Appropriately managing the body’s natural inflammatory system is critical to any modern health and wellness lifestyle. There’s a lot of information available on this topic, everything from health hacks to diet plans, but here we’ll explore a foundation which is more of a way of eating, rather than a diet, which can bring great benefits to you. In fact, Dr. Andrew Weil commonly recommends that following an anti-inflammatory way of eating can help counteract the chronic inflammation present unbeknownst in many of our bodies.
It’s important to note that inflammation isn’t all bad. It plays a pivotal role in healthy healing and rejuvenation, the body’s way of bringing attention to damaged or stressed tissues. Take a stubbed toe, for example, the right amount of inflammation following a minor injury allows the joint an opportunity to heal; it reminds us to take it easy, and promotes blood flow to bring essential healing nutrients into the area. However, inflammation can turn for the worse when it becomes chronic in the body.
This subtle, low-grade, and chronic form of inflammation can negatively impact our joints, internal organs, and even our metabolism. What’s more, is that this often occurs insidiously. Stress in our lifestyles and poor diet further problematizes this process, turning our natural rhythms into an uphill battle. When you emphasize anti-inflammatory eating, you begin a cascade of profound health changes; you feel the difference quickly, creating positive influence to health outcomes for years to come.
Keep in mind, the most important goal of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is to bring the body’s natural inflammation into check by removing chronic triggers, and reducing inflammatory excess instead to only essential levels for regular body maintenance. Doing so creates a preventative atmosphere against common health issues; research continues to mount, linking common diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular troubles — so it’s never too late to start considering how you may benefit from healthier eating practices.
Here’s an introduction to some of Dr. Weil’s favorite anti-inflammatory foods, ‘must-haves’ in creating a healthier life, right from your own kitchen. You might be surprised:
- Organic Leafy Greens: 4 to 5 servings per day minimum (one serving is equal to two cups of salad greens or ½ cup vegetables cooked, raw, or juiced).
- Organic berries: 3 to 4 servings per day (one serving is equal ½ cup chopped fruit).
- Legumes: 1 to 2 servings per day (one serving is a ½ cup of cooked legumes).
- Whole And Cracked Grains: 1 to 2 servings per day (one serving is about ½ cup of cooked grains).
- Extra-virgin olive oil: 5 to 7 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of oil).
- Wild-caught Alaskan salmon: 2 to 6 servings per week (one serving is equal to 4 ounces of fish).
- Organic Tofu: 1 to 2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup tofu).
- Cooked Asian Mushrooms: Such as shiitake, enokitake, maitake. Enjoy them in unlimited amounts.
- Omega-3 enriched eggs: 1 to 2 servings a week (one serving is equal to 1 egg).
- Turmeric & Ginger: These spices are powerful natural anti-inflammatory agents. Enjoy them in unlimited amounts.
- Tea: Matcha green tea
-Dark Chocolate: At least 70 percent pure cacao. 1 ounce a few times a week.
If you're overwhelmed by this list or unsure where to start for an immediate return on how you feel, we recommend Matcha for its high levels of antioxidants, calming amino acids, micronutrients, and a bit of caffeine to help pick up your metabolism.