Making healthy changes to your diet can be extremely beneficial even if you’re not experiencing any health issues. It’s no secret that the typical American diet is rife with foods that typically cause a significant amount of inflammation. Simple changes to your diet can reap amazing benefits.
Types of Inflammation
Inflammation can either be acute or chronic and is a normal, short-lived response to infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation is a result of increased blood flow, greater blood vessel permeability, and the accumulation of white blood cells in the body. This can lead to pain, swelling, redness, and heat.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is the long-term physiological response to exposure to environmental toxins, a microbial or viral infection, stress, poor nutrition, and aging. Chronic inflammation can happen when mechanisms of acute inflammation fail to fight off an infection or heal an injury. When this happens a series of destructive reactions are generated that damage cells and eventually lead to the clinical symptoms of chronic inflammation.
Finding Pain Relief Through Nutrition
Making changes to your diet to eliminate inflammation can go a long way in warding off further damage but can also create a healing environment to support repair. Here are 10 ways foods can reduce inflammation:
Cut Down on Drinks Filled With Sugar
Stay away from drinks such as juice, soda, and punch. If you really like the flavor of these drinks, you can add small amounts of cider, fruit juices, or wedges of lemon or orange to plain water to enhance the flavor.
Cook With Olive Oil Instead of Butter
This can be used when cooking on the stovetop and can even be used to make salad dressings. Virgin olive oil is typically the best choice because it has more antioxidants than refined olive oil.
Eat Sweet Potatoes Instead of White Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have more vitamins than white potatoes. They are also delicious when baked with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.
Eat More Lentils and Beans
Lentils and beans are high in protein, which means they can serve as a substitute for red meat. Red meat can cause inflammation so eating lentils and beans will allow you to get your serving of protein, but without the inflammation.
Eat More Fatty Fish Like Salmon
Eating a fatty fish such as salmon two to three times a week will help you increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Wild salmon typically has more omega-3s than farmed salmon.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
You should aim to eat four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables every day. Try to choose fruits and vegetables that are dark green, orange, yellow, and purple since these tend to have the greatest nutritional value.
Snack on Nuts Instead of Chips
Instead of reaching for a bag of chips when you want an afternoon snack, try to snack on some walnuts. They provide fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and the kind of fatty acids that are good for your heart.
Cut Down on Fast Food
Most fast food is cooked in oils that contain trans fatty acids that can increase inflammation. If you find yourself having to eat at a fast food restaurant, try to order a grilled chicken salad or sandwich with some vinaigrette dressing.
Stick With Dark Chocolate and Raspberries for Dessert
Both of these are loaded with antioxidants, so they are a better dessert choice than cookies or a slice of cake.
Eat More Whole Grains
Replacing refined grains with whole grains is a good way to reduce inflammation. Oatmeal is a good breakfast cereal that has lots of whole grains. Substituting brown rice for white rice is also a good way to increase your intake of whole grains.