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Help fight inflammation with these foods

EE Health shared in their Healthy Driven blog that Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting against injury or infection. But when it lingers or flares up in areas where it’s not needed, inflammation can be a problem. Chronic inflammation plays a part in heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and possibly even depression.

Some simple changes to your diet can help reduce inflammation, says Mary Gardner, RD, LDN, an outpatient dietitian at Edward Hospital added that dropping a few pounds also helps.

“Normally, when people have issues with inflammation, doctors will also recommend weight loss,” says Gardner.

There are certain foods that are more beneficial than others when fighting inflammation.

“Generally, if you include these foods in your overall healthy diet, then you can see some reduction in inflammation,” she says.

Some foods Gardner suggests eating include:

  • Fish. Pick fish that are rich in omega-3 fats, such as salmon, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and lake trout. Omega-3 fats help fight inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, especially fatty fish, at least two times a week. If you don’t eat fish, try taking a fish-oil supplement.
  • Greens. The greener, the better, so go for the spinach or kale instead of iceberg or romaine. Spinach is one of the more popular anti-inflammatory superfoods. Swiss chard is a colorful leafy green to add to your diet, and it is believed that the flavonoids found in Swiss chard work as antioxidants to help reduce inflammation.
  • Healthy fats. Think olive oil, avocados, and walnuts. The monosaturated and omega-3 fats found in these foods play an important role in combatting inflammation. But watch out, nuts can be high in calories so watch portion sizes. Still, nuts are a dense food and having a handful of nuts for an afternoon snack will help curb hunger.
  • Berries. Just about any berry will work. The pigments that give berries their color contain antioxidants to reduce inflammation. Berries also make a nice sweet snack that’s low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C.
  • Sweet potatoes. They’re rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Bake one up and use it as a side dish or top it with other anti-inflammatory foods, such as baked beans or broccoli, and make it a meal.
  • Beans. Filling and a great source of protein, beans also are a good source of fiber and contain polyphenols that work as antioxidants. Research suggests dry beans (like navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans) may also help prevent some types of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

 

Other foods to help fight inflammation include oranges, broccoli, and peppers. Certain spices such as ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are good to have on hand. Green tea is also a healthy drink to add to your diet.

Just as there are plenty of foods that can help in the fight against inflammation, there are also foods to avoid, Gardner says. Eliminating or cutting back on fried foods, sugary drinks, processed foods and refined carbs such as white bread is key to reducing inflammation and for overall health. Limiting dairy intake and meat is also beneficial.

Other common-sense measures such as exercising, drinking water, getting proper sleep, and portion control are important as well.

“You have to have the whole balance,” Gardner says.

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