Fight Off Inflammation & Live a Healthier Lifestyle

Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation in your body does not necessarily always lie in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation and improve your well-being.

The Health Risks of Inflammatory Foods

Not only do unhealthy foods contribute to weight gain, but they also play a big role in inflammation. Several studies have shown the link between inflammation and certain foods, such as refined carbohydrates, fried foods, processed meats, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Many major diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s have been linked to chronic inflammation. Studies have shown that inflammation is the underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.

Benefits of Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Chronic inflammation often results when the immune system releases chemicals meant to fight injury and virus infections, even when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. Since food choices influence the level of inflammation in our bodies, it is so important to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. An anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. Foods that fight inflammation include:

  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collard greens)
  • Tomatoes
  • Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts
  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna)
  • Healthy oil, such as olive oil
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Beans (red beans, pinto beans, and black beans)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fruit
salad as part of an anti-inflammatory diet

While all fruits are healthy for the body, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries, in particular, are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols.

salmon has omega-3 fatty acids

Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Avoid Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, flax seeds, and walnuts help reduce levels of inflammatory. Studies also show that there’s evidence that certain herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic, can also help alleviate inflammation.

However, foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids, such as meat and dairy products, are known to increase the body’s production of inflammatory chemicals. Though omega-6 fatty acids should not be cut out of your diet completely as they help maintain bone health, regulate metabolism and promote brain function. It’s important to balance your intake of both omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids in order to keep inflammation in check.

Tips on Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

  • Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables every day
  • Be mindful of your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids
  • Increase your intake of foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Replace red meat with healthier protein options – lean poultry, fish, beans, and lentils
  • Trade in margarine and vegetable oils for the healthier fat found in olive oil
  • Swap out refined grains with fiber-rich whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice

Choosing the right anti-inflammatory foods will allow you to reduce your risk of illness and live a healthier and longer lifestyle.

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