When your immune system is on high-alert, your body will often go through a process called inflammation to fight any potentially threatening invaders off. In those times that your body needs extra protection, inflammation can actually be beneficial to you. However, inflammation can persist even when your body is not in danger of contracting an illness or infection, which can lead to a multitude of other health risks. Chronic inflammation has even been linked to incurable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s. Contrary to popular belief, preventing chronic inflammation starts in the kitchen, not in the form of a pill.
In order to combat inflammation, many studies show that your best chance is through making sustainable changes in your diet. This should start by avoiding foods such as refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meats, processed meats, margarine, shortening, and lard. These foods are known to promote inflammation in the body and have also been linked to other health risks including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Instead you should make the switch to healthier, anti-inflammatory alternatives such as tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, and fruits. A specific meal plan that can be implemented to reduce inflammation is a Mediterranean diet which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.
The benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet are endless! Switching your diet can lead to an even stronger immune system which could eliminate the need for inflammation as a protective measure altogether. Fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens are high in antioxidants and polyphenols or protective compounds found in plants. Nuts also have been linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Aside from the physical benefits, changing your diet may also bring positive changes to your mental and emotional health as well. These can range from a general boost in your mood to an increase in your overall quality of life.