This anti inflammatory foods list PDF will give you the best foods to eat to decrease the inflammation in your body. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and other chronic conditions are exacerbated by low grade, chronic inflammation. According to a recent study, “… dietary interventions are a particularly promising therapeutic treatment for chronic pain, with numerous studies suggesting that diet has a noticeable effect on pain as far down as the cellular level.” Fueling your body with anti inflammatory foods can make a significant change in the health of your body as well as your joint pain.
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After extensive research of osteoarthritis and joint pain, it has been found that there is a correlation between levels of inflammation and degree of osteoarthritis pain.
A large part of the inflammation created by your body is impacted by the foods you are eating and the amount of movement you are doing. With joint pain, it can be hard to find movement that doesn’t make pain worse.
There are specific foods that have been deemed “anti inflammatory foods” based on the benefits they have for us and the reactions they cause in our bodies.
I always find, the more we know about something, the more adherent we are to actually doing it. Let’s learn a little more about inflammation.
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION AND WHAT CAUSES IT?
Inflammation is a natural reaction that your body creates when there is an injury, infection or a process called diet-induced oxidative stress. We will be focusing on diet-induced oxidative stress for a moment. This is important to understand what the foods you are eating are actually causing in your body.
Diet induced oxidative stress essentially occurs when your defense system, full of antioxidants, is outnumbered. Cells called free radicals start to take over. They like to wreak havoc and stimulate inflammatory cells. This is called oxidative stress.
When certain foods are broken down, they cause the formation of more free radicals. The more free radicals we have in our body, the more damage being done to our cells.
This triggers an inflammatory process and can leave you in a chronic state of inflammation if you are constantly resupplying our free radicals.
In normal circumstances, the antioxidants and free radicals are balanced. Free radicals have an important part in cellular processes but too much can lead to potential danger.
It is important to note that there are also other situations that can lead to this imbalance. These include UV radiation, smoking, and air pollution.
More and more research is finding out that nutrition plays a significant role in keeping our body in balance and out of oxidative stress. But which foods lead to a higher chance of oxidative stress? That is the purpose of the anti-inflammatory foods list pdf that you will below.
IMPORTANCE OF ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
If you want to keep your body in balance and prevent free radicals from accumulating, how do you do that? In a 2020 study they found that…
“Diets like the standard American diet (SAD), characterized by elevated intake of processed carbohydrates and saturated fats, have been linked to increased postprandial oxidative stress in the short term and chronic elevation of oxidative stress markers in the long term”
Kaushik et al, 2020
One of the culprits of oxidative stress is excess carbohydrates. This is NOT saying all carbohydrates are bad. Carbohydrates in excess can lead to increased risk for free radicals to begin accumulating.
Most processed foods, candy, sugary drinks, and even some “healthy” foods pack lots of carbohydrates that we may not even realize. Refined and processed foods can also contribute to something called insulin resistance which can wreak havoc on your joints. Learn more on that here.
High levels of saturated fats can also play a role in leading to oxidative stress. Many fried foods and processed meats contain saturated fat levels that exceed our daily allowance very quickly. They may even double or triple it!
Anti-inflammatory foods are one way you can help to bring your body back into balance. You can do this with certain foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals that contribute to our antioxidant defense system. You are essentially building a stronger army to fight free radicals.
If you aren’t getting enough of these types of foods, your defense system begins to crumble. This commonly leads to a period of chronic inflammation as the more free radicals you have, the more inflammation you have- thus more joint pain!
So which foods fall into this “good” category?
If you haven’t checked out this podcast episode from my podcast “Adventuring with Osteoarthritis” that can be found on Apple and Spotify, this episode is with Dr. Ann Kulze who talks about the best and worst foods when it comes to osteoarthritis!
The Anti Inflammatory Foods List PDF
Which specific foods should we be eating more of if you have osteoarthritis? This anti-inflammatory foods list was created to answer that question! Often times I get asked, how can I treat my osteoarthritis pain naturally? Or how can I get rid of pain without having to rely on pain medications?
A significant part of that answer is fueling your bodies with the right foods because as the popular saying goes “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet”. Exercise has to work with diet in order to be able to break free from your pain.
Understand these 7 things before you begin exercising with osteoarthritis.
