Helpful Acute Inflammation
Believe it or not, inflammation is at times a good thing. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to help heal itself. When your body experiences sickness, an infection, or a wound it sends immune cells, nutrients, and other helpful molecules to destroy any intruders help itself heal. We have all experienced this type of acute inflammation as swelling, redness, and pain as our bodies work to heal themselves when we get a cut, scrape, or sore throat.
Harmful Chronic Inflammation
As with anything, too much of a seemingly good thing can be bad or downright detrimental. Many people experience chronic inflammation such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and others. In these cases, inflammation can be damaging due to the over stimulation of pro-inflammatory immune cells to healthy areas of the body, not to mention daily pain and irritation. These wrong signals say that inflammation is needed when it is not or long after the reason in gone. Over time, chronic inflammation can drain the body of energy and resources, thus leaving it vulnerable to other diseases. There has been a modest amount of data to suggest that chronic inflammation can self-perpetuate into heart disease, cancer, asthma, bronchitis, depression, and diabetes. The good news is, chronic inflammation can easily be treated by a doctor. However, as with anything, a healthy diet and lifestyle go hand in hand with any medical treatment.
Looking for a few simple ways to reduce inflammation? Look no further!
DO Incorporate Omega-3 Fatty Acids into your diet
Did you know not all fat is bad? Well, omega-3 fatty acids are amongst the best. They are essential fatty acids that are important for brain function and normal growth and development. When it comes to inflammation, omega-3s can lower markers of inflammation in the blood and can help the body know when to stop inflammation. Some omega-3 rich foods include fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout. For vegetarian options, go with nuts and seeds like walnuts, pecans, flaxseed, and chia seeds.
DO Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants
An antioxidant is a molecule that stops the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can cause the body to produce free radicals. These free radicals can cause more chain reactions that can damage cells, possibly leading to inflammation. Antioxidants can stop or repair tissue or cell damage caused by oxidation. Look for foods that contain antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotene, lycopene, and flavonoids. There are plenty to choose from: lentils, beans, whole grains, avocados, beets, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and moringa, berries, and spices like ginger and turmeric. If you’re looking for a great anti-inflammatory beverage option, try our moringa hot chocolate or moringa vanilla spice latte recipes!
DON’T Eat Too Many Pro-Inflammatory Foods
Although it seems self-explanatory to go for eat anti-inflammatory foods and stay away from pro-inflammatory foods, it is important to recognize what exactly those pro-inflammatory foods are. Foods high in unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fats and added sugar are the most important to be aware of as they not only may perpetuate inflammation, but contribute to heart disease and other diseases in their own right. Other pro-inflammatory foods include refined carbohydrates such as white rice, white potatoes, white bread, red meat, and deep-fried foods.
While your body needs some inflammation to help repair and heal itself, many people suffer with chronic inflammation that can make daily tasks painful and increase the risk for many diseases. Knowing how food can decrease inflammation is a helpful tool to making anti-inflammatory eating easy.