Today, many health experts talk about the dangers of chronic body inflammation. It contributes to the development of many serious and common health conditions. So why not enjoy an anti-inflammatory diet featuring foods that fight inflammation?
It’s a delicious way to have good health and feel great!
The exciting news is that inflammation can be controlled, and even reversed with by eating foods that fight inflammation.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a normal process that occurs when your body recognizes something foreign in your system. The foreign item may be golden rod for hay fever suffers, or an invading microbe like the flu.
In these cases, your immune system and inflammation protect your body from a threatening invader.
Health problems occur when inflammation in the body persists even when there’s no foreign invader. Chronic inflammation encourages the progression of certain diseases which may not have developed until later in life—if at all.
Conditions or occurrences that can increase your body’s inflammation response include:
- Weight gain and obesity
- Prolonged exposure to toxins
- Autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic stress
- Alcohol abuse or smoking
Obesity is a driver of inflammation, but the fattening foods themselves are also greatly responsible for inflammation.
Not all bodies react to foods the same way. What triggers inflammation in one person may not cause inflammation in another.
Signs of Chronic Inflammation
How do you know you have chronic inflammation?
Your body may present some of these telltale signs:
- Red and puffy skin
- Skin rashes
- Swollen hands and feet
- Abdominal distention
- Weight gain
- Achy joints and muscles
Fight Inflammation with an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
An anti-inflammatory diet will fight your body’s chronic inflammatory response.
Be aware that an inflammatory response to a particular food varies from person to person.
Foods that Reduce Inflammation
Some delicious whole foods that reduce inflammation include:
- Fruits and vegetables, including apples and oranges
- Berries, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cherries
- Fish, including salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna
- Brown or wild rice
- Lean chicken
- Seeds like quinoa, beans, and lentils
- Nuts, including almonds and walnuts
- Unprocessed turkey breast
- Leafy greens, including spinach, kale, cabbage, and broccoli
- Healthy fats, including olive oil
- Whole-grain breads and pastas
- Some spices, including garlic, turmeric, and ginger
Bake or broil foods. Don’t deep fry.
Eat Whole Foods – Not Processed Foods
In pure terms, a whole food is a food with just one ingredient. It has not been processed or added to.
However, a store-bought whole food can contain a mixture of whole foods—such as a jar of different types of nuts. But there’s no added salt, preservative, or other ingredients.
Cut out processed foods, including cakes, candies, and potato chips.
Are there any yummy foods left? Yes! Whole foods taste fresh and delicious.
Once you start eating healthy foods, your body will become less prone to craving junk food.
An anti-inflammatory diet includes superfoods. A superfood contains a high level of nutrients. But just as important, it’s linked to disease prevention or other health benefit that exceeds the nutritional value of the food.
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods are high in antioxidants and polyphenols.
Antioxidants remove damaging oxidizing agents from living things. They protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Polyphenols protect us against oxidative stress associated with diseases such as diabetes or cancer.
These foods are extremely high in antioxidants and polyphenols:
- Leafy greens
- Fruits and vegetables
You can learn more about these anti-inflammatory superfoods on our Neuro Wellness Instagram:
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
Inflammatory foods to eliminate from your diet include:
- White rice, white bread, and white flour
- Red meat, including hamburgers
- Dairy, including butter and whole milk (low-fat dairy products and eggs aren’t inflammatory)
- Margarine, shortening, or vegetable oil
Cut Back on Processed Foods
Many people love processed foods and can’t imagine doing without. Cookies, cakes, and potato chips may be your comfort foods. But remember, processed foods aren’t your friend.
What qualifies as a processed food?
Any pre-packaged food that has ingredients that you don’t recognize, or that is high in sugar, processed oils, or salt.
When you remove these foods from your diet, your cravings will lessen—usually after a few weeks. But don’t go hungry. Eat whole foods instead. And congratulate yourself on your smart choices!
Some common processed foods to avoid are:
- Processed meats—bacon, hot dogs, ham, and pepperoni
- Processed cheese—dips, American cheese
- Sugary sodas and sports beverages
- Fried foods—yes, sadly French fries and fried chicken
- Prepared desserts
- Microwave popcorn
- Any food items with trans fats, usually called “partially hydrogenated oils”
And don’t let highly processed health bars fool you.
Discover Your Food Sensitivities
Many people have sensitivities or allergies to certain foods. These foods can cause inflammation.
Discover your food sensitivities through a process of trial and error. Try eliminating a food for a few weeks and see how you feel.
Just remember, everyone is different and what causes inflammation in one person may not have the same effect on another.
How Do You Know Your Diet is Working?
You know your diet is working when you start to feel better. Some symptoms will be lessening and you’re noticing improvements in your health.
You may experience:
- Less muscle or joint pain
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced swelling in hands and feet
- Clearer skin
- Less stomach upset and bloating
- Better sleep
- Reduced brain fog
- Lower blood sugar numbers
If you have a strong reaction to a specific food, you may see results in as soon as two weeks. But give yourself up to six months to incorporate diet changes and gauge results.
Don’t make all diet changes at once. Add and eliminate a few foods at a time. This will ease you into a new food lifestyle that you will be more likely to maintain.
Chronic Inflammation Linked to Many Serious Health Issues
Research has linked chronic inflammation to many dangerous health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- IBS and ulcerative colitis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
Develop your anti-inflammation diet and feel great!
At Neuro Wellness, we want to revitalize your life. For more information, contact us.