21 Day Anti Inflammatory Diet Plan – Overview
Imagine a world where you wake up feeling energized, your mind is sharp, and your body is free from chronic inflammation. This is the world an anti-inflammatory diet can offer. An anti-inflammatory diet is a way of eating that focuses on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods that work to reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
This type of diet is becoming increasingly popular as it’s been linked to lowering the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The 21-day anti-inflammatory diet plan is a great way to kickstart your journey toward better health. It’s a comprehensive plan that includes a detailed meal plan to help you make healthy eating a sustainable part of your lifestyle.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet: A way to combat Inflammation
In order to combat inflammation in the body, an anti-inflammatory diet is recommended.
“An anti-inflammatory diet is a dietary pattern that emphasizes the consumption of foods that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and limits or eliminates those that have pro-inflammatory effects.”
The human body is constantly exposed to environmental toxins, processed foods, chronic stress, and lifestyle factors which can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation describes a state where the body’s immune system is in a state of constant activation, leading to the production of pro-inflammatory molecules such as cytokines and chemokines (1), which further results in the development of various diseases including cancer, metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, neurological diseases, respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, and skin diseases throughout a person’s lifetime. (2)
Anti-inflammatory diet is believed to play a role in reducing chronic inflammation by providing the body with the necessary nutrients to support optimal health and by minimizing the intake of foods that may promote inflammation. The anti-inflammatory diet typically includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as:
- Fruits: Berries, cherries, and citrus fruits are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, broccoli, and bell peppers are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Whole grains: Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Healthy fats: Foods such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish (such as salmon and sardines) are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
- Lean proteins: Foods such as fish, chicken, turkey, and tofu are good sources of lean protein, which can help to reduce inflammation.
- Herbs and spices: Spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
- Olive oil and avocado oil.
It is also recommended to drink enough water, herbal teas, and other fluids to keep the body hydrated. The anti-inflammatory diet limits the intake of processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated and trans fats, which have been linked to inflammation and chronic disease.
Processed foods are high in added sugars, unhealthy fats and salt, and refined carbohydrates, which can contribute to chronic inflammation. Other variables, such as regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep, may also assist in decreasing inflammation as they are the risk factors for inflammation (3)
The Significance of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet in Disease Prevention
It is important to note that the anti-inflammatory diet is not a specific diet plan but rather a way of eating that emphasizes nutrient-dense foods, and limits those that may contribute to inflammation. However, there are different variations of an anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean, plant-based, ketogenic, DASH, and AIP diets, etc., depending on the specific dietary approach or the individual’s dietary needs.
- Some individuals may follow a Mediterranean-style anti-inflammatory diet, which emphasizes whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats, such as olive oil. It also includes a moderate intake of fish and seafood, and a low intake of red meat and processed foods. Studies reveal that healthy Mediterranean diet food choices can prevent over 80% of cardiac disease, 70% of strokes, and 90% of type 2 diabetes when combined with regular physical exercise and avoiding smoking. (4)
- Similarly, another diet pattern, the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), is focused on reducing blood pressure and promoting heart health through an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It also limits saturated and trans fats, sugar, and salt. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have found that combining the DASH and Mediterranean diets (called the MIND DIET) lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 53% in people who followed the diet carefully. (5)
- While some may rely on a plant-based anti-inflammatory diet, which emphasizes whole, plant-based foods and eliminates animal products. According to research, plant-based diets minimize the chance of developing chronic diseases, the need for medication, and the risk of heart disease. (6)
- Low-carb (ketogenic), anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes healthy fats, lean proteins, and low carbohydrate intake. Reducing carbs appears to benefit the nervous system and inflammatory biomarkers. (7)
- The Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP) is another diet that eliminates certain foods that are known to be inflammatory, such as grains, legumes, dairy, nightshades, and processed foods, and encourages the consumption of nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods like meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. As per the findings of research, AIP has shown to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases. (8)
Similarly, an anti-inflammatory diet can help to reduce pain and inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis and improve cognitive function in older adults. (9) It may also help to reduce the risk of kidney disease by reducing inflammation in the body and providing the body with the nutrients it needs to support healthy kidney function (10).
An anti-inflammatory diet plan is particularly significant for individuals who are at risk of or are currently living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These conditions are often linked to chronic inflammation in the body, and an anti-inflammatory diet can help to reduce this inflammation and lower the risk of these diseases. It is important to consult with a registered dietitian or doctor before making any dietary changes, as different diets may have varying effects on health and may not be suitable for everyone.
