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This Anti Inflammatory Food Pyramid Will Help You Build The Ultimate Healthy Diet

This anti-inflammatory food pyramid will help you build the ultimate healthy diet

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Graphic: Abby Maker for Well+Good

Inflammation is right up there with sugar in terms of scary wellness words. You’ve probably heard the laundry list of ailments it’s tied to: acne, sleeping problems, gut issues, and even life-threatening conditions, like heart disease.

The good news is that you can eat your way to better health—as long as you’re filling up on the right foods. Sure, turmeric gets a lot of the glory when it comes to fighting inflammation, but how many golden lattes do you need to sip a day for it to actually make a difference? And is there anything else you can nibble on that works just as well?

I tapped nutritionist Barbara Mendez, who’s also trained as chemist and a pharmacist, to help build an anti-inflammatory food pyramid—with the most beneficial foods at the bottom and the not-so great ones at the top. (Cough…gluten…cough.)

It’s kind of like the triangle you memorized in elementary school, only with way more superfoods (and way fewer cartons of milk).

Keep reading for her tips on building the ultimate good-for-you meal plan. Spoiler alert: There’s way more to it than just turmeric.

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Photo: Stocksy/Trinette Read

The base of the pyramid: Leafy greens and healthy fats

What’s the most important food for lowering inflammation? Leafy green veggies, Mendez says. In her opinion, the more spinach, broccoli, romaine, cabbage, collard, and kale, the better. The reason? Greens are loaded with antioxidants, which rejuvenate weak cells, she says—sort of like how that mid-afternoon coffee can bring you back to life.

“Besides leafy greens, the most powerful inflammation-fighting foods are salmon, walnuts, fermented foods—such as kimchi—garlic, and yes, turmeric,” she says. So how much is enough? “Ideally, you want a serving of fermented foods and walnuts every day,” Mendez explains. “Salmon can contain mercury, so because of that it’s best to…

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