This is your 7-day anti-inflammatory meal plan
So, in other words:
- Carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and rice
- Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats
- Vegetable oils such as sunflower
If this last category is surprising, it’s likely because many of us have been brought up thinking they’re healthy. However, these oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids which have an inflammatory effect when eaten in too high a ratio to healthier omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish and olive oil.
Your next step is to replace these with anti-inflammatory alternatives: “Foods that are colourful, flavourful, aromatic, nutrient dense and calorie sparse,” Hébert says.
Here are some you might want to focus on:
Researchers from the University of Adelaide who studied the diets of a group of Australian men found the more fruit and veg they ate, the lower the levels of markers of inflammation in their bodies.
Herbs and spices
Specifically, this means turmeric, ginger, thyme, oregano, rosemary and pepper. Despite the small portions we tend to consume these in, they pack a hefty anti-inflammatory punch. Add as many herbs and spices as possible to your meals.
Inflammation worsens as we age and new research from Canada’s McMaster University helps explain why – it found that imbalances of gut microbes in older study participants caused their intestinal wall to leak inflammatory compounds. While not specified in the DII, fermented foods – such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and natural yoghurt – replenish your healthy bacteria and may help fight inflammation. They also boost your intake of prebiotic ingredients, on which bacteria feed (think leeks, onions, garlic).
Coffee fans rejoice. A study by Stanford University in the US found caffeine has anti-inflammatory effects. Green and black teas are also good.
Oily fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds
These are all high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, which help counteract the high intake of omega-6 fats that’s so common in modern diets.
Your 7-day anti-inflammation meal plan
We asked Sydney-based dietitian Chloe McLeod, co-author of the e-book Anti-Inflammatory Eating ($17.99, amazon.com.au) for some anti-inflammatory meals to try…
MondayHomemade granola made from oats, seeds and nuts with berries and Greek-style yoghurt
Soup of lentils and mixed vegetables
Grilled salmon, spread with a turmeric and ginger paste, served with beetroot and lentil salad
Porridge made from steel-cut oats and milk or water with poached fruit and yoghurt
Sashimi served with edamame and miso soup
Cauliflower pizza crust topped with tomato sauce, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella
Poached eggs served with spinach, avocado, shiitake mushrooms and barley
Rocket, tomato, cucumber and tuna salad served with brown rice
Steak, grilled or lightly pan-fried, with cannellini bean mash and sautéed greens
Green smoothie made from any two servings of green vegetables and one serve of fruit
A generous serving of sauerkraut topped with fresh salmon. Add half an avocado and salad vegetables of your choice, drizzled with olive oil
Chinese cabbage, tofu ginger and chilli stir-fry served with brown rice
Smoked salmon and smashed avocado on sourdough or rye bread
Baked falafel with tabbouleh
Chicken, lentil and turmeric curry served with cauliflower rice
Breakfast rice bowl of brown rice, scrambled eggs and sautéed greens
Stir-fried tofu with shaved cabbage and carrot salad
Baked ocean trout served with baked or mashed sweet potato and steamed greens
Black beans cooked with canned chopped tomatoes and a few herbs served with wholegrain toast
Salad of chickpeas, lettuce and tomato topped with roast vegetables
Pan-fried snapper served with sautéed spinach and herbed rice salad
Vegetable sticks with hummus or guacamole
Nuts and seeds
Natural yoghurt with fresh fruit or cinnamon