Ways to thrive on an anti-inflammatory diet
Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can be a significant step towards improving your overall health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. However, making the transition to a new way of eating can be challenging. To ensure your success on an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s important to have a plan and the right tools in place. Here are some tips to help you get started and stay on track
Meal planning: Plan your meals in advance to ensure that you always have healthy food on hand. This can include meal prepping for the week or batch cooking to have ready-made meals in the freezer.
Keep healthy snacks on hand: Having healthy snacks readily available can help prevent overeating or reaching for unhealthy options when hunger strikes.
Make a grocery list: Make a list of all the foods you’ll need for the 21 days and stick to it when shopping. This will help you avoid impulse buying of processed or high-calorie foods.
Incorporate variety: Make sure you include a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats in your meals to ensure you receive all the nutrients you need.
Adequate Hydration: Drinking water can help you feel full and keep your body hydrated, which is important for overall health.
Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for overall health and can help reduce stress and improve the effectiveness of the diet.
Be consistent: Stick to the plan as closely as possible and make adjustments as needed to fit your lifestyle.
Find healthy alternatives: If you have a sweet tooth, for example, try to find healthy alternatives to your favorite treats.
Keep track of progress: Keep a food diary or take photos of your meals to track your progress and stay motivated.
Listen to your body: If you feel unwell or experience any negative side effects, consult with a healthcare professional to make sure the diet is safe for you.
21-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet: A Sample Guide
Blueberry smoothies with nuts
Spinach and chickpea stew
Honey Glazed salmon
Scrambled eggs And Avocado toast
Quinoa chili with sweet potato
Cinnamon glazed Walnuts
Kale and chicken soup
Coconut and chia pudding with nuts
Chicken & kimchi Stew
Vegetable turmeric soup
Kale pineapple smoothie
Slow cooked turkey
Chili lime cucumber
Spinach toast with whole wheat bread
Chicken and spinach pasta
Quinoa Egg Fried rice
Blueberry Chia Almond Pudding
Sweet Potato and kale salad
Honey Roasted Cashews
Herby fish with mushrooms
Oatmeal pancakes with apple & cinnamon
Lime chicken with cilantro
Banana and almond smoothie
Green salad with blueberry
Fish tacos with white beans
Buckwheat Porridge with cherries
Crunchy Cinnamon Granola
Red bean rice with chicken
Cocoa cheery oatmeal
Tuna and Green Bean Salad
Honey Roasted Cashews
Grilled chicken with broccoli
Baked egg in tomato sauce
Mediterranean lentil salad
Greek yogurt with blackberries
Shrimp with lime and rosemary
Raspberry Lemon Tart Smoothie
Broccoli soup with chickpeas
Spicy roasted cashews
Honey garlic chicken with carrots
Coconut flour pancakes with turmeric
Baked fish tacos with avocado
Greek yogurt with strawberries
Kefir and raspberry smoothie
Walnut crusted fish with rosemary
White bean pasta soup
Wheat toast with chickpeas
Black bean vegan Quesadilla
Baked Apple chips
Roasted fish with almonds
Baked crepes with mushrooms
Chicken and potato
Salted roasted almonds
Lentil and vegetable soup
Golden milk & chia seed pudding
Chicken with lemon tahini sauce
Mushroom and spinach pasta
Peanut butter with sprouted grain toast
Veges and white bean salad
Pistachio and Greek yogurt bars
Salmon with broccoli
Turmeric scrambled eggs
Quinoa Chicken salad
Greek yogurt and avocado dip
Red bean and Veges Meatball
Overnight Oats with peanut butter
Roasted Vegetable and black beans tacos
Greek yogurt with berries
Chickpea and potato curry
Baked fish with mushrooms and roasted potatoes
Humus with cucumber
Red Bean vegan soup with saffron
Limitations of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Even though an anti-inflammatory diet can be good for your health in many ways, it is not without its challenges. It’s important to be aware of them so you can set realistic goals and plan accordingly. Some of the most common limitations or challenges in implementing an anti-inflammatory diet are as follows: Difficulty finding and affording certain foods.
- Difficulty sticking to the diet due to social and cultural pressures
- Limited options for people with dietary restrictions or allergies
- Need to consult with a registered dietitian before making changes to diet.
- The potential for nutrient deficiencies if not planned properly
- Difficulty in maintaining the diet in the long-term due to its restrictive nature.
- Risk of over-restriction leading to disordered eating.
- Difficulty in finding anti-inflammatory options when eating out or traveling.
- The possibility of increased food costs due to the focus on high-quality, whole foods.
