Reduce Inflammation with Your Diet
It usually doesn’t take a professional nutritionist to point out the difference between the foods that we should be loading into our grocery carts on a regular basis and the ones we should pass on by.
Think about foods that have been deemed “bad for you” and you’ll probably come up with a list that includes sugary sweets, soda and anything fried. These types of foods are synonymous with excess calories, weight gain, and contributing to health risks.
Although there are many reasons we should limit our consumption of these foods that provide little in the way of nutrition and force us to carry a lot of baggage (mostly in our thighs), the number one argument for keeping them out of your body is the inflammation they can cause.
What is inflammation? Well, in small doses, inflammation is actually good for your body. It occurs whenever your immune system attacks a foreign chemical or microbe. It is your system’s attempt to protect itself and whatever “invader” it perceives is doing you harm. Acute inflammation is the immediate reaction of the body to some kind of trauma. Redness, heat or swelling are symptoms of inflammation – and they can occur during an infection or other injury.
However, chronic inflammation is when your body continues to remain in that heightened state for months or even years. It’s a systemic condition that occurs when acute inflammation does not rid your body of a pathogen or when your own cells are being attacked as foreign entities. It may be mostly undetectable, but chronic inflammation contributes to many illnesses including heart disease, forms of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods Can Help or Hurt
Stress, smoking and exposure to toxins contribute to chronic inflammation, as do many foods. Conversely, your diet can play a big part in preventing inflammation – IF you eat the right foods. Make sure you are following an anti-inflammatory diet to lower your risk of diseases, and prevent symptoms of chronic inflammation, like depression, fatigue and digestive issues.
Foods that CAUSE Inflammation:
- French fries and other fried food
- Red meat and processed meats
- Refined carbohydrates, like white bread and cakes
- Soda and sugar-sweetened beverages
- Margarine and shortening
Food that PREVENT or FIGHT Inflammation:
- Leafy greens, like spinach and kale
- Olive oil
- Nuts, like almonds and walnuts
- Fatty fish like tuna and salmon
- Fruits like blueberries and oranges
Need another reason for adopting an anti-inflammation diet? Foods that fight inflammation are also high in nutrients and included in diets linked with longevity and increased health benefits.
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