Use your search engine or explore a local bookstore, and you’ll find a wide variety of anti-inflammatory diet books. This eating approach is promoted to reduce everything from heart disease to asthma, and often requires you to make drastic changes in your eating pattern. What if you could make a few easy modifications that had a significant impact to your health?
It is helpful to understand inflammation and its effects in your body. Inflammation occurs as a protective response to injury; this is a normal immune response and part of our healing process. Unfortunately, chronic inflammation occurs when the response continues and begins damaging healthy tissues, arteries, or joints, and can result in increased risk for health issues such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cancer, digestive disease, lupus, and cardiovascular disease. There is also current research supporting the idea that inflammation of the brain contributes to plaque buildup and memory problems, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Lifestyle factors that can aggravate inflammation include high blood pressure, excess weight, stress, smoking, and of course, diet. An anti-inflammatory diet, or nutrition plan, consists of whole foods high in antioxidants, dietary fiber, and beneficial fats. Here is what it should include:
It is also important to reduce dietary factors that make inflammation worse. These include refined carbohydrates, added sugars, sodium, trans fats, saturated fats, processed meat, and omega 6 fats found in vegetable oils, salad dressings and processed foods.
So, about those few easy changes I mentioned earlier.
Try a simple change each week and eventually you’ll be eating an anti-inflammatory diet!
As seen in the Fort Collins Coloradoan
Melissa Wdowik, PhD, RDN, LDN, FAND
is a nutrition educator with over 20 years experience as a college professor, nutrition coach, presenter and writer, as well as a nutrition consultant and founding director of the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center.