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With the risks of high inflammation well-documented, who wouldn’t want to eat in a way that reduces this dangerous condition? Chronic inflammation means your body’s inflammatory response has started to degrade your healthy cells, tissues, and organs. If left unchecked, this could lead to DNA damage, tissue damage, and internal scarring over time – all of which are linked to several diseases, including cancer.
Read on to learn how what we eat can help fight inflammation. For more tips and information to get you started on keeping your body and mind healthy, visit Wellness Nova.
Inflammatory Foods To Avoid
Just as important as adding foods that promote an active anti-inflammatory response in the body knowing which inflammatory foods to avoid. These include red meat, refined sugar, deep-fried foods, processed foods, margarine, and anything high in trans fats.
A simple rule to follow is to avoid “white” foods altogether, meaning refined carbohydrate products made with white flour such as white bread, pasta, and white sugar.
Avoid red meat, especially the highly processed varieties such as burgers, hotdogs, sausages, bacon, and jerky. Processed meat contains more advanced glycation end products (AGEs) than most other meats.
AGEs are formed by cooking meats at high temperatures and are known to cause inflammation in the body. There are many diseases linked to the continued consumption of red meats, but of all these, the association with colonic cancer is the most compelling.
Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup
Table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are the two main types of added sugar in the typical Western diet. Heightened sugar consumption can increase inflammation and lead to many diseases and conditions.
An increased amount of sugar consumption is also known to supply surplus amounts of fructose. This is linked to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer, and chronic kidney disease. It is also known to potentially counteract the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids.
Artificial Trans Fats
Artificial trans fats are without a doubt the unhealthiest fats you can include in your diet. They are made by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats, rendering these liquid fats into a solid. These are often labeled as partially hydrogenated oils.
Trans fats are found in some kinds of margarine and are often added to processed foods to increase their longevity. Consuming artificial trans fats is linked to increased levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP).
If you are not sure whether your food choices are inflammatory or not, a good rule of thumb is this: if it’s overly greasy or sweet, or is highly processed, it is likely to cause a strong inflammatory response in the body.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods To Include in Your Diet
Anti-inflammatory foods are foods that lower the odds of you experiencing heightened levels of inflammation in the body. Anti-inflammatory foods can reduce the chances of you having a flare-up, thus reducing pain if you suffer from a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Any reputable nutritionist would advise you to include more anti-inflammatory food in your diet. These include foods such as whole grains, and fiber-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables, pulses and legumes, and nuts.
Fruits and Vegetables
A helpful tip to remember is the more color, the better. Vitamin K-rich leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, have been shown to reduce inflammation, as have cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. The substance that gives raspberries, blackberries, and cherries their color is also effective as well.
Whole grains such as brown rice, whole oats, whole wheat, and other unrefined grains tend to be high in fiber and can help reduce inflammation. The high fiber content also helps to keep you feeling full for longer and limits spikes in blood sugar levels.
Beans and Pulses
Beans and pulses are loaded with fiber which keeps the colon and GI tract in good shape. They are also loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory substances vital for maintaining good health.
Nuts contain the good types of fat that help you stave off inflammation in the body, much like extra virgin olive oil and avocados do. Most nuts contain unsaturated fats; either monounsaturated fats (almonds, pistachios, pecans) or polyunsaturated fats (walnuts and pine nuts). Cashews, macadamia, and Brazil nuts are much higher in saturated fats, however.
Herbs and Spices
Another easy way to incorporate anti-inflammatory substances into your diet is to include certain herbs and spices. This can also provide a welcomed taste boost to your meals, along with a myriad of other health benefits.
The active anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric is the yellow pigment called curcumin. Turmeric has long been a staple in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for its ability to reduce inflammation, help with wounds and infections, as well as aid in digestive disorders.
Piperine, the active anti-inflammatory ingredient in black pepper, is an unassuming powerhouse. Piperine has been shown to reduce inflammation and inhibit the spread of cancer and even suppress pain reception in arthritis sufferers.
Ginger has been shown to have a greater therapeutic effect on inflammation than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of pain. Ginger is also known to inhibit the activation of the inflammatory response in certain genes.
Eat Your Way to Optimum Health
There is no better way to reduce inflammation in the body than with lifestyle intervention. Chronic inflammation can lead to a whole plethora of health problems that can easily be avoided. Taking care of what you do and do not eat should be your first priority in achieving your health goals and optimum well-being.
Avoid heavily processed food items, such as refined white flour and white sugar, processed red meats, and trans fats. Focus on whole grains, fruit and vegetables, legumes, and pulses. Include healthy saturated fats from foods such as nuts. Include flavor-enhancing herbs and spices into your diet as you eat your way to a better you.