Anti-inflammatory diet

Updated June 13, 2017

An anti-inflammatory diet is a particular way of eating that is used to help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer's disease. Naturalist physician Dr. Andrew Weil states that many diseases begin in the body from inflammation, such as inflammation of the heart. Changing dietary habits can help to target inflammation before it becomes a problem. Some people even go on an anti-inflammatory diet in order to improve their skin, as it is also purported to reduce both acne and wrinkles.

Healthy fats

The Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. states that eating healthy types of fats is one of the most important parts of an anti-inflammatory diet. Unsaturated fats, which come from fish and nuts, can help to reduce inflammation in the body, while meat, dairy and butter promote it. The Cleveland Clinic recommends eating fish like salmon and herring a few times a week, along with eating walnuts a few times a week for a snack.

Whole grains

Whole grains are encouraged on an anti-inflammatory diet because they stabilise blood sugar levels. Dr. Weil states that inflammation begins when blood sugar levels rise from such foods as white bread or sugar. In contrast, whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread and quinoa prevent inflammation while providing fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Fruit and veg

Instead of aiming for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, aim for eight to 10 servings every day. The Cleveland Clinic states that fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which work to fight inflammation in the body. All types of fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial for reducing inflammation and preventing chronic disease.

Foods to avoid

Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist who wrote several books about the anti-inflammatory diet, states that the main food that should be avoided on an anti-inflammatory diet is sugar. He states that sugar in foods such as sweets, chocolate, muffins and pastries encourages inflammation of both the body and the skin. He also recommends avoiding caffeine in drinks like coffee and fizzy drinks, which also encourages inflammation.


Another aspect of the anti-inflammatory diet is taking daily supplements in order to make up for the nutrients that you may not be getting from diet alone. Dr. Weil recommends taking a vitamin C and vitamin E supplement every day, as both are antioxidants which reduce inflammation. He also recommends fish oil and Co-Q-10 to support overall health and vitality.

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About the Author

Sarah Davis has worked in nutrition in the clinical setting and currently works as a licensed Realtor in California. Davis began writing about nutrition in 2006 and had two chapters published in "The Grocery Store Diet" book in 2009. She enjoys writing about nutrition and real estate and managing her website, She earned her bachelor's degree in nutrition from San Diego State University.