What is inflammation and why do we need to worry about it?
Inflammation is a key component of the body's natural healing system. It is the normal response to injury or irritation. It serves to bring more blood and immune activity to an injured area and is characterized by signs of swelling, redness, heat and pain.
It would be great if inflammation would stay where it was needed but unfortunately if it is misplaced, prolonged or occurring in inappropriate places, it becomes a problem for the body.
Inflammation may be the cause of many chronic diseases. Arthritis, asthma, heart disease, Alzheimers, fibromyalgia and Crohn's disease are just a few examples of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Often, people take medications like ibuprofen and aspirin to decrease inflammation, but they are not without side effects. Research has shown that things other than drugs can decrease inflammation too. Many, we have control over, such as our stress levels, how much we exercise, and how we eat. All of these can affect inflammation, and certain diets and food choices are more likely to decrease pain and other symptoms of disease.
10 Diet Basics to Decrease Inflammation
It may take six-eight weeks to notice a decrease in symptoms, but they will occur.
The following is a list of dietary steps to take to decrease inflammation in the body.
1. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Buy organic produce if you can. Emphasize the anti-oxidant rich fruits such as berries (black, blue, raspberries, strawberries), red grapes, and cruciferous vegetables such as the cabbage family.
2. Add sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fishes (wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, black cod, sablefish) or pharmaceutical grade fish oil. Add olive oil, flaxseed or flaxseed oil, nuts (raw/unroasted) and organic fortified eggs (with DHA).
3. Decrease animal sources of calcium. Calcium citrate supplements with vitamin D added are a good idea.
4. Use only whole grain foods, breads, rolls, and cereals. They should also be low in sugar.
5. Add beans, legumes and seeds as protein sources.
6. Decrease animal meats. Use only lean cuts or hormone free varieties.
7. Add cooked mushrooms, avoid raw mushrooms.
8. Add organic white tea, green tea or oolong tea daily. Tea has great anti-oxidant properties.
9. Red wine has anti-oxidant properties. Add only after consulting your physician.
10. Add dark chocolate. Look for organic varieties with 70-73% cocoa content.