As with many health issues, listening to your body is key to knowing how to reduce or even prevent it. Knowing what your body needs is the number one factor in nurturing your body for a healthy balance over your lifetime.
Inflammation is a normal part of our body’s immune response, however, too much inflammation over time can lead to pain and many times, disease.
Our diet accounts for eighty percent of our health outcomes, and keeping inflammation at bay is a huge benefit of a healthy diet. What we put into our bodies can either hurt (trigger) or help (prevent) inflammation.
The typical American diet is high in inflammatory foods, a primary reason why inflammatory disease is so prevalent. But believe it or not, certain foods can help fight an immune response gone awry. As with so many other things, small changes today can lead to big results down the road!
Eat lots of fruits. Sweet Bing cherries are powerful inflammation fighters. They help prevent chronic inflammation diseases like arthritis, certain cancers, diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease. Mangos are another powerful fruit, consisting of twenty vitamins and minerals. Polyphenols, found in mangos, have been proven to reduce inflammation.
Eat your vegetables. After all, leafy greens are known to provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Add two or three cups of green veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, collard greens, or watercress to your meals.
Don’t forget legumes. One and a half cups of chickpeas, lentils, beans or peas per day can improve insulin resistance and reduce inflammation. Legumes are also rich in fiber and protein.
Include nuts and seeds. Their derivatives can also be healthy. Foods especially rich in omega-3 oils, like flaxseed and walnuts, should be part of your daily regimen. When cooking, use grape seed oil. Top your salads off with olive oil instead of salad dressing.
Choose fish carefully. Since many species contain high levels of mercury, eat only wild Pacific or Alaska salmon. Or, choose smaller species like anchovies, shellfish, and sardines to limit the toxin intake.
Don’t underestimate herbs and spices. Turmeric, boswellia, oregano, garlic, ginger, blueberries, and green tea, contain bioflavonoids and polyphenols that limit free-radical production in the body.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory agent so powerful that researchers are now testing the benefits of turmeric on patients with Alzheimer’s, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Ginger aids in reducing joint stiffness and pain. More research is underway to understand whether and how ginger may improve cognitive memory.
Skip the junk. As hard as it is, eliminate hydrogenated oils (which are trans fats), sugar, refined carbohydrates, and gluten foods. These things increase inflammation and work against your body in all kinds of ways. Stop consuming those things exacerbate food allergies or sensitivities. Some of the most common triggers of food allergies are dairy, soy, gluten, nuts, and eggs.
Introduce supplements to your daily routine. To ward off inflammation, keep these supplements in mind:
- Daily multivitamin. Helps keep adequate levels of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidants in your body.
- Omega-3. Because omega–3 fatty acids are usually lacking in our everyday diets, think about taking an omega-3 daily supplement. This is one of the easiest, most effective steps you can take to reduce that unwanted chronic inflammation in your body. Make sure your omega-3 supplement is free of mercury and other heavy metals.
- Probiotics. To keep the good bacteria flowing in your gut, you may want to think about adding a probiotic to your daily routine.
- Bioflavonoids. Quercetin, pine bark extract, and grape seed extract are just a few of the 5000 plant chemicals that our bodies metabolize which offer powerful anti-cancer, anti-allergenic, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. Many bioflavonoids can be found in our fruits, tea, cocoa, wine, and vegetables. Others can be taken in a supplemental form.
- Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate are help build healthy cartilage. As we age, our bodies can’t create these compounds like they did in our youth. Glucosamine–Chondroitin supplements can help in repairing damaged tissues, but they are mostly used to help delay joint inflammation and alleviating its symptoms. A warning to those allergic to shellfish, make sure you check with your doctor before taking these supplements.
What we choose to eat and drink every day is crucial to warding off inflammation in our bodies. If following an anti-inflammatory diet isn’t working for you, consult with your doctor to explore further options to reduce chronic inflammation.
For more information on how to reduce inflammation in your body, consider these lifestyle tips.