When we think inflammation, I’m guessing you picture a swollen sprained ankle or maybe an allergic reaction of some sort.
Now, think about your gastrointestinal system or your joints. Did you know that inflammation can exist there as well?
Many times inflammation is helpful to protect us from infection or injury by sending response cells to the affected area, resulting in swelling, redness, and pain.
Those things are natural and a healthy immune response!
However, sometimes there are underlying conditions that don’t allow the immune system to work as it should. This can lead to inflammation that lingers or is recurrent.
This can occur due to various diseases or conditions such as autoimmune disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, etc.
And believe it or not, research shows that diet can have a lot to do with managing inflammation.
Incorporating the following foods can be beneficial for everyone! However, individualized eating plans are the key – you’ll have to eat in a way that is helpful for your unique body.
Talk to your doctor or nutritionist before you change your diet drastically and if you have any questions!
What does an anti-inflammatory diet look like?
An anti-inflammatory diet looks to unprocessed, whole foods like fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
And although they can be the downfall of your diet, processed foods, red meats, and alcohol are usually the items to stay away from.
We will look at some of the foods that should help with inflammation, so you know what to include in your meals to reap the biggest benefits.
If you’re looking for a more structured diet or meal plan, take a look at the ins and outs of the Mediterranean diet here!
Focusing on fresh foods, this eating plan naturally steers people to many plant-based foods that are great sources of antioxidants.
From this article, we know why antioxidants are so important to our bodies, largely for how they defend against disease-causing free radicals. What’s more, the damage to cells caused by free radicals actually increases the risk of inflammation.
So whether you choose to follow a concrete diet plan like the Mediterranean diet or simply add more of the fruits and veggies that will do your body good to your plate, we’ve got you covered.
Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, these foods can put you on the right path to reducing inflammation in your body!
Berries, grapes, and cherries all contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties that may lessen your risk of disease.
The cool thing about these fruits is that they not only reduce existing inflammation, but they also train our cells to respond better to future inflammation!
According to this study, adults with extra weight who ate strawberries were found to have lower levels of certain inflammatory markers associated with heart disease.
These little fruits may help to reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale are all jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Meanwhile, leafy greens help to keep our stomach pH at a healthy level and keep the microbes in our gastrointestinal system in the healthiest state!
It strikes again! When you think of avocado, you have a lot of good things to think about. And now add healthy fats that reduce cholesterol and calm inflammation of the joints to the list.
We need these good fats for energy, blood clotting, and limiting inflammation among other things.
High in vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants, this little red globe holds impressive anti-inflammatory properties.
One study found that drinking tomato juice significantly reduced inflammatory markers in women with excess weight.
Foods to Avoid
While we are adding more nutritious, antioxidant-rich foods to our diet, it is also important to limit our intake of foods that actually promote inflammation.
Foods such as:
- Junk foods: fast food, potato chips, pretzels
- Refined carbs: white bread, pasta, white rice
- Fried foods: french fries, donuts, tempura rolls
- Sugar-sweetened drinks: soda, sugary coffees, energy, and sports drinks
- Processed meats: bacon, salami, hot dogs
By limiting these foods, and upping your intake on some of the tasty, healthy fruits and veggies mentioned above, you can help naturally reduce inflammation — because you have enough going on without that slowing you down!