More and more, we are learning that a number of health conditions are linked to something called “inflammation.” You might be surprised to learn that inflammation is not always a bad thing. When you’re sick or injured, your immune system activates “inflammation” to help you fight off illness or heal wounds. But when that inflammatory process refuses to “turn off”, you can have a problem on your hands.
For various reasons, our immune systems get switched on and then fail to calm down. With no invaders to fight, the inflammation ends up attacking our own bodies. Therefore, inflammation becomes the root cause of a number of health conditions, such as arthritis and autoimmune disorders. Research has even shown that inflammation plays a role in the development of heart disease and cancer.
Because prevention is always more effective than attempts to cure a disease, inflammation should be addressed on a regular basis rather than after a diagnosis. However, steps toward reducing inflammation can be helpful at any time.
The following foods are known to fight back against inflammation in the body, so that your immune system can calm down and your body can get a break from the onslaught.
- Fiber-rich foods, like whole grains, beans, legumes, and brown rice
- Fruits and vegetables, not only for their fiber content, but the abundance of vitamins and antioxidants they contain.
- Unsaturated fats, because omega-3 fatty acids help to calm inflammation; eat nuts, seeds, olives, and fatty fish like salmon.
- Various herbs and spices, such as turmeric, rosemary, and ginger
- Teas, such as green tea or hibiscus tea
Of course, some foods also increase inflammation in the body, and that might be why so many of us struggle with this problem. Many common “junk” foods, like those that are highly processed, contain excess salt or sugar, or high in saturated fats will exacerbate inflammation. Alcohol, also, is a bad idea for those struggling with this health problem.
For more information on inflammation, visit your primary care doctor or schedule an appointment with a nutritionist who can help you develop an anti-inflammatory diet.