Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to quench chronic inflammation is found not in the medicine cabinet, but in the kitchen.
"Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages have anti-inflammatory effects," says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Hu says that choosing the right foods may be able to help you reduce your risk of illness. Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.
What Are Some Signs Of Inflammation In The Body?
- Weak immune system
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Symptoms of autoimmune diseases
- Poor sleep
- Low energy
- Weight gain
- Poor digestion and bloated belly
- Constipation and overall irregularity
Inflammation is a temporary response to the healing process of an injured part of the body. Once the healing is finished, the inflammation subsides.
So which foods should you choose to eat and not eat if you are to control the inflammatory response?
Foods That Fight Chronic Inflammation
Foods that combat chronic inflammation include:
- olive oil
- green leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale, and collards
- nuts, such as almonds and walnuts
- fatty fish, including salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- fruits like, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, tart cherries (not sweet ones), and oranges
The fruits and vegetables noted in the list above are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols.
Antioxidants and polyphenols both help prevent cellular damage from free-radicals that occur with pollution, smoking, eating rancid foods, and as a by-product of normal metabolism.
It is also thought that polyphenols contribute to the body being in an anti-inflammatory state, and associated with a lower risk of several chronic diseases.
Polyphenols include plant compounds such as quercetin, catechins, lignans, resveratrol, and curcumin.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that polyphenols are micronutrients that are abundent in our diet, and evidence is emerging as to their role in the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease.
If this micronutrient is abundant in our diet, then there should be less patient complaints to the physician of pain from chronic inflammation. And that would hold true, if an individual only ate a whole foods diet. But many do not, as they consume a diet high in processed and junk foods.
And that brings us to, the foods you should not eat to control chronic inflammation.
Foods That Inflame The Body
If you want to control your body's inflammatory response, you need to avoid or limit the following foods as much as possible:
- refined carbohydrates, like white bread, pasta, cakes and pastries
- fried foods
- any sugar-sweetened beverage, including soda
- red meat
- processed meat, such as hot dogs, sausage
- margarine, shortening, and lard
Scott Zashin, MD, clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas says that foods high in sugar can spur inflammation.
Zashin says that sugar causes over activity of the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.