If you struggle with health problems and think that inflammation is the cause, changing your diet can be a way to help. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done, but some experts believe it can help.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body's natural response to protecting you from anything that could harm you. There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic, but people often use the term interchangeably.
One way to compare the two is to consider it a fire: acute inflammation is like the little fire pit that you build to roast marshmallows; chronic inflammation would be the huge natural fire that can spread and cause a lot of damage. The key to inflammation is that you want it to remain small and enclosed when it happens, not something that spreads throughout your home and country, destroying your home and valuable assets in the process.
Chronic inflammation is the widespread, low-grade inflammation that is increasingly being studied and linked to many health problems such as heart disease, autoimmune diseases and even depression and anxiety. Inflammation can also be a culprit for less serious problems such as headache, joint pain or low energy. One thing that many experts say is a driving force is your diet.
Many popular diets today promise to help you lower the levels of inflammation in the body, including Whole 30, thethe Mediterranean diet and the Paleo diet. But do you need to go on a diet to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of healthy food? Certainly not. The key is to become more aware of which nutritionists and science say they have anti-inflammatory effects and which can cause inflammation (and where possible avoid it).
Dietitian Brittany Modell actually advises clients not to do diets, cleansing or detoxing, as they are often short-lived. "I personally do not believe in anything drastic in your diet because it is often not sustainable, but there are simple ways in which food can be used to reduce inflammation," says Modell.
How does nutrition contribute to inflammation?
It is no surprise that food and nutrition influence the levels of inflammation, because what you eat is so important for your overall health.
"Many studies have been conducted that demonstrate the impact of lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise, on chronic diseases and inflammation," says Modell. "For example, metabolic syndrome, which is defined by three or more of the following conditions: hyperglycemia, hypertension, abdominal obesity, low levels of HDL cholesterol, and hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides) is characterized by chronic inflammation."
Since nutrition plays a role in chronic health problems and levels of inflammation, Modell says that removing some inflammatory foods and adding anti-inflammatory foods can significantly reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Many different types of food can potentially cause inflammation, but the biggest known offenders are refined carbohydrates (such as white bread and pastries), fried foods, soft drinks, processed meats (such as hot dogs and sausages) and low quality, highly processed fats such as margarine and shortening.
These foods can cause inflammation because they are not as natural and more processed, which the body could interpret as a & # 39; foreign invader & # 39 ;, causing the inflammatory response.
How to Get Your Inflammation Levels Controlled
Symptoms of chronic inflammation include fatigue, skin rashes, and joint pain. If you experience symptoms and want your doctor to check your inflammation levels, you can ask them to perform a C-reactive protein test. A CRP test is a blood test that displays inflammatory markers in your blood.
If you would rather not visit a doctor or find one who does the CRP test for you, you can buy an EverlyWell test for $ 99 that you can do at home. The EverlyWell test kit contains vitamin D and a very sensitive CRP test.
Anti-inflammatory foods to try
Whole foods (in different colors)
Including more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet is one of the best ways to keep inflammation at bay. Don't forget to switch things and "eat the rainbow" when selecting your products to maximize their health and nutrition benefits.
"Whole foods with different colors such as dark green and cruciferous vegetables, dark purple or red fruits such as berries, onions, garlic, whole grains, oats, nuts, seeds and avocados are all shown as part of a vegetable diet and help reduce inflammation in the body, "says Modell.
Foods rich in antioxidants
Do you think healthy eating means you have to give up your daily pleasures such as coffee and chocolate? Think again. Both coffee and dark chocolate contain antioxidants that help combat inflammation.
"Many of these whole foods contain powerful antioxidant properties, such as polyphenols, aromatic compounds that have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects," says Modell. "Polyphenols can be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, chocolate, olive oil, tea, and coffee."
Healthier oils and fats
In addition to reducing trans fats (such as those in partially hydrogenated oils), it is also a good idea to be aware of other types of fat that you cook with or that you find in your food .
Olive oil is a type of fat that you can use in your food or salad dressings and that is a healthier option. Coconut oil is also a good choice because it is very heat stable and contains MCT fats that are good for you. You may want to consider consuming fewer omega-6 fats because they are related to inflammation. Some examples of omega-6 fats are rapeseed oil, soybean oil and rapeseed oil. These fats are often found in processed foods, fast foods and are often used in restaurants for cooking and deep-frying.
Avoid processed foods
"A minimally processed vegetable diet has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body," says Modell. When it comes to processed foods, this means that you can reduce everything in a package or box wherever possible. (Yes, even the packaged food labeled & # 39; healthy & # 39 ;.) Many products are marketed today as if they are health foods, while they are still highly processed and do not contain any nutrients you get from fresh food . Not to say that some packaged foods are no better than others. The key is to try to eat food with short ingredient lists, ideally one ingredient.
"Foods such as refined grains, high-fat cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal, trans fats (search for foods with partially hydrogenated oils), sugary foods such as soft drinks, sweetened drinks, high fructose corn syrup, desserts and sweets have been shown to it is more inflammatory, "Modell points out.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care professional for any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.