Anti-Inflammatory Low-Carb Meal Plan HealthifyMe HealthifyMe – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.
Inflammation is typically a healthy response of the immune system when the body tries to heal itself from harmful foreign substances such as infections, microbes, injuries, and toxins. Therefore, inflammation is beneficial in the short run. But if it fails to stop or subside as the healing progresses, that can be harmful to you.
Too much inflammation, also called chronic inflammation, creates many disorders like diabetes, cancers, autoimmune diseases, atherosclerosis, asthma, and arthritis. Food plays a vital role in regulating inflammation levels. Certain foods can trigger a chronic inflammatory response that constantly increases your susceptibility to serious health complications. However, food can be the cure also. Starting a low carb meal plan is the best defence against inflammation. Moreover, adding healthy anti-inflammatory foods into the low carb meal plans can significantly improve inflammation levels.
What Is An Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan? How Does it Help?
An anti-inflammatory meal plan focuses on specific foods and food groups while limiting processed sugar, refined grains, red meat, and saturated fats. Instead, it emphasises eating various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, lean proteins, nuts, herbs, and spices. Our food choices influence the inflammatory responses, either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory, depending on the immune responses. Therefore, an anti-inflammatory meal plan includes foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3-fatty acids, phytochemicals, and fibre that fight against free radicals responsible for cellular stress and unwanted inflammation. Though the anti-inflammatory meal plan is not standardised, it incorporates several popular dietary patterns. For example, the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and keto diet are beneficial in reducing chronic levels of inflammation but definitely for specific periods and under expert’s guidance.
Studies have shown that inflammation occurs when dietary patterns are calorie-dense. These include processed meats, saturated fat, refined sugar, excess salt, refined grains, and low fibre foods. In addition, an essential factor of inflammation is the consumption of high glycemic load and fatty foods, which raise cholesterol and LDL levels, contributing to the progression of heart and liver diseases. Thus, an anti-inflammatory meal plan stresses restricting such pro-inflammatory dietary options.
Can A Low Carb Meal Plan Ease Inflammation?
A low-carbohydrate meal plan restricts calorie intake by limiting carbohydrate consumption. It replaces carbohydrate-rich foods with more lean protein and healthy fats. It simultaneously limits the consumption of refined sugar and grains, high glycemic index and starchy foods, and processed carbs. Intake of carbohydrates in a low-carb diet is typically less than 20-30% of daily calorie intake. In addition, several studies have shown that a low-carbohydrate meal plan results in reduced inflammation.
A low carb meal plan can be a ketogenic eating plan in which the body enters the ketosis stage. When the body enters ketosis, it begins to break down and utilises fat for energy. It regulates sugar levels and halts insulin surges. Therefore, it prevents inflammation in the body.
Anti-Inflammatory Low-Carb Meal Plan: Foods to Include
Our food choices play a significant role in managing inflammatory conditions. For example, a standard meal plan comprises 55-60% carbohydrates, 15-20% protein, and 10-15% fat while consuming 30-40g of fibre every day. In an anti-inflammatory low-carbohydrate meal plan, one needs to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates to 30-35%. On the other hand, the diet should have more protein and healthy fats. Some anti-inflammatory food choices which can prevent or reduce inflammation are:
A dozen varieties of berries exist, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. In addition to being packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals, berries also offer a healthy dose of antioxidants. For example, it contains anthocyanins, an antioxidant compound with anti-inflammatory effects. Furthermore, consuming anthocyanin-rich berries will help lower the inflammatory markers linked to heart diseases.
Berries are also a good choice for a low carb meal plan. For example, 100 grams of strawberries contains only about 8 grams of carbohydrates.
Famous for its earthy flavour, turmeric is a readily available spice that provides anti-inflammatory perks. Studies show that curcumin, a powerful compound in turmeric, can suppress inflammation. Due to curcumin’s potent anti-inflammatory property, turmeric powder plays a chief role in preventing and treating chronic inflammation diseases. For example, taking turmeric reduces inflammation related to diabetes and arthritis.
Not only that, combining turmeric with black pepper gives amplified benefits. The piperine compound in black pepper joins forces with curcumin to lower inflammation faster. That’s because piperine enhances curcumin absorption by 2,000%, magnifying the anti-inflammatory effect.
Ginger root is one of the most anti-inflammatory foods consumed fresh, dried, cooked, grounded, or as supplements. However, this is because it reduces the prostaglandins that cause inflammation. Plus, ginger roots can suppress the expression of genes involved in the inflammatory response.
The nutrient profile of fatty fish is impressive. They’re a great source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the two essential omega-3 fatty acids one needs. After consuming fatty fish, the body metabolises EPA and DHA into compounds called protectins and resolvins. These metabolic end products are anti-inflammatory.