Discover these powerful foods with this FREE anti inflammatory foods list pdf below.
Then, below I will explain a few food groups that are key to beginning your anti inflammatory journey but this list will be vital to your success.
In the meantime, let’s find out some of the food groups that can build an amazing defense system. Learn how to fight inflammation using the foods you put in your body. Instead of viewing this way of eating as a “diet” we should start to look at it as a way of life to continue to reduce inflammation.
(here is my top 15 list on ways to reduce inflammation!)
MEDITERRANEAN diet: anti-inflammatory way of life
The Mediterranean diet is recommended to control inflammation levels as well as an abundance of other health benefits.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, it is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nut and seeds, and olive oil.
Meats are also included, limiting the amount of red meats and focusing on white meats and fish. Most of the foods found in the anti inflammatory foods list pdf above are compliant with the Mediterranean diet. Why is this diet so important?
“In fact, the Mediterranean diet is comparable to other interventions such as aspirin, statins, physical activity, and even antihypertensives such as ace-inhibitors or beta-blockers in terms of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease morbidity, mortality, and events”
Widmer et al, 2016
Here are some primary food groups of the Mediterranean diet but this is not a comprehensive list. These are a vital part of the anti inflammatory foods list pdf.
Omega 3 fatty acids
We have two primary types of fatty acids in our bodies, omega 3 and omega 6. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in salmon, tuna, mackerel. You can find more food sources here.
Omega 6 fatty acids are found in most fast food, corn chips, sausage, and most baked goods. You can find more food sources here.
It is important that these two are kept in balance. Many times in a traditional American diet, you may find yourself getting more omega 6 fatty acids compared to omega 3.
In high amounts, omega 6 fatty acids can actually be pro-inflammatory, meaning they stimulate inflammatory cells.
It has actually been found that osteoarthritic joints can accumulate these omega 6 fatty acids which stimulate a specific inflammatory cell.
Omega 3s have an anti-inflammatory effect to combat this reaction and keep inflammation in control.
How much should you have?
“Aim to increase intake of long-chain n-3 fatty acids via a direct source of EPA/DHA; increase intake of oily fish; aim to consume a minimum one portion per week (as in general healthy eating guidelines) and preferably two”
Many fruits contain high levels of vitamin C. It has been studied and found that “vitamin C has been shown to minimize oxidative stress damage to lipid and protein-based cellular components…”.
This means that fruits can decrease the number of free radicals and increase the strength of the antioxidant defense system. This ultimately leads to decreased inflammation.
Fruit also has the power to help decrease blood pressure, decrease risk of heart disease, and decrease body fat. This is because of the lower calorie food items, the amount of micronutrients, and antioxidant properties. In order to reap these benefits you have to reach the recommended daily amount of fruit.
There are some fruits that carry more benefit than others. The anti inflammatory foods list PDF will show you which fruits are more beneficial.
How much should you have?
Fruits are usually combined with vegetables in the recommendations for daily consumption but the recommended amount of fruit is anywhere between 2-5 servings.
Nuts can have a plethora of health benefits, not only for fighting inflammation but also cardiac and weight loss benefits as well. When following the Mediterranean diet, it is important that the fat sources you are consuming are quality. Saturated fats typically make up almost 20% of our diets!
Focusing on quality sources of fat can be extremely beneficial for controlling inflammation which is where nuts come in. Take a look at this study below:
“In a 2014 study conducted among adults with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, study participants were given a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra virgin olive oil or nuts for a 12-month period. When compared a low-fat diet group, the participants given the Mediterranean diet exhibited a significant reduction of inflammatory biomarkers C-reactive protein and IL-6. Interestingly, when comparing the two intervention groups, those given nuts showed more than double the reduction of inflammatory biomarker“
Casas et al, 2014
Consumption of nuts not only acted as anti-inflammatory sources, but they also have been shown to be linked to decreasing blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol has also been linked with increased inflammation in the joints affected by osteoarthritis. Check the anti inflammatory foods list pdf to find out which nuts are the best as they are not all created equal!
How much should you have?
2 handfuls of nuts per day should be enough to reap these benefits. It is important to know that nuts are high in calories so too much of a good thing might be detrimental. Keep them in moderation with the right type of nuts and anti inflammatory benefits will be within reach!
