anti-inflammatory diet meal
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Inflammation in the body isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, inflammation is what helps our body fight off many illnesses and protect our body from harm. The problem occurs when inflammation becomes a chronic condition that is induced unnecessarily. For this kind of scenario, an anti-inflammatory diet can make a world of a difference in being able to fight inflammation naturally.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a defense mechanism of the body as a response to any irritants, pathogens, or damaged cells. Inflammation protects the body from further harm and tries to fight off whatever is harming it in the first place. In short, inflammation is our body’s way of protecting and healing itself.

Sometimes, inflammation can become chronic, meaning it lasts for at least several months and becomes a long-term condition. This is usually a result of a few different scenarios:

  • The body can’t seem to fight off whatever pathogen has entered the body, therefore, inflammation continues to occur.
  • The body mistakes normal tissue for a pathogen and tries to fight it, such as the case of autoimmune disorders.
  • There is some kind of consistent irritant that is upsetting the body, such as dust, pollution, or certain foods that bother the body and are persistently consumed.

Inflammation Symptoms

If you are experiencing chronic inflammation, you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Chest Pain
  • Fever
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Rash
  • Joint Pain

Symptoms can vary among individuals. Some individuals experience multiple symptoms at once, while others may only experience one or two symptoms of inflammation.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

While there are anti-inflammatory medications in the form of pills and steroid injections, an effective natural remedy for inflammation is to take up an anti-inflammatory diet.

An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on eliminating processed, sugary foods and replacing them with nutrient-rich, whole foods. Foods that contain refined sugars are swapped out, and instead, foods that are abundant in fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants are incorporated.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Foods to Eat

Some healthy foods that are suitable for an anti-inflammatory diet include:

  • Dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale
  • Blackberries, cherries, and blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Green tea
  • Avocado
  • Coconut
  • Olives
  • Nuts (walnuts, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts)
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Dark chocolate

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Foods to Avoid

In general, nutrition-dense, whole foods tend to be recommended for an anti-inflammatory diet. Foods that are highly processed or contain added sugar are not. Some of the foods you should avoid include:

  • Processed meats
  • Sugary drinks, juices, and soda
  • White bread
  • White pasta
  • Trans fats
  • Gluten
  • Vegetable oil or soybean oil
  • Processed snack foods like chips and crackers
  • Desserts like cookies, cakes, candy, and ice cream
  • Too much alcohol
  • Too many carbs

Tips for Starting an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

If you’re new to the diet, it may be an adjustment to avoid certain foods, especially if you have a sweet tooth or love carbs. When you’re starting the diet, it’s best to begin by coming up with an anti-inflammatory diet meal plan.

Make a shopping list full of fresh produce and ingredients that are recommended for the diet. Come up with recipe plans for the week so that you’re more likely to stick to the diet and not come up scrambling for dinner ideas mid-week. The more prepared your fridge and pantry are, the less likely you will be to reach for foods that can flare up your inflammation and irritate your body.

If you think you may be experiencing signs of inflammation, speak with your doctor and a nutritionist about figuring out what is causing your inflammation and what the best solution is. Sometimes, inflammation in the body is linked to more serious conditions that need to be assessed and overseen by a doctor.

References

Fletcher, J. (n.d.). Anti-inflammatory diet: Food list and tips. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320233.php
 
Nordqvist, C. (2017, November 24). Inflammation: Causes, symptoms, and treatment. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php