Inflammation is a natural reaction by your body to protect it and help it heal. When you have a sudden injury, illness, or infection, your immune system is triggered to produce extra white blood cells and immune cells to fight the problem. This acute inflammation is normally brief and beneficial.
Chronic inflammation is persistent, low-level inflammation that occurs as your body reacts to ongoing factors including stress, obesity, lack of sleep, environmental toxins, and poor diet. It is linked with chronic illnesses including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The key to fighting chronic inflammation is through an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, with diet being one of the most important aspects. Improve your diet by reducing or eliminating the foods that trigger inflammation while increasing those that are anti-inflammatory.
Foods that Cause Inflammation
- Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta, and white rice
- Fried foods
- Junk food and fast food
- Sugar-sweetened drinks
- Processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, and deli meats
- Processed snacks and desserts like chips and donuts
- Saturated fat and processed seed and vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil
- Excess alcohol
Foods that Fight Inflammation
- Dark leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens
- Spices like turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger
- Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- Green tea, coffee
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage
- Cocoa, dark chocolate, and red wine in moderation
In addition to eating anti-inflammatory foods, make sure to get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and find ways to reduce stress.