A diet focused on eating more plant-based foods and less saturated fats will help lower chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to disease. Choose anti-inflammatory foods to improve your health and well-being, lower your risk for disease, and improve your quality of life. Plant-based foods, such as berries and dark leafy vegetables, have anti-inflammatory properties. Base your diet on whole, nutrient-dense foods that contain antioxidants, and avoid highly processed products high in added sugar and fat. Your anti-inflammatory diet should provide a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
Foods to eat more of include the following:
Whole Grains: 3 servings/day; whole grains have brain healthy B vitamins and are a great source of fiber.
Green Leafy Veggies: 6+ servings/week; dark leafy greens are nutrient packed with antioxidants and high in vitamins A, C, and K, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Other Veggies: 1 serving+/day; other vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables that protect against cell damage in our bodies.
Berries: 2+ servings/week; berries get their superpowers from their bright colors that fight inflammation and cell damage.
Plant-based diets are growing in popularity. Eating plant foods may protect from chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
The goal of a plant-based diet is to consume more whole plant foods—like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains—that will provide adequate nutrition overall.
Some people may choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, while others may just eat one meatless meal a week. Eating a vegetarian diet means not eating flesh foods (meat, poultry, seafood, wild game) and may or may not exclude eggs or dairy products. A vegan diet excludes all flesh foods, eggs, and dairy products and may also exclude honey.
There are many plant-based foods that make eating a plant-based diet easy. Check out this list of meat alternative products, www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1021p42.shtml, on the market.
Be a smart shopper, though! Choose mostly whole and minimally processed food from a variety of food groups to have a well-balanced diet.
Eating plant-based meals improves your heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Eating meatless meals may also save you money at the grocery store. According to the American Heart Association, “People who eat less meat tend to consume fewer calories, and foods such as beans are one of the most cost-effective sources of protein available.”
Follow MyPlate, myplate.gov, to plan healthy meatless meals that include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts, and/or lower fat or fat-free dairy foods. Eating one meatless meal a week is a great way to start. Visit the American Heart Association, www.heart.org, for more tips on keeping your heart healthy.