We know that vegetables are good for our overall health but what if they also held super powers to help with your arthritic joints as well?! According to Dr. Ann Wellness, broccoli carries these super powers!
Broccoli can already claim superstar status for cardiovascular and cancer protection – and thanks to an exciting study, fighting arthritis may be added to its disease-busting credentials. In a series of three separate lab experiments, researchers from the University of East Anglia were able to show that sulforaphane, a compound in broccoli, blocks the destructive inflammation within joint cartilage that leads to osteoarthritis.
Other green leafy vegetables can be found on the anti inflammatory foods list above but broccoli is one that we should be paying extra close attention to! Other vegetables such as spinach, kale, and peppers can play a part in controlling arthritis pain.
How much should you have?
Try to consume at least 1-2 cups per day of vegetables to start. Many times clients have the most success replacing one of their typical dinner sides like pasta or rice with a dark green, leafy vegetable. This makes it nice and easy to get your daily amount.
You can also find other creative ways like switching your salad to spinach instead of iceberg lettuce, adding in a kale mixture, or adding broccoli as a topper to get some extra crunch!
Oils can be sneaky when it comes to driving up inflammation levels. Most of the time you may not even know they are present in foods, especially foods that come in a box.
Oils like soybean oil are found in many frozen foods as well as other processed foods. I pulled a “Lean Cuisine” out of my freezer the other day and found that in this meal that is considered to be “healthy” soybean oil is one of the ingredients!
When looking at healthy oils when it comes to minimizing inflammation, olive oil and avocado oils are your friend.
I typically use avocado oil at higher heat when sauteing vegetables or using it to cook other things (this brand is my favorite).
Olive oil can be used at lower heats and in particular for salad dressings. Pro tip- make sure it is extra virgin though as this will carry the most anti inflammatory properties (this is my favorite brand).
Outside of whole foods on this anti inflammatory foods list PDF, there are certain supplements that have powerful anti inflammatory properties, turmeric being one of them.
Turmeric contains an ingredient called curcumin. This is where most of the anti inflammatory power comes from.
Curcumin suppresses the inflammatory cells which can not only help decrease the irritation in your joint but can also help in the rest of your body too as most chronic health conditions have a tie to inflammation.
One of the Turmeric supplements that many arthritis sufferers have had luck with is the Jellybee Turmeric and Ginger gummy. It has the potential to reduce stiffness and pain associated with osteoarthritis.
You can also consume it in the spice form which can be found here if you like the taste of it! It is an easy add to so many recipes.
What are the inflammatory foods I should avoid?
There are certain inflammatory foods that you should stay away from, especially if you have osteoarthritis and/or joint pain.
Here is a short inflammatory foods list
- Processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup
- Seed oils
- Refined carbohydrates like breads, pastas, desserts
- Processed meats such as bacon, some deli meat, sausage, etc
In general, if you can start with limiting your consumption of these foods and focusing on the foods in the anti inflammatory foods pdf, you will be well on your way to fighting inflammation!
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If you want an expansive list of food ingredients you should avoid as well as my top 30 favorite snacks that are arthritis friendly, check out the Osteoarthritis Food Guide here.
Make sure you don’t leave this article without downloading the FREE anti inflammatory foods list pdf above. This guide has been created just for you to help you make anti inflammatory foods simple. Too often, we can be overwhelmed with the amount of choices we have when it comes to food. This guide can make it very easy.
Choose 4-5 of these foods to begin including in your diet. You may be including a few of these already but make sure you are hitting the recommended amounts to get all of the benefits.
Anti-inflammatory foods help to control oxidative stress and the amount of free radicals in our bodies. We need a strong defense system to continue to fight them, so keep those antioxidants coming!
The Mediterranean diet is a great way to meet all of these recommendations and limit the foods that may be helping to build the free radicals. Now you know what some of these foods are doing to our bodies, it might make you think twice about eating them.
If you have osteoarthritis and are interested in finding pain relief, anti inflammatory foods are only one piece of the puzzle. The Arthritis Adventure Blueprint walks you through a step by step process on how to eat clean, how to exercise, and how to feel strong again despite osteoarthritis. Learn more below:
Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.