Our bodies have a natural ability to fight off invading predators! The immune system protects us from microbes and illness every single day. This process of protection causes inflammation. There are foods that can cause inflammation too. Unfortunately, this can lead to chronic inflammation within our bodies. According to Harvard Health Publishing, chronic inflammation is the cornerstone for preventable diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. What foods cause inflammation? What foods calm inflammation? What we eat can truly affect how we feel.
Foods typically recommended to avoid such as high fat, processed, or calorically dense foods are the same foods that can cause chronic inflammation. According to Dr. Kielcolt-Glaser from the Department of Psychiatry at Ohio State University, these foods modulate pathways within us that increase physical, immune, and nervous system stress. Not only do these foods increase stress to our body but also decrease our body’s ability to properly protect us from harm.
These foods should not be eaten on a regular basis:
- Processed/Refined Foods
- Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, snacks, and pastries
- Processed meat, like hot dogs and sausage
- Saturated Fat
- Fried foods
- Margarine, shortening, and lard
- Too much red meat, like steak
Choose foods that are going to fuel your body, leave you feeling energized, and help to reduce inflammation. The latest research is telling us that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation can be found in the kitchen NOT the medicine cabinet. Following an anti-inflammatory diet can make a significant impact when it comes to reducing our risk for chronic disease. To reduce levels of inflammation, try to aim for an overall healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables. A similar eating plan would be the Mediterranean diet which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and healthy oils. Along with lowering inflammation in our bodies, Dr. Hu of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard states that following this kind of diet is also beneficial for improving mood and overall quality of life.
These foods should be eaten on a regular basis:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
- Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
- Unsaturated fats
- Olive oil
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds
- Heart healthy fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna