Reduce Inflammation in the Body: An Anti-Inflammation Diet

April 7, 2010

Chronic Inflammation in the body is attributed as a cause or factor in many illnesses, and many times you’ll hear about reducing inflammation in the body as a key to being healthy. However, inflammation is a natural and helpful reaction of the immune system; it’s how your body responds to pathogens, as well as injured and dying cells, initiating healing. The bottom line, then, isn’t to fight inflammation as an evil, but to support the overall health of your body and strengthen your immune system so that it reacts more efficaciously, reducing the time of inflammation in the body.

Diet, as always, is one of the key steps to good health, and an anti-inflammation diet isn’t that different from a normal healthy diet. For example, when you hear about a low fat diet, it’s not just referring to weight loss (although inflammation has been associated with obesity, and is even being considered in relation to insulin resistance, and by extension, diabetes, so try to maintain a healthy weight with exercise and a low calorie diet). Eating a low fat diet also means (and perhaps more importantly means) avoiding “bad” fats, namely, trans and saturated fats, which are found in processed foods and some meats. One of the reasons these fats are bad is that they contribute too much Omega-6 to our diet. While you need some Omega-6 to initiate inflammation, too much can contribute to chronic inflammation. Try to reduce the amount of Omega-6 you consume and increase the amount of Omega-3 (ideally, obtain a 1:1 ratio). Omega-3 both competes with Omega-6 for those inflammation-triggering spots, and is anti-inflammatory itself. You can find Omega-3 in walnuts and some fish, or take a supplement specially designed with the right proportions.

You can also replace “bad” fat oils with “good” fat oils such as olive, walnut, and grape seed oils. Note, however, that these have lower smoke points and aren’t ideal for cooking–they do, however, make for tasty salad dressings.

Further, make sure that you are getting all your vitamins and minerals with a diverse diet. Vitamin A deficiency, for example, leads to more inflammation. If you’re worried about your diet, supplement it with a multivitamin.

Other dietary considerations include avoiding too much processed sugar, eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. In an anti-inflammation diet you should also consider avoiding nitrates, which can contribute to inflammation and are found in processed meats such as hot dogs.

Inflammation is linked to our skin’s aging process; tea, especially white tea, is a great source of anti-oxidants and white tea is even linked to slowing our skins aging.

Supporting your stomach’s immune system can also help, try probiotics, which increase the number of good bacteria in you digestive tract, helping to keep out bad bacteria and toxins that can cause a number of gastrointestinal illnesses.

Consult your doctor if you have severe signs of inflammation, or an infection, as you may need further treatment.

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