- Difficulty in implementing the diet in a busy daily routine.
- Lack of understanding and knowledge about anti-inflammatory foods and their preparation
- Difficulty in maintaining variety in the diet to prevent boredom and lack of adherence
- The need for consistent monitoring of symptoms to assess the effectiveness of the diet
21 Day Anti Inflammatory Diet Plan Table (Printable )
|1||Blueberry smoothies with nuts||Spinach and chickpea stew||1 Pear||Honey Glazed salmon|
|2||Scrambled eggs And Avocado toast||Quinoa chili with sweet potato||Cinnamon glazed Walnuts||Kale and chicken soup|
|3||Coconut and chia pudding with nuts||Chicken & kimchi Stew||Pomegranate salsa||Vegetable turmeric soup|
|4||Kale pineapple smoothie||Slow cooked turkey||Chili lime cucumber||Chickpea curry|
|5||Spinach toast with whole wheat bread||Chicken and spinach pasta||Roasted almonds||Quinoa Egg Fried rice|
|6||Blueberry Chia Almond Pudding||Sweet Potato and kale salad||Honey Roasted Cashews||Herby fish with mushrooms|
|7||Oatmeal pancakes with apple & cinnamon||Sushi salad||Toasted chickpeas||Lime chicken with cilantro|
|8||Banana and almond smoothie||Green salad with blueberry||Oatmeal cookies||Fish tacos with white beans|
|9||Buckwheat Porridge with cherries||Broccoli soup||Crunchy Cinnamon Granola||Red bean rice with chicken|
|10||Cocoa cheery oatmeal||Tuna and Green Bean Salad||Honey Roasted Cashews||Grilled chicken with broccoli|
|11||Baked egg in tomato sauce||Mediterranean lentil salad||Greek yogurt with blackberries||Shrimp with lime and rosemary|
|12||Raspberry Lemon Tart Smoothie||Broccoli soup with chickpeas||Spicy roasted cashews||Honey garlic chicken with carrots|
|13||Coconut flour pancakes with turmeric||Baked fish tacos with avocado||Greek yogurt with strawberries||Lentils meatball|
|14||Kefir and raspberry smoothie||Walnut crusted fish with rosemary||Roasted Carrots||White bean pasta soup|
|15||Wheat toast with chickpeas||Black bean vegan Quesadilla||Baked Apple chips||Roasted fish with almonds|
|16||Baked crepes with mushrooms||Chicken and potato||Salted roasted almonds||Lentil and vegetable soup|
|17||Golden milk & chia seed pudding||Chicken with lemon tahini sauce||One plum||Mushroom and spinach pasta|
|18||Peanut butter with sprouted grain toast||Veges and white bean salad||Pistachio and Greek yogurt bars||Salmon with broccoli|
|19||Turmeric scrambled eggs||Quinoa Chicken salad||Greek yogurt and avocado dip||Red bean and Veges Meatball|
|20||Overnight Oats with peanut butter||Roasted Vegetable and black beans tacos||Greek yogurt with berries||Chickpea and potato curry|
|21||Raspberry kefir||Baked fish with mushrooms and roasted potatoes||Humus with cucumber||Red Bean vegan soup with saffron|
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6. Tuso, P. J., Ismail, M. H., Ha, B. P., & Bartolotto, C. (2013). Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. The Permanente journal, 17(2), 61–66. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/12-085
7. Field, R., Field, T., Pourkazemi, F., & Rooney, K. (2022). Low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets: a scoping review of neurological and inflammatory outcomes in human studies and their relevance to chronic pain. Nutrition research reviews, 1–71. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954422422000087
8. Konijeti, G. G., Kim, N., Lewis, J. D., Groven, S., Chandrasekaran, A., Grandhe, S., Diamant, C., Singh, E., Oliveira, G., Wang, X., Molparia, B., & Torkamani, A. (2017). Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflammatory bowel diseases, 23(11), 2054–2060. https://doi.org/10.1097/MIB.0000000000001221
9. Schönenberger, K. A., Schüpfer, A. C., Gloy, V. L., Hasler, P., Stanga, Z., Kaegi-Braun, N., & Reber, E. (2021). Effect of Anti-Inflammatory Diets on Pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 13(12), 4221. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124221
10. Hansrivijit, P., Oli, S., Khanal, R., Ghahramani, N., Thongprayoon, C., & Cheungpasitporn, W. (2020). Mediterranean diet and the risk of chronic kidney disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nephrology (Carlton, Vic.), 25(12), 913–918. https://doi.org/10.1111/nep.13778