I don’t follow many rules when it comes to food—my whole wellness philosophy is about keeping it simple—but if there’s one phrase I would use to describe my diet, it would be “anti-inflammatory.”
If you’ve seen that language everywhere lately, there’s a good reason for it. Research has linked chronic, cellular inflammation with just about every form of chronic disease, not to mention premature aging, skin issues, fatigue, aches and pains and more. In short, it’s a big deal—and just about everyone experiences some degree of chronic inflammation, thanks to stress, toxin exposure, and other aspects of modern life.
So where does diet come in? Well, the foods we eat can either promote inflammation or prevent it. That’s why anti-inflammatory eating is so important—it’s one of the easiest things we can control when it comes to lowering our inflammation load and empowering healthy aging.
The good news is an anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated, or time consuming. The key is to load up on the foods that minimize inflammation and avoid the ones that create it. Here are a few of the inflammation-fighting foods that are always on my grocery list—and the pro-inflammatory ingredients that I eat in moderation.
5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods I Can’t Get Enough Of
- Leafy Greens: Kale, spinach, spring mix, and other greens are a staple in my everyday diet! If you don’t like the taste of them, blend them in a smoothie with your favorite fruit—or sip on Kayo’s Vital Greens superfood drink mix, which contains a big dose of organic, energizing greens in every serving. (It’s berry flavored!)
- Salmon: Salmon is rich in omega-3 fats that help to reduce inflammation in the body. I love it because there are so many ways to prepare it. On the grill, in a grain bowl, in sushi or on toast—it’s a quick and easy meal option for any time of day!
- Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries—no matter which one you love most, all contain a type of antioxidant called anthocyanin that helps lower inflammation.
- Dark Chocolate: Yes, you can still have chocolate on an anti-inflammatory diet! Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, another type of anti-inflammatory antioxidant. Just make sure you’re buying chocolate with at least 70% cocoa to get all the benefits. (Standard chocolate is mostly sugar.)
- Turmeric: This bright-orange spice contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. It’s definitely an acquired taste—and you need to consume a lot of curcumin to reap the benefits—which is why I love to take Kayo’s Daily Defense Curcumin supplement daily. It’s made with a patent-pending delivery method for maximum bioavailability, and is great for reducing inflamm-aging and post-workout soreness when you consume it on a regular basis.
5 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
- Added Sugar: Not only has sugar been shown to increase inflammatory markers in humans and mice, but it may also prevent anti-inflammatory omega-3s from doing their jobs. If you’re craving something sweet, go for fruit instead!
- Red Meat: Red meat is high in saturated fat, which increases inflammation in the body. Plus, high red meat consumption has been linked with heart disease, cancer, and stroke. My tip? Save the burgers and steaks for a special occasion, and switch to plant-based options for your day-to-day diet. (I love Beyond Meat—it tastes so much like the real thing!)
- Fried Foods: French fries, onion rings, and other fried foods are often cooked in inflammatory vegetable oils high in trans fats. One of my favorite alternatives: Slice up a sweet potato and make fries in an air fryer. (No oil required!)
- Refined Carbs: White breads, cereals, crackers, and other snacks made from white flour make your blood sugar skyrocket—and blood sugar spikes contribute to inflammation. I find that whole, gluten-free grains like quinoa and brown rice are easier on my stomach and less inflammatory in general.
- Excessive Alcohol: I love a Friday night cocktail as much as the next girl, but the more alcohol you consume, the more your inflammatory markers increase. Heavy drinking is also connected with leaky gut syndrome, which creates inflammation throughout the whole body. Not a bad reason to stick with one round of drinks on your next night out, right?
How I Perform Damage Control After Eating Inflammatory Foods
Of course, no one’s diet is perfect—mine included. That’s why I created the newest Kayo drink mix, Bloat Be Gone. It includes l-glutamine and marshmallow root to soothe gut inflammation and strengthen the gut lining over time—plus ingredients such as aloe, dandelion, and fennel to help reduce discomfort and bloating fast. (No joke—this is my favorite nightcap on vacation and after going out to dinner!)
So there you have it—all the ways I strive to minimize inflammation through food and supplements! Have any questions? I’d love to hear them. Shoot me a DM on Instagram at @christinebullock and I’ll do my best to answer in a future social post or on the blog!
- Tags: Wellness