After testing and measuring your body for inflammation, it may be common to look toward medication for treatment. Often overlooked, and one of the most powerful treatments to combat inflammation is not from the pharmacy, but instead from the grocery store. Focusing on eating nutritious foods can have a positive effect on chronic inflammation.
This month Dr. Gray and her team are focusing on the effects of nutrition on inflammation in their 2023 Inflammation Series.
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Eating a diet that is high in inflammatory foods can accelerate the drip of chronic inflammation. It’s important to understand what foods you should avoid:
- Refined Carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, pastries, rice)
- Fried Foods
- Soda and Sugary Beverages
- Processed Meats (hot dogs, sausage)
- Margarine, Shortening, or Lard
- Processed Snack Foods
- Processed Oils (seed oils like soybean and corn oil)
- Glutamate (processed foods like salad dressings, ketchup)
Unhealthy foods that are high in saturated fats are more likely to increase your risk of inflammation. Additionally, highly processed foods and foods with trans fats may be inflammatory.
When it comes to eating meats, make sure to look at the diet of the type of meat you’re purchasing; pasture-raised and grass-fed are always the best choices. For fish, eating farm-raised fish is the best option. With any food choices, try to stay close to natural sources with less processing. For processed foods, look for foods with 5 ingredients or fewer. Keeping all these factors in mind when grocery shopping can help benefit your body from chronic inflammation.
Health Risks of Inflammatory Foods
While most people may not notice most signs of eating inflammatory foods, the slow drip can turn chronic. When left untreated, inflammatory foods can lead to chronic inflammation and life-threatening diseases, including:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
Foods That Fight Inflammation
While inflammation can occur due to a variety of triggers, you do have control over factors like nutrition. What we eat can help fight inflammation, so it’s best to consume a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods.
To help keep inflammation down, it’s important to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Fruits and vegetables contain natural components and healthy fats, like monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, are all foods that can help protect our bodies against inflammation.
Some additional anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Green Leafy Vegetables
- Almonds and Walnuts
- Fatty Fish
- Bell Peppers and Chili Peppers
- Dark Chocolate
- Spices like Tumeric, Cinnamon, Fenugreek
- Green Tea
- High-Fat Fruits like Avocados and Olives
In order to be consistent with an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s important to focus on overall healthy eating rather than labeling food as “good” and “bad”. Keeping in mind how food makes you feel and the changes in your body when eating nutritious foods can make a difference in living a healthier lifestyle with less inflammation.
Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet has been proven to reduce inflammatory markers in the body. Consuming a variety of these anti-inflammatory and nutrient-dense foods can not only reduce inflammation but can also:
- Improve symptoms of arthritis, lupus, and other autoimmune disorders
- Decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, and other diseases
- Better blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels
- Improve energy and mood
While it’s important to eat whole nutritious foods, it’s not the only factor that impacts chronic inflammation. It’s just as important to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and maintain healthy body weight. Keeping in mind all of these factors, along with eating a healthy diet, will have noticeable benefits on your physical and emotional health and overall inflammation.
Do you have any questions about your body’s inflammation and developing a plan that’s right for you? Dr. Gray is working with a limited number of people on her proven Inflammation Program. To learn more, email Dr. Gray directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you miss last month’s blog that focused on Testing and Measuring Inflammation? Check it out here!