The Truth About Food and Inflammation

Chances are good that you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about “inflammation” in the past few years. Diet and inflammation are hot topics with researchers who are endeavoring to discover links between food and disease. As we understand more about how the foods we eat impact our long-term health, we can make adjustments to our diets to reduce inflammation and prevent disease.

Salmon seasoned with salt, cashews, walnuts, sliced avocado, and olive oil on a butcher block, garnished with parsley.We already know that chronic inflammation contributes to problems such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and even mental disorders like depression. Now we are in the process of identifying which foods lead to inflammation in the body, and which ones help to fight it.

The bottom line is that nutritionists have been able to outline an anti-inflammation diet, which both removes inflammatory foods from your regular rotation of meals, and adds anti-inflammatory foods to fight existing problems in your body.

While researchers continue to investigate certain topics such as food additives, here is a brief list of known inflammatory agents and foods:

  • added sugar, in particular high fructose corn syrup
  • alcohol
  • red meat and processed meats
  • trans fats, such as those in fried foods, margarine, shortening, and snacks like donuts
  • refined carbs contained in white bread, pasta, and pastries

The above is just a basic list of common inflammatory foods, but some people are sensitive to others as well. A physician can test you and determine whether you need to remove additional foods from your diet.

In addition to avoiding certain foods, adding anti-inflammatory foods to your regular diet is also important. These foods are high in antioxidants, which help to lower inflammation and undo damage in your body:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • green leafy veggies like kale, cabbage, spinach, and broccoli
  • colorful fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and oranges
  • nuts and seeds
  • avocados
  • fatty fish, such as tuna, sardines, salmon, and mackerel

It’s important to remember that research is ongoing, and we don’t yet know everything about inflammation and diet. If you’re considering an elimination diet, talk to your physician about your plans. You don’t want to eliminate entire food groups from your diet unless you have a compelling medical reason to do so, but eliminating processed junk foods is always a good idea. If your diet is indeed making you sick, going on an anti-inflammation diet could bring about dramatic changes in your health.

Filed under: Healthy Living Tips