To understand the benefits that our diet can have on reducing inflammation in our body, it is important that we first review what happens during an acute inflammation flare up. Inflammation is a process in which your body fights against things that harm it, including infections, injuries and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. Your body responds by releasing chemicals that trigger the immune system. The body releases antibodies & proteins, as well as increases blood flow to the affected areas. This can last anywhere from a few hours, to a few days. Chronic Inflammation occurs when this response lingers, leaving the body in a constant state of alertness, for weeks or even months at a time. Individuals who experience chronic inflammation may be more likely to experience other conditions, including asthma and cancer.
An anti-inflammatory diet is one of the most powerful tools we possess when fighting inflammation. There are foods and beverages that we can consume to reduce inflammation in the body, and a list of those we should avoid when trying to reduce our body’s inflammatory response. Below, we will outline each set of foods, so that you can choose a balanced diet that makes sense for you!
Inflammatory Foods & Health Risks
Common inflammatory foods include, but are not limited to:
- Refined carbohydrates
- Soda/Sugary beverages
- Red Meat (steak, hamburger)
- Processed Meats
- French fries (and other deep fried foods)
From the above list, one can gather that foods that cause inflammation are also not good for one’s health, when eaten in excess. Inflammation causing foods are generally unhealthy, and the same types of foods that can contribute to weight gain, which is a factor for inflammation as well.
Anti Inflammatory Foods & Health Benefits
Common anti-inflammatory foods include, but are not limited to:
- Green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach)
- Nuts (such as almonds, walnuts)
- Olive Oil
- Fatty Fish
- Fruits (such as strawberries, blueberries, oranges)
Some foods, such as blueberries, apples, and leafy green vegetables, are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols, which are protective compounds found in nature. Reducing your inflammation, may in turn reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease & diabetes. Coffee contains polyphenols as well, and contrary to the idea that it is very acidic, the polyphenols in coffee may also help protect against inflammation.
Choose A Diet That Works For You
Understanding what causes and effects the foods you are consuming may have on your body is a great first step! We encourage you to adopt a healthy eating plan that is sustainable for you. Avoiding a high carb, high sugar, high processed food diet is a good rule of thumb. In addition to reducing inflammation, consuming more natural, good quality foods is better for your overall health & well being.