Are there certain foods I can eat to decrease inflammation?

Yes, your food routine can have a significant positive impact on inflammation that can trigger symptoms such as joint aches and pains and fatigue. In addition to what you eat, when you eat can be just as important.

Tips to decreasing inflammation

The following tips can be incorporated into your food plan to help reduce inflammation.

Eat often during the day, ideally every 2-4 hours

Long gaps between eating occasions result in blood sugar and energy crashes that make you feel sluggish and more likely to crave less nutritious food options.

Combine carbohydrates and protein at meals and snacks

Carbohydrates digest to sugar and provide you with quick energy. Eaten alone, that energy won’t last long and you will wind up feeling tired and hungry soon after eating. Protein takes longer to digest meaning that the combination of carbohydrates and protein will provide you with more long lasting and consistent energy. Eating protein alone may make you feel full, but you will still suffer the effects of low blood sugar (poor energy and concentration, food cravings).

Choose whole grain carbohydrates when possible

Read ingredients lists on breads, cereals, crackers and granola bars and look for ‘whole grain’ as the first ingredient. Choose a variety of whole grains including rice, millet, teff, oats, and quinoa. Whole grains digest more slowly so will keep you full for longer. Whole grains provide important anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Fill half of your plate with colourful fruits and veggies

Fruits and veggies, especially those that are dark green and dark orange, are a rich source of antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium. Keep easy to grab options on hand to add to your plate every day. Choose whole fruits and veggies more often than juice. When possible, keep the peels on veggies such as potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Include meat alternatives often

Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and soy, are great sources of nutrients and fibre. Replacing some of the meat in your food routine with legumes will have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Include ¼ cup of nuts or seeds every day as part of a meal or snack. Choosing options that you like the taste of is most important. Hemp, flax, and walnuts are particularly good choices when it comes to reducing inflammation.

Aim to include fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel two to three times per week to reap the benefits of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.

Use anti-inflammatory fats when cooking

Extra Virgin olive oil and expeller pressed canola oil are great options to include every day. Try using canola oil when cooking. Make your own salad dressings with olive oil.

Flavour your food with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices

There is convincing evidence that turmeric possesses important anti-inflammatory properties. Try adding it to foods such as soups, stir fries and eggs. There is some evidence that ginger, cinnamon and cocoa may also have beneficial effects.

Supplement vitamin D

Individuals under the age of 50 should take 1000IU of vitamin D in the form of a supplement from October to April. Individuals over the age of 50 should take 1000IU vitamin D daily all year round. Tips for Improving Your Immunity and Vitamin D Levels

Questions about your diet and nutrition needs? All University of Guelph students have access to Student Wellness Services nutrition services (free and fee-based options are available). Students can access these services in three ways: