Avoid Inflammation by Changing the Way You Eat
Recent headlines show that awareness is growing about the connection between chronic inflammation and many serious health conditions. In fact, it appears that chronic inflammation may be the cause – rather than a symptom – of these conditions. It’s important to realize you can eat to avoid inflammation!
Medical experts now believe your diet and other lifestyle strategies can play a major role in the prevention of this dangerous inflammation.
Here’s what you need to know about inflammation.
- Acute inflammation. Acute inflammation is good for you! In fact, it’s necessary for the healing process. When you have an injury or an infection, blood flow increases to the damaged area. Special cells start removing irritants and damaged cells.
- Chronic inflammation. On the other hand, inflammation can undermine your health when it fails to turn off. Even though the symptoms may be invisible, chronic inflammation appears to play a role in heart disease, cancer and diabetes as well as in Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
- Benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet. Eating natural, unprocessed foods instead of sugar and processed foods can alleviate chronic inflammation and can greatly improve your health.
Food Choices That Help You Avoid Inflammation
- Cut down on processed foods. Steering clear of processed foods is a quick way to avoid many inflammatory agents. These inflammatory agents include omega-6 fatty acids, trans fats and refined carbohydrates.
- Emphasize plant-based foods. Making plant-based foods the mainstay of your diet will automatically increase your supply of antioxidants and important phytochemicals that act as anti-inflammatory agents. Aim for at least 5 servings a day of vegetables and fruits. I love the teachings of Dr. Joel Fuhrman whose audio book, Eat for Health audio book, I keep in my car to listen to and learn from all the time!
- Eat more fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially effective at reducing swelling. Eat fish at least twice a week. Choose the healthy-fat varieties including wild caught salmon and mackerel.
- Switch to whole grains. Opt for whole grains whenever possible. Many restaurants are now offering a choice, so order quinoa or brown rice instead of white rice.
- Indulge in olive oil. The ingredient oleocanthal in olive oil is another inflammation buster. It’s what gives extra-virgin olive oil its peppery taste.
- Limit red meat. Research findings are mixed, but a diet high in red meat has been found to make rheumatoid arthritis symptoms worse. Saving steak for special occasions may improve your overall health, and it’s certainly better for your heart.
- Spice it up. Certain spices prevent inflammation while making your food taste better. Be generous with the ginger, curry, clove, black cumin and cinnamon.
- Shop around. It seems like there’s a new diet book published every week promising anti-inflammatory effects. Find what works for you. One safe strategy is to stick with Mediterranean style diets that get high ratings across the board. I’m not a fan of diets, but this is the closest “diet” to the way I eat that alleviated my depression and helped me lose 20 pounds!
Additional Strategies That Fight Chronic Inflammation
- Lose weight. Extra pounds put an extra burden on your joints and vital organs. Trim down safely with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
- Manage stress. Elevated stress hormones contribute to inflammation. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, EFT tapping, meditation or taking long warm baths.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is another irritant. Even if you’ve tried to give up tobacco in the past, consider taking another run at it. New methods are being introduced all the time to make it easier.
A healthy diet can help avoid inflammation, enabling you to live a longer more active life. Eat a variety of whole foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables and talk with your doctor about your individual health concerns.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness in Your Life!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC