When your body experiences inflammation, it’s usually not the greatest thing – it can cause a range of unfavorable symptoms and it can result in chronic conditions. On the other hand, it does kick your body into high gear and stimulates healing when you are feeling sick or have been injured. Chronic inflammation that is a result of your diet can lead to an increased risk for diseases like diabetes and obesity, so it’s important to keep track of what you are consuming and pay attention to the effect it has on your body.
Here is a short list of the most common pro-inflammatory foods:
- Sugar and high fructose corn syrup, ingredients that are commonly found in many different foods, are a big culprit and cause continuous inflammation if consumed on a regular basis. Consuming a lot of sugar has been linked to diabetes, cancer, chronic kidney disease, insulin resistance, obesity, fatty liver disease and heart disease. Foods that are high in added sugar include chocolate, soda, cake, cookies, sweets, candy and certain cereals.
- Processed meat, like bacon, sausage, ham and beef jerky has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stomach cancer and colon cancer. Processed meat contains advanced glycation end products, which are known to cause inflammation.
- Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to severe problems and widespread inflammation that leads to organ damage. To avoid alcohol related health problems, limit your intake to two drinks per day for men, and one for women.
- Refined carbs found in bread, pasta, sugary drinks, candy and other processed foods raise your blood sugar levels and can significantly increase inflammation. This can increase your risk for obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.
One of the most powerful ways to combat inflammation is to follow a healthy diet, full of anti-inflammatory foods. In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural and less processed meal plan will offer many other noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health. Here are some anti-inflammatory foods to add into your diet to help you be your best and healthiest self:
- Berries are small, delicious fruits that are packed full of fiber, minerals and vitamins. Berries, like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have strong anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your risk of disease.
- Fatty fish, like salmon, anchovies, sardines and herring, are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. DHA and EPA can help reduce inflammation that leads to a wide range of health issues and diseases.
- Broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts, are highly nutritious vegetables that have been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. They contain sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines, which drive inflammation.
- Avocados are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats – making them a delicious superfood that protects against inflammation and reduces your risk of cancer.
- Green tea is one of the healthier beverages you can consume – it reduces risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, obesity and other conditions.
- Bell peppers and chili peppers are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, which have very powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
- Turmeric is a strong spice that has been proven to reduce inflammation that is related to arthritis, diabetes and other diseases.
- Cherries are juicy, delicious and rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins and catechins, which fight inflammation.
- Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium and lycopene. Lycopene is particularly beneficial for reducing pro-inflammatory compounds that are related to several types of cancer.
- Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can add into your diet. It’s rich in monounsaturated fats and studies have shown that consuming extra virgin olive oil can lead to a reduced risk for heart disease, brain cancer and other serious health conditions.
- Mushrooms, like truffles, Portobello and shiitake, are very low in calories and rich in selenium, copper and all of the B vitamins. To get the full anti-inflammatory power from mushrooms it’s best to eat them raw or lightly cooked.
- Dark chocolate is the best way to satisfy your sweet craving while boosting your health with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Flavanols are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects from chocolate that keep your arteries healthy. In order for dark chocolate to be considered “healthy,” it must contain at least 70% cocoa.
A diet isn’t always just for weight loss, often times when you embark on a weight loss program, you are working towards an overall boost in health. This lifestyle change is a long-term commitment to help you look better, feel better and be better. If you’re ready to take the first step towards a healthier, better you – then contact us to discuss your personal health goals!