Avoid or Reduce Inflammation: It?s Possible

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Inflammation Reduction FoodInflammation is the body’s response to infection, injury or irritant. It has been linked to many serious diseases, including heart disease, stroke, many cancers, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Avoid Constant Inflammation: Behavior

It’s possible to avoid or at least reduce the inflammation in your body by making certain behavioral choices. For example:

  • Eat an abundance of foods that fight inflammation
  • Stop smoking
  • Exercise
  • Shed unwanted pounds
  • Rule of thumb: Eat the foods your ancestors ate!

With no convenience stores, fast-food joints, or snack foods available, the bulk of what our ancestors ate was found in nature — things like plants, vegetables, and fruits.

Our ancestors also consumed far less animal protein than we do now, and much of it came from fish and wild fowl rather than red meat.

Avoid Constant Inflammation: Nutrition

Choose foods that prevent inflammation, like:

  • Fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Choose green and brightly-colored fruits and vegetables. Think berries, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and squash. These should take up ½ your plate at each meal.
  • Moderate amounts of healthful fats and oils. Examples include olive oil, canola oil, and avocado.
  • Nuts and seeds are sources of both healthful fats and plant protein. Try walnuts, almonds, pecans, and flax seeds
  • Lean proteins like fish (salmon is a great choice), poultry (no skin), beans, and tofu are all great inflammation-fighters.
  • Whole grains. Try brown rice and bulgur wheat in place of refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice.
  • Low-fat and fat-free dairy. Include yogurt and milk.
  • Spices and herbs (fresh and dried). Consider ginger, cinnamon, and curry.
  • Beverages like water, sparkling water, and herbal teas.

Avoid foods that promote inflammation, like:

  • Saturated fat. Cut back on red meat, especially high-fat and processed meats like sausage, bacon, and deli meat.
  • Full-fat dairy products.
  • Refined/processed foods.
  • Trans fats. Stay away from deep-fried foods and bake, broil, road, poach, or stir-fry your meals instead.

By Lenore Shamah, MS, RD

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