Macadamia nuts are composed of 75% fats, of which most are monounsaturated fats with anti-inflammatory effects. And that’s just one of the reasons. In addition, these fatty nuts are full of magnesium, which works by turning off pain signals and lowering blood sugars. Also, it has a positive impact on inflammation. Most people are unaware that magnesium deficiency is the causative factor of low-grade inflammation. Thus, enriching your diet with magnesium-rich macadamia nuts is highly beneficial in the long run.
Anti-Inflammatory Low-Carb Meal Plan: Foods to Avoid
Consumption of foods with saturated fats, high glycemic index, omega-6-fatty acids increases the risk of chronic inflammation. Studies show that high consumption of omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation even though they are essential for bone and joint health, brain function, and body metabolism. In addition, they diminish the positive anti-inflammatory effects and aggravate the inflammatory response. Hence, one must be careful while choosing foods for an anti-inflammatory meal plan.
Some foods that must be avoided during an anti-inflammatory, low carb protocol are:
Sugar, particularly added sugar and table sugar, is a dietary villain. Those on a high sugar lifestyle often fail to see any results from eating any anti-inflammatory foods. Why? That’s because sugar can impair the beneficial anti-inflammatory effects. Whatsmore, drinking sugary drinks increases uric acid levels in the body, which triggers inflammation.
There are multiple claims that trans fats are the unhealthiest. When you consume trans fat, it causes weight gain and hormonal imbalance, leading to inflammation. Some inflammatory foods with high trans fat are packaged cookies, vegetable shortenings, certain margarine, and bakery items.
Processed foods contain trans fat, sugars, and refined carbs. They provide zero nutritional benefits, instead can spike up inflammation levels. Consuming processed foods would encourage the multiplication of inflammatory bacteria within the gut. As a result, it would increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease.
Benefits of Anti-inflammatory Low-Carbohydrate Meal Plan
The anti-inflammatory food plan is a lifestyle rather than a meal plan that comprises an eating plan to minimise meta-inflammation in our bodies. Its purpose is to consume nutrient-dense foods. It is primarily a plant-based meal plan. It emphasises the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats. Incorporating this change has significantly improved people’s mood, bloating, gastrointestinal discomfort, and achiness in muscles and joints.
A healthy implementation of anti-inflammatory foods with a low carbohydrate meal plan can prevent arthritis, diabetes, and heart diseases. Moreover, following well planned anti-inflammatory low-carb meals could boost your antioxidant levels, which fight the free radicals responsible for cell damage. Unlike intense calorie-restricted meal plans, this one is more feasible and beneficial in the long run. Plus, it has lesser side effects too.
7 Day Anti-inflammatory Low Carbohydrate Meal Plan
Breakfast (339 calories)1 serving Avocado & Kale OmeletteA.M. Snack (241 calories)1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds1 clementineLunch (360 calories)1 serving White Bean & Veggie SaladP.M. Snack (131 calories)1 large pearDinner (421 calories)1 serving Walnut-Rosemary Crusted Salmon1 serving Broccoli Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Breakfast (332 calories)1 serving Cocoa-Chia Pudding with Raspberries1 cup low-fat plain kefirA.M. Snack (305 calories)1 medium apple2 Tbsp. natural peanut butterLunch (380 calories)1 serving Middle Eastern Salad Bowls with Farro & ChickenP.M. Snack (62 calories)1 medium orangeDinner (408 calories)1 serving Antipasto Baked Smothered Chicken1 serving Basic Quinoa
Breakfast (304 calories)1 cup low-fat plain Greek yoghurt1/4 cup blueberries3 Tbsp. slivered almondsA.M. Snack (64 calories)1 cup raspberriesLunch (325 calories)1 serving Green Salad with Edamame & BeetsP.M. Snack (410 calories)1 medium apple3 Tbsp. natural peanut butterDinner (400 calories)1 serving Roasted Salmon & Tomatoes with Garlic & Olives1/2 cup cooked brown rice
Breakfast (268 calories)1 serving Apple Cinnamon Chia Pudding1 clementineA.M. Snack (293 calories)1 cup low-fat plain Greek yoghourt1/2 cup raspberries2 Tbsp. chopped walnutsLunch (369 calories)1 serving Mexican Spaghetti Squash Meal-Prep Bowls1 plumP.M. Snack (105 calories)8 dried walnut halvesDinner (477 calories)1 serving Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowls
Breakfast (304 calories)1 cup low-fat plain Greek yoghourt1/4 cup blueberries3 Tbsp. slivered almondsA.M. Snack (95 calories)1 medium appleLunch (325 calories)1 serving Green Salad with Edamame & BeetsP.M. Snack (206 calories)1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almondsDinner (560 calories)1 serving Grilled Salmon with Sweet Peppers1 serving Basic Quinoa1 serving Cucumber & Avocado Salad
