 

We recommend to eat the foods from this list as much as possible as they’ll help to reduce and eliminate inflammation in your body. 

  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, etc.) 
  • Fruits and berries (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, etc.) 
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, etc.) 
  • Other vegetables (focus on variety and preferably eating what is in season) 
  • Gluten-free cereal grains (amaranth, sorghum, teff and quinoa) 
  • Legumes (various types of beans, peas and lentils) 
  • Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut 
  • Anti-inflammatory spices (turmeric, cayenne pepper, cloves, Ceylon cinnamon, etc.) 
  • Wild-caught fish (e.g., mackerel, cod and saithe) 

Foods to avoid and cause inflammation 

We recommend to eliminate these types of foods as much as possible from your diet. Don’t stress too much either if you ‘cheat’ once in a while, the most important part is that you consciously cheat. Enjoy it when you do and stick to the healthy foods afterwards again. 

  • Sugar (marmalade, jams, pastries, sweets, soft drinks) 
  • Refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, white rice) 
  • Fried foods 
  • Red meat and processed meats (e.g. sausage and bacon) 
  • Hydrogenated fats (e.g. margarine) 
  • Gluten 
  • Processed foods
  • Dairy products 

Tips for eating a more anti-inflammatory lifestyle 

  • Aim to have raw vegetables make up the majority of your diet 
  • Avoid heating your food to more than 100°C 
  • Follow the 80-10-10-rule – 80% fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables, 10% vegetable fat (avocado, coconut, nuts, etc.), 10% protein (legumes, wild-caught fish, etc.) 
  • Reduce meat consumption to a maximum of 300grams per week 

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