What an Anti-Inflammatory Diet is and How it Can Heal
Our bodies have many ways in which it protects itself from outside invaders such as bacteria. One way our bodies do this is via inflammation. But when there is chronic inflammation within our system, it leads to discomfort and disease.
When inflammation runs rampant within our system, it no longer is serves the purpose of what it is made to do, and in turn causes illness. Unfortunately unlink inflammation you see on injuries such as a scrape or a cut that is visible, chronic inflammation is not visible to the individual. So, how do we know if we have chronic inflammation?
Well, fortunately our bodies are designed to let us know something is wrong through symptoms. Some of the symptoms linked to chronic inflammation are as follows:
- constant joint pain/aches pains
- acne, eczema, psoriasis
- difficulty losing weight
- autoimmune conditions (such as arthritis)
- loss of function (poor memory, foggy brain, stiffness)
Many individuals who are living with certain health conditions most likely are suffering from chronic inflammation as well which may be caused by or worsened by it. Some of these health conditions that can be linked to chronic inflammation are as follows:
You can also test for inflammation, so make sure to ask your doctor about the process and what you can do to figure out if you have chronic inflammation. In some cases some doctors turn to modern medicine and prescribe medication that only masks the symptoms and does not resolve the root of the issue keeping you in a perpetual cycle of relying on a drug long-term.
Thankfully, there are ways to recover your health naturally so to prevent or even reverse the effects of these conditions and in turn immensely improve quality of life. This is looking into the way you eat and that's where the anti-inflammatory diet comes in hand. This diet is not just a regimen but a way of life in the way you eat. Some of the positive benefits of this diet are:
- clearer skin
- lose weight
- more energy
- improved mood
So how do we start an anti-inflammatory diet? The first step is to cut way back or if not entirely on processed foods that cause the inflammation to begin with. Some of these foods are:
- Sweets and sugars- processed baked goods, candy, packaged desserts, ice cream, sodas, sport drinks etc
- Snack foods - chips, popcorn anything you find in the snack isle at the grocery store.
- Any processed meats- bacon, sausage, hot dogs, bologna, pepperoni, and salami
- Dairy - most processed dairy
- artificial sweeteners - "sugar free" isn't always free from chemicals
- fried foods - french fries, fried chicken etc
- processed oils such as soybean oil and canola oil
You also must be wary of "healthy" snacks as they contain inflammatory ingredients such as added sugars and syrups.
So when looking at what you CAN eat, you find that what's left at your disposal is whole foods. Whole foods are usually one-ingredient foods that you can find in nature. Unlike highly processed foods, whole foods contain essential nutrients that the body needs to heal. Some whole foods are:
- Brown or wild rice.
- Chicken/turkey breast.
- Fish (especially oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring or mackerel).
- Legumes, like dried beans and peas.
- Nuts and seeds.
When also choosing your foods make sure they are high in nutrition and have antioxidants.
- are rich in nutrients
- provide a range of antioxidants
- contain healthful fats
Some foods that contain these qualities are:
- nuts and seeds
- oily fish, such as tuna and salmon
- fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cherries
- vegetables, including kale, spinach, and broccoli
- olives and olive oil
There are also two types of anti-inflammatory diets that you can try out if you still aren't sure of what foods to include/exclude .Those two diets are the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. There are many sources you can go to if you so do choose to try one of these diets out.
Make sure that you talk to your doctor or nutritionist before trying anything new or changing your diet for health reasons. Also make sure to do your own research before coming to any conclusions!
healthline.com/ (mediterranean diet)
mayoclinic.org (DASH diet)