Inflammation in your body is caused by your immune system reacting to things it feels may be a threat. This is the body’s a natural response that helps protect us from foreign bodies that could pose us harm. Things that your immune system will attack include microbes, like viruses and bacteria, pollen, and chemicals. Inflammation is there to reduce the risk posed by these invaders, yet your immune system can be more aggressive than required.
Chronic inflammation happens when your immune system starts responding to things that are not a threat to your health. This overreaction is linked to many different chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. While many drugs have been studied in hopes of finding an effective medicinal treatment for inflammation, studies show that your food decisions have the greatest impact on your immune response.
Your diet can either help reduce inflammation, or make it worse. So, if you suffer from chronic inflammation, you will want to fill your diet with inflammation fighting foods. You will also want to make sure to limit food that can provoke a response from your immune system.
Anti-Inflammatory Compounds and Where to Find Them
The compounds that have shown positive results in reducing inflammation are anti-oxidants and polyphenols. These are the protective compounds that are found in plants, and a diet rich in these are shown to reduce many chronic illnesses associated with inflammation. There are many natural sources for these compounds, and adding them to your diet can be easy and tasty.
Greens that are leafy, like spinach, collards, and kale have extremely high levels of anti-oxidants. This high anti-oxidant content makes these vegetables a great way to add an anti-inflammatory punch into your diet. While you may find they do not taste great, there are many ways to add leafy greens to your diet. Smoothies with greens and fruits are a worthwhile method to increase the amount of anti-oxidants in your diet. There are many different berries that can make a green smoothie taste great, and they also work well to fight inflammation.
Blueberries, strawberries, and cherries are also packed full of the anti-oxidants that fight inflammation. These tasty fruits can boost up your diet in several ways. As mentioned earlier, they can be a smart addition to a green smoothie. They manage to make kale taste better, and add even more inflammation combatting substances.
Berries are an awesome addition to your diet on their own, too. They provide a wide range of vitamins that support a healthy lifestyle. They are also lower in calories, which helps promote a healthy weight. And the best part is that they taste great!
Berries are not the only fruit that boasts high inflammation fighting levels of anti-oxidants and polyphenols. Oranges and other citric fruits are known to provide protection against an overly active immune system. They are also shown to improve chronic condition that are tied to inflammation, such as arthritis and heart disease.
Fish and Fish Oil
Fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, and sardines are shown to reduce inflammation. They are a great addition to your diet, and also provide a worthy source of protein. If fish is not something that you find appealing, you can get the same anti-inflammatory benefits through a fish oil supplement.
Other Inflammation Fighting Foods
There are a host of other foods that have been shown to reduce inflammation. Olive oil, tomatoes, and coffee are also sources for the inflammation fighting compounds. With all the possible sources, it is not very difficult to increase your anti-oxidant and polyphenols intake. With smart food choices, you can reduce chronic illnesses, reduce joint pain, and increased your energy levels.
Foods to Avoid
On the other side, there are some foods that are shown to increase the body’s immune response, leading to more pronounced inflammation. These foods should be avoided, and where possible, replaced with an anti-inflammatory option.
Products made with white flour, such as white bread, pastries, and other baked goods are linked with a heightened immune response. Replacing your refined carbohydrates with whole grain versions can help reduce inflammation.
Processed Meat and Red Meat
Hotdogs, burgers, and steak are all linked to higher levels of inflammation. Fish is a great alternative to these meats, and will help reduce your symptoms of inflammation.
Lard, Shortening, and Margarine
All of these sources of fat have been shown to increased inflammation. Oils sourced from olives or nuts are a much better alternative, and can provide a different flavor experience as well.
Choice and Inflammation
Medical teams recommend that you look to your food choices to combat chronic inflammation, and the associated illnesses linked to it. There are many different foods that can help relieve your pain, and reduce the other symptoms of inflammation.
The foods that are shown to reduce inflammation are also associated with a healthy diet. Simply replacing some of your inflammation causing foods with a better alternative can improve your health. Smart choices promote a healthy lifestyle, and can help fight the diseases related to chronic inflammation.