Breakfast (298 calories)1 serving Omelette with Bell Peppers, Black Beans & Jack Cheese1 large pearA.M. Snack (182 calories)1 cup low-fat plain Greek yoghourt1/4 cup raspberriesLunch (360 calories)1 serving White Bean & Veggie SaladP.M. Snack (206 calories)1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almondsDinner (447 calories)1 serving Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto & Shrimp
Breakfast (304 calories)1 cup low-fat plain Greek yoghourt1/4 cup blueberries3 Tbsp. slivered almondsA.M. Snack (131 calories)1 large pearLunch (324 calories)1 serving Salmon-Stuffed Avocados1 plumP.M. Snack (268 calories)1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds1 medium orangeDinner (453 calories)1 serving Tandoori Grilled Tofu with Red Peppers & Broccolini1 cup cauliflower rice1 serving Cucumber & Avocado Salad
Alternative Indian Low Carbohydrate Meal Plan
Breakfast Vegetarian- 2 Tbsp overnight Oats and 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds in 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt or Home made curd + 1/4 cup fruit chopped or berries + 2 Tbsp. slivered almonds
Non- Vegetarian- 1 serving Omelette with bell peppers and tomato
A.M. SnackAny one seasonal fruit (berries, citrus fruit or melons)LunchVegetarian- 1 serving Mix vegetable Salad with Edamame/Beans/sprouts
Non- Vegetarian- 1 serving Chicken Salad with Green Leafy Vegetable and nutsP.M. Snack1 medium apple or Pear + 1 Tbsp. natural peanut or almond butterDinnerVegetarian- 1 cup Green salad + 1/2 cup cooked brown rice/quinoa/millet + 1/2 cup boiled pulses
Non- Vegetarian- 1 cup Green salad + 1/2 cup cooked brown rice/quinoa/millet + 1 serving roasted/grilled chicken or fish
Behind most chronic diseases is an unhealthy level of inflammation. To prevent the progression of inflammation, people decide to change their dietary practices by choosing health over comfort. The anti-inflammatory meal plan is a healthy lifestyle approach to reduce inflammation. It is beneficial for people suffering or at the risk of fostering chronic inflammatory, metabolic conditions. It would help if you combined a low carb diet with anti-inflammatory foods to reap maximum benefits. However, plan it under the guidance of a nutritionist who can assist with meal planning and portion sizes. Diet alone cannot wholly reverse inflammation. You should also include daily exercise, adequate sleep, and reduced stress for an effective anti-inflammatory response.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is Keto a good anti-inflammatory diet?
A. Ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate and high fat regimen. It exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which help in alleviating inflammation of the body. As a result of following this diet, ketosis occurs. It helps reduce inflammation and acts as a pain reliever.
Q. Are most carbs anti-inflammatory?
A. Not all carbohydrates have anti-inflammatory properties. However, other than processed foods, refined sugar, refined flour, gluten, and starch, all other carbohydrates are mostly anti-inflammatory foods.
Q. Does intermittent fasting reduce inflammation?
A. Yes, intermittent fasting reduces inflammation. Fasting is a sort of healing mechanism which activates the body’s natural way to repair and replace. During intermittent fasting, the blood sugar levels stabilise, and there’s a balance in the metabolic pathways. It, in turn, reduces inflammation.
Q. What is the fastest way to reduce inflammation in the body?
A. There is no one way to achieve this. But incorporating a healthy lifestyle that includes clean eating, exercising regularly, controlled circadian rhythm can help in reducing inflammation in the body. In addition, implementing new dietary practices under the guidance of a professional helps reduce inflammation.
Q. Do refined carbs cause inflammation?
A. Refined carbohydrates cause inflammation as they’re like sugars. As soon as they break down, they enter the bloodstream readily and spike the blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar levels are responsible for inflammatory response.
Q. Is oatmeal inflammatory?
A. No oats are anti-inflammatory. Oatmeal comes under the category of whole grains, which are helpful in the prevention or management of metabolic diseases and in reducing cholesterol levels. They contain fibre, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory substances.
Q. What can I eat for dinner on an anti-inflammatory diet?
A. A vegetarian diet is usually preferred during anti-inflammatory diet regimens. You can include steamed cauliflower with multigrain chapati, vegetable upma, mixed greens salad, roasted sweet potatoes with herb seasoning or coconut chickpea curry. As for non-vegetarian options, one can eat baked chicken with quinoa, tuna sandwiches, and other lean protein options like egg omelette and shrimp. In addition, vegans must include lentil soup or sweet potato with black beans.
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