Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet is a nutrition program similar to the Autoimmune Protocol Diet and the Mediterranian Diet and is designed to help reduce inflammation throughout the body. The diet focuses on consuming foods rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and avoiding foods that promote inflammation, such as refined carbohydrates and trans fats.
The diet also includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and moderate amounts of lean protein. The diet aims to promote overall health and well-being while reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.
What Is Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
Dr. Andrew Weil has a huge following online and offers extensive information about how diet and health are related. For example, he explains a strong connection between diet and chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is a condition that everyone has experienced at some stage. Anyone who has injured themselves badly would have noticed redness, swelling, and pain at the injured site.
Inflammation has an essential role in recovery from injury or illness, and it also helps the immune system respond to anything that could be harmful to the body.
However, excessive or chronic inflammation is not a good thing, and this type of inflammation can damage the body and make someone ill.
For example, some health conditions such as autoimmunity or inflammatory bowel disease can cause widespread or systemic inflammation. This inflammation persists due to an underlying health problem and can have several complications.
Symptoms of chronic inflammation include:
- Body aches and pain such as lower back pain
- Constant fatigue
- Muscle weakness
- Depression and anxiety
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Abnormal weight gain or weight loss
- Greater susceptibility to infections
- Eye problems
Dr. Weil also believes that inflammation could be the root of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s Disease. And there is enough scientific evidence that supports these claims and more.
Other health conditions that can arise from inflammation include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Allergic asthma
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
Overall, Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet appears to be based on sound scientific knowledge and is said to work by alleviating or reducing some inflammation. Although it’s also important to realize that diet is just one component of recovery, other lifestyle factors and proper healthcare are also worth considering.
How Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet Works
The primary guideline of Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet is to opt for foods and beverages that do not cause inflammation. Certain foods can indeed increase inflammation, especially in the gut, and cutting back on or avoiding these foods will help in some way.
Dr. Weil also provides these guidelines:
- Eat a variety of anti-inflammatory foods—don’t stick with the same meal every day
- Opt for fresh foods whenever possible
- Avoid processed foods and fast food as much as possible
- Fruit and vegetables are highly essential
- Drink lots of water
Additionally, there’s an emphasis on eating the right amount of calories daily. Different people have different needs, and you must eat the right amount of food daily to have a good source of energy and enough nutrition to help fight the inflammation. A good diet is also crucial for recovery from illness.
Alongside this diet, you should consider improving your exercise and minimizing stress. Dr. Weil states that a lack of exercise and stress can contribute to inflammation. To give this diet the best chance possible, it’s good to work on all potential inflammation sources within your control.
The Diet Plan
Adults should aim for 2000-3000 calories per day, depending on their needs. Men need more calories per day than women, and larger people need more calories than smaller people. Your ideal caloric intake also depends on your level of activity.
A good source of carbohydrates for this diet includes:
- Whole grains such as brown rice or bulgar wheat
- Sweet potato
Limit carbohydrates that are high in refined sugar or wheat flour.
A good source of fats includes:
- Omega-3 fortified eggs
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Fish oil supplements
- Extra virgin olive oil
Limit these fats:
- High-fat cheese
- Vegetable oils
If your diet lacks omega-3 fatty acids, Dr. Weil suggests a supplement.
Dr. Weil recommends eating less animal protein if you suffer from kidney or liver problems, autoimmune disease, or allergies. He also recommends opting for salmon as a rich source of protein.
Good protein sources from plants include beans and soybeans.
Increase your fiber with these foods:
- Whole grains
Phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals
These compounds are essential for helping your body to recover and fight inflammation.
To get the right amount of phytonutrients, make sure that you select fruit and vegetables of all colors, and Soy foods are also rich in phytonutrients.
If you are after a treat, dark chocolate and red wine also contain phytonutrients but should be consumed in moderation. Teas, such as oolong or green tea are also better than coffee because they are a greater source of phytonutrients.
Vitamins and minerals that are essential include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
If your diet lacks any of these compounds, you could try supplements instead.
Dr. Weil outlines all of the information you need to know on his website for free. This includes what foods you should eat and how many calories you need to consume daily.
Do’s And Don’ts
- Select a wide variety of foods — especially fruit and vegetables
- Avoid inflammatory foods as much as possible
- Drink more water or choose tea over coffee
- Have the occasional treat, but in moderation
- Consider how exercise and stress could also be affecting your inflammation
- Take supplements if your diet lacks a particular compound, vitamin, or mineral
- Select fresh foods because they contain the most nutrients
- Consider your caloric intake
- Eat fast foods or processed foods often
- Engage in strenuous exercise or high-stress environments
- Assume you have an inflammatory condition without getting it treated
- Consume fewer calories as a means of losing weight
Sample Diet Plan
Whole-grain cereal with berries and soy milk. Optional: add low-fat, natural yogurt on the side.
Salad greens with omega-3 fortified hard-boiled eggs, avocado, tomatoes, and brown rice.
Oven-baked salmon with sweet potato, carrot, and broccoli.
Health Benefits and Drawbacks
The main benefit of Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet is that it can help lessen the impact of inflammation, improving your overall health.
By staying on top of your inflammation, you may notice that:
- You are less tired and have more energy
- Everyday activities and exercise are easier to perform
- Body aches and pain lessen
- Your underlying health conditions reduce in severity
- You feel better overall
There aren’t many significant drawbacks to Dr. Weil’s diet. Some people might find adjusting to this plan easier because it is less restrictive than other anti-inflammatory diets. However, this diet may not resolve all your problems and cannot replace healthcare entirely.
The Bottom Line: Is Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet a Healthy Way to Lose Weight?
Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet is not specifically a weight loss diet; however, it is a healthy way to eat that can lead to weight loss if that is your goal.
The diet focuses on consuming nutrient-rich foods that promote overall health and well-being rather than quick weight loss. However, because the diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, it can help you lose weight if that is what you want. In addition, the diet avoids inflammatory foods that can promote weight gain, such as refined carbohydrates and trans fats.
So, if you want to lose weight healthily, Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet is a good option.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.