Inflammation and Diet
Chronic inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological degeneration.
Foods and eating patterns can have a significant impact on inflammation. Research indicates that diets high in refined starches, sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats and low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids may increase inflammation. Whereas, dietary patterns rich in plant foods, whole foods, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and healthy proteins may help lower inflammation.
Use the following tips to help reduce inflammation:
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Aim for 5-9 servings per day. Be sure to include antioxidant containing berries, cherries, apples, cranberries and citrus fruits. Also include antioxidant containing vegetables such as asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, green beans, peppers, kale, spinach, green peas, onions and squash.
Choose whole grains and high-fiber carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and cereals, oats, quinoa, brown rice and pasta, barley, bulgur and millet.
Add flavour to foods with antioxidant containing herbs and spices such as garlic, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, peppermint, basil, parsley, rosemary, sage cilantro and turmeric.
Consume fatty fish at least twice per week. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, cod, halibut and sardines contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower inflammation.
Include plant proteins weekly. These include beans and legumes such as chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans and lentils; nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios; seeds such as flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts; and soy foods.
Consume a moderately low amount of meats and poultry. Limit portion sizes to 3-4 ounces. Have meatless meals – or days – throughout the week.
Use healthy fats such as those found in olive oils, nuts, seeds and avocados.
Limit your intake of processed and refined foods.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes at least 5 days per week.
If you smoke, quit.