Combat Inflammation through Diet
by Silvia Navas
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural healing response; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens – and begin the healing process. As part of the immune response, acute inflammation is normally present in the body at low levels. A few examples of acute inflammation include acute bronchitis, infected ingrown toenail, sore throat from a cold or flu, a scratch/cut on the skin, exercise (especially intense training). Prolonged or chronic inflammation happens over several months to years and it can have a negative effect the body’s tissue by thickening and scaring connective tissue and cause death of cell or tissue. Examples of chronic inflammation are rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis, and hay fever. Other factors that can ignite chronic inflammation are stress, lack of exercise, and exposure to toxins, therefore a healthy inflammation response needs to be supported.
How to promote a healthy inflammation response
You can support a healthier immune response by eliminating pro-inflammatory foods and adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Pro-inflammation foods include refined sugars and foods with high glycemic index because they increase insulin levels and put the immune response on high alert. Diets high in Omega 6 (canola oil) with a low ratio of omega 3 can also increase inflammation. A high carb/low protein diet may also contribute to a higher inflammation response, but you will need to listen to your own body’s needs to adjust the carb/protein ration that is right for you. Common allergens like casein and gluten are quick to spark the inflammatory process.
So what are these superfoods?
Fortunately, there are anti-inflammatory foods that can help the body manage inflammation, plus they’re so delicious too. Fresh fruits, berries, and veggies (cooked & raw) – they are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Go for a wide range of colors to get a full spectrum of antioxidants. Healthy fats such as fish or fish oil supplements, nuts, avocados, flax seeds, flax oil, and olive oil are rich in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats (omega-3) have powerful anti-inflammatory action. Omega-3 fatty acids, especially those coming from fish sources, help your overall heath and your heart too, by curbing inflammation in the blood vessels as well as from the rest of your body.
Herbs and spices that have been traditionally been used to support a healthy inflammation response as well as longevity: Turmeric, Ginger, Clove, Black Pepper, Green tea, Holy basil, and Rosemary. These herbs have been revered for their ability to quench free radicals and support overall health and wellness. You start by incorporating more fresh herbs in your foods, not only will they be good for your body, but will also add so much more flavor to any dish. Spice like turmeric and ginger can also be added to dishes or to fresh juice for a little more zest!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.