About the author
Angela is a holistic health practitioner, sober yogi, business owner, and musician. Her intention is to share her knowledge of multiple healing modalities, in the hopes that it will lead others to a more content, fulfilled and healthier life experience.
One of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies in optimum nutrition, not at the pharmacy! By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good.
Intermittent bouts of inflammation that are directed against real threats and invasions protect you and are crucial to your good health. When your body doesn’t recognize something like pollen, chemicals, a microbe or a virus, your immune system activates. This can often trigger a process called inflammation.
In some people inflammation persists, day in and day out, even when their body is not being threatened by foreign invaders. That’s when inflammation can become your enemy. Many serious illnesses and diseases – including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s – have been linked to chronic inflammation.
One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from a prescription, but from the local grocery store.
“Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
By choosing the right anti-inflammatory foods, you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. Consistently picking poor food choices can accelerate the process of inflammatory disease.
Foods that cause inflammation
To to avoid or at least limit these foods as much as you can:
- Refined/processed carbohydrates (white bread, cereals, pastries, etc..);
- Artificial trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable oil, shortening, margarine);
- Fried foods (especially with poor quality fats/oils);
- Excessive alcohol;
- Red meat (especially industrially processed beef and pork like hotdogs/sausage);
- And the worst of them all, REFINED SUGAR.
Know the risks
Not surprisingly, the same foods that are inflammatory are generally the same ones that are considered bad for your health. Some of those foods that have been linked to increased risk for chronic diseases are also associated with excess inflammation. This isn’t really that surprising, since inflammation is a major underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases. Unhealthy food choices also contribute to weight gain, which is in itself a risk factor for inflammation.
If you suffer from any type of inflammation, then your diet should definitely include the following foods:
- Fatty fish: Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.. Fatty fish are a great source of protein and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which drive inflammation.
- Berries: Sweet handfuls of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries & blueberries. They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your risk of disease.
- Green Tea: Many of its benefits are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate.
- Turmeric: This brightly coloured root reduces inflammation related to arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases
- Dark Chocolate: You read that right! It’s packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy.
Studies have also shown that those with a diet containing nuts have reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Coffee, which contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, may protect against inflammation, as well.
To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you’re looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.
In addition to reducing inflammation, optimum nutrition, including a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, can have positive effects on your physical and emotional health. Optimum nutrition is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life.
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