Inflammation and your diet

INFLAMMATION AND YOUR DIET

By Theresa Harding

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Did it ever occur to you that your diet is the culprit to your body aches and pains?  If you knew that some of the reasons we experience pain and inflammation are because of our food choices, you might want to reconsider your diet plan. 

Even if you try taking supplements for inflammation, like turmeric, diet first is always key to an anti-inflammatory diet plan.  It’s important to eat low inflammatory foods to avoid chronic inflammation.

Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This often triggers a process called inflammation.

What Triggers Inflammation?

Inflammation is a totally normal bodily function. It is generally triggered by the immune system when it recognizes an invader or damage to tissue that must be kept under control. The immune system stimulates different cells and proteins—like white blood cells—to help eliminate the threat of an outside invader and repair any damaged tissue.

Inflammation is instigated by chemical mediators called cytokines that act as signals to recruit more parts of the immune system to help with healing.  

Chronic (or ongoing) inflammation occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells leading to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, states of immune deficiency including Crohn’s disease or skin conditions including psoriasis.  Underlying chronic inflammation also may play a role in heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Foods That Cause Inflammation

Interestingly, the foods you eat can have a major effect on inflammation in your body. Low inflammatory foods are best.  Some foods are notorious for promoting inflammation. Consider minimizing to a low inflammatory diet or cutting these out completely.

  • Sugary beverages: Sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices.
  • Refined carbs: White bread, white pasta, etc.
  • Desserts: Cookies, candy, cake, and ice cream.
  • Processed meat: Hot dogs, bologna, sausages, etc.
  • Processed snack foods: Crackers, chips, and pretzels.
  • Certain oils: Processed seed- and vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil.
  • Trans fats: Foods with “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list.
  • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption.

Foods That Fight Inflammation

There are also foods that combat inflammation. These foods are often referred to as Anti-inflammatory Diets or a low inflammatory diet.  These low inflammatory foods can help prevent you from reaching the point of chronic inflammation

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is not a diet in the popular since – it is not intended as a weight-loss program (although people can and do lose weight on it), nor is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet an eating plan to stay on for a limited period of time.  Rather, it is the way of selecting and preparing anti-inflammatory foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body maintain optimum health.

Along with influencing inflammation, this natural anti-inflammatory diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids dietary fiber, and protective phytonutrients.  There are also supplements for inflammation if you feel you suffer from it.

The Anti-inflammatory Foods You Can Eat

  • Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.
  • Fruit: Especially deeply colored berries like grapes and cherries.
  • High-fat fruits: Avocados and olives.
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil and coconut oil.
  • Fatty fish: Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies.
  • Nuts: Almonds and other nuts.
  • Peppers: Bell peppers and chili peppers.
  • Chocolate: Dark chocolate.
  • Spices: Such as turmeric, fenugreek, and cinnamon.
  • Tea: Green tea.
  • Red wine: Up to 5 oz (140 ml) of red wine per day for women, and 10 oz (280 ml) per day for men.

There are ways to eat anti-inflammatory food in order to reduce any chance of chronic inflammation.  As mentioned above, there are supplements for inflammation in one way.  But food is always the first option I recommend.

Ways to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet for Optimal Health:

  • Consume at least 25 grams of fiber every day.
  • Eat a minimum of nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Limit saturated fat to 10 percent of your daily calories.
  • Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Eat fish at least three times a week.
  • Use oils that contain healthy fats.
  • Eat healthy snacks twice a day.

Inflammation can occur in response to many triggers. Some of these you can’t do much about, such as pollution, injury or sickness. However, you have much more control over the foods and beverages you choose to eat and drink.

To stay as healthy as possible, keep inflammation down by minimizing your consumption of foods that trigger it.  Though diet is important, it’s not the only factor. Quality and duration of sleep and other lifestyle factors can have a direct impact on inflammation.

Overall, to avoid issues with chronic inflammation, make it your mission to achieve a healthy, low inflammatory diet, maintain a healthy weight, get adequate sleep and engage in regular physical activity.

Have you experienced any symptoms of pain due to inflammation?  What methods are you using to heal the pain?

Sources

http://www.eatthis.com/foods-that-cause-inflammation/

http://www.health.com/nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet#2-what-is-inflammation

https://www.prevention.com/health/why-you-need-an-anti-inflammatory-diet/slide/

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet-2.php

 

Upgrade your diet with my Free “Diet Makeover” course!

If you are ready to upgrade your diet from nutrient deficient to a nutrient dense diet, you can download my free “Diet Makeover” course.  This diet makeover is what I did to improve the health of my family.  If I can do it, so can you!

 

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About the Author Theresa Harding

Healthy Living isn't difficult. It requires an ongoing lifestyle change with patience and an open mind. I teach this mindset all the time. After 11 years of transitioning from an unhealthy lifestyle to a pain-free one, I think it's important to share my knowledge and research with those who are ready to make that shift in their health and wellness.

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