When it comes to reducing inflammation in the body, focusing on the foods you eat is paramount. So many foods that people eat on a regular basis steadily increase the risk of living with chronic inflammation. People eat these foods without realizing the damaging effects they have on their bodies. There is a positive side, though, and that there are foods that work to reduce inflammation.
Is Inflammation Bad or Good?
Inflammation is the immune system’s natural response upon recognizing foreign invaders (microbes, pollen, or chemicals) in the body. This is the body’s way of protecting you from organisms that may threaten your health. However, inflammation can persist when there are no foreign invaders in the body. The very mechanism that protected you is now plaguing the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
While overlooked by many, the grocery store should be the first place you visit to naturally combat inflammation. A lot of studies have been conducted on the anti-inflammatory properties in various fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Including the right anti-inflammatory foods and excluding the inflammation-causing foods from your diet may be the exact remedy you need.
Anti-Inflammatory Cheat Sheet
- Focus on healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, & seeds)
- Eat organic (non-GMO) as much as you can
- If you are using protein powders, make sure to use plant-based, hypoallergenic powders (peas, rice, chia, and hemp are great options)
- 75% of your plate should be comprised of plant-based foods and the remaining 25% should include healthy fats and protein.
- Try to avoid starchy vegetables
- Look for high-fiber foods and low-glycemic carbs
|Foods That Cause Inflammation||Foods That Fight Inflammation|
|Nightshade Vegetables||Extra Virgin Olive Oil|
In order to reduce inflammation, it is beneficial to follow a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and wild-caught fish, if you must indulge in protein sources that are not plant-based. People who maintain diets like the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in all of the aforementioned foods, have been known to have lower rates of heart disease and diabetes, and they live longer than people who eat the Standard American Diet. This is attributed to the high amount of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other protective compounds found in the anti-inflammatory foods.
Balancing Your Omegas
There are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which must belong to the anti-inflammatory diet. A lot of people eat too many omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to chronic inflammation. They are in foods like corn-fed beef, butter, and soy products, but better sources include dark leafy greens, flaxseeds, avocados, and wild caught fish. Omega-6s supply the body with messengers that are involved with inflammatory responses, while omega-3s trigger anti-inflammatory molecules. You can find omega-3s in foods like avocados, berries, leafy greens, chia seeds, walnuts, and almonds. It is beneficial to eat more omega-3s to avoid inflammation-related illnesses.
We hope this information helps you in your efforts to decrease inflammation in the body. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.