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Anti-Inflammatory: Vegan Diets help protect your body

vegan anti inflammatory

What is inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s response to organisms or foreign substances such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi, as well as tissue injury and stress or dysfunction.

It could be either a physiological or a pathological reaction. Its positive physiological response involves activation of the immune system, protection against infection, tissue repair, stress adaptation, and body recovery.

However, inflammation can also have negative pathological consequences such as inflammatory tissue damage, infection, sepsis, fibrosis, chronic illnesses, cancer, or autoimmune diseases. 

What are the different types of inflammation?

There are two types of inflammation:

Acute inflammation:

This is the body’s immediate reaction to a specific stimulus, such as a tissue injury. Its symptoms include redness, swelling, pain, and warmth of the inflamed area.

Chronic inflammation:

This is slow, long-term inflammation that may last for months to years. The impact of chronic inflammation usually depends on the severity of the cause and the extent of the damage it caused.

What is C-reactive protein (CRP)?

CRP is an inflammatory biomarker that is used to detect the presence of inflammation. It is increased in several conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes mellitus, cancer, rheumatic diseases, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.  

How is food related?

Diet has a strong impact on chronic inflammation. Poor diets increase the level of stressors in the body and increase inflammatory markers and can result in chronic diseases.

A 2019 review shows that the Western diet causes chronic inflammation, which may lead to a variety of chronic diseases. This is due to its high fat, cholesterol, sugar, salt, and animal protein content.   

According to a systematic review and meta-analysis in 2016, Western pattern diets (all meat-based) were positively associated with higher CRP levels and inflammation. While plant-based diets resulted in lower levels of CRP and inflammation.  

 Another cross-sectional study showed that vegetarian and vegan diets were negatively associated with CRP levels and inflammation.

How can anti-inflammatory vegan diets help against inflammation? 

Anti-inflammatory vegan diets are rich in the following components:

Antioxidants:

Antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, phytochemicals, and dietary fiber, help reduce oxidative stress and cellular damage.

Diets rich in antioxidants help reduce chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

High Fiber food:

Fiber helps strengthen the gut microbiota. Its fermentation produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) which help improve immunity, strengthen the blood-brain barrier, and regulate intestinal function. 

Polyphenols:

Polyphenols are compounds found naturally in fruits and vegetables. They help protect the body against inflammation, and oxidative stress. It also provides anti-cancer and anti-cardiogenic benefits.

Plant-based milk beverages: 

Vegan milk beverages such as oat milk and almond milk are a good source of antioxidants. They help reduce oxidative stress and cellular damage. They also have high nutritive values and other health benefits.

For more information about the different types and benefits of vegan milk, please read the following article.

What are the best anti-inflammatory foods?

The following are the best 10 anti-inflammatory plant-based foods:  

Berries 

Berries are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that help reduce cellular damage caused by oxidative stress.

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are examples of berries.

Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the cruciferous vegetables that is known for its high fiber, vitamins, and minerals content.  

Furthermore, broccoli is also rich in sulforaphane, which is an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammatory cytokines in the body.

Avocados

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which are healthy fats that are popular for their anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy properties.  

Moreover, avocados are a great source of potassium, fiber, and magnesium.

Green tea

Green tea has many benefits besides its great taste. It is rich in epigallocatechin 3 gallate (EGCG) which is a popular antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance. EGCG also helps reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and weight gain.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in protein, selenium, vitamin B complex, phenols, and antioxidants.  They have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Peppers

Both chili peppers and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C which has powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain Ferulic Acid which is a phytochemical that helps protect against infection and other chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. 

Peppers also have Sinapic Acid which acts as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory compound.

Grapes

Grapes are rich in Resveratrol which is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to have strong cardioprotective effects as it reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart failure, and ischemic heart disease. 

Furthermore, grapes are rich in anthocyanins which act as anti-inflammatories. They help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Extra virgin olive oil

It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which have anti-inflammatory properties as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Dark chocolate

Besides its delicious and satisfying taste, dark chocolate is famous for its antioxidant and anti-aging effects. It also contains Flavanols which have anti-inflammatory properties and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Cherries

Cherries are rich in anthocyanins and catechins, which are popular antioxidants. They help reduce the risk of inflammation and chronic diseases.

Can plant-based diets help reduce inflammation in children and teenagers?

Yes! Plant-based diets help reduce inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases even in children and adolescents.

According to one study, children aged 5 to 10 who ate plant-based diets had a better ratio of anti-inflammatory to proinflammatory markers.  Additionally, they also showed fewer C-reactive protein inflammatory markers than omnivores. 

Plant-based diets are completely safe for all ages. If you are a teenager that is interested in learning more about becoming vegan, please read the following article. It explains how to introduce vegan meals, go grocery shopping, and prepare a variety of meals.

Benefits of an anti-inflammatory VEGAN diet

Looking for an anti-inflammatory vegan meal plan?

If you feel overwhelmed or you do not know where to start, please take a look at our 1500 kcal and 2000 kcal meal plans. 

Example of a 1500-calorie meal plan:  

Breakfast:

Snack 1:

Lunch :

Snack 2:

Dinner :

For a 2000 kcal meal plan, choose calorie dense snacks such as : 

Snack 1: 

Snack 2: 

Want more recipes?

Try one of our delicious recipes and tell us what you think.

Are you ready to start your vegan diet?

It is only one phone call away! Get a vegan registered dietitian to help create your healthy vegan diet!

Start with a free discovery call with one of our plant-based dietitians who will gladly assist you

in planning your new vegan diet, answering your questions, and providing several tools to help you get on track.