Filed under: Beans, Chronic Disease, Dairy, Fruits, Grains, Healthy Lifestyle, Meat, nuts, Oils, Vegetables | Tags: anti-inflammatory diet, inflammation
You’ve probably heard something in the past couple of years about “inflammation.” About how this mysterious force can somehow lead to such health problems as cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, digestive problems such as IBS, and other ills. So what is it exactly, and how can we avoid it?
Inflammation is a necessary immune response to infection or trauma, and is a good thing when it occurs in connection to problems like sprained ankles or if we eat a contaminated food and become sick. But stress, lack of exercise, and eating unhealthy foods on a regular basis–foods that contain chemicals, additives, damaging fats, and refined sugar, for instance–can lead to chronic low-level inflammation in our bodies, which results in slowly damaged organs, poor functioning of our organ systems, and rapid aging.
In addition to exercising regularly and better controlling our response to stress, the best way to prevent chronic inflammation is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. In broad strokes, here are the main tenets to follow:
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. Make these foods the largest percentage of your food intake each day. The more colorful, the better. And lots of berries!
Replace refined white flour with whole grains.
Eat beans instead of meat at least some of the time.
Eat healthier fats. Olive oil, fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados are all excellent.
Drink tea. Green, black, and white tea are all good. Snapple doesn’t count.
Use herbs and spices. There is no reason that healthy foods need to be bland. Such common flavor enhancers as garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are great for cooling inflammation.
Realize that chronic digestive problems might indicate a food sensitivity. If you regularly eat foods that your body cannot tolerate, your body will be inflamed.
And as always, if you need help in making these types of recommendations a part of your day-to-day reality (because having information does not always translate into change in our lives), you can always contact me to set up a free consultation, and we will discuss how I can support you in transforming your health and your life.