Learn more about what inflammation actually is, what an anti-inflammatory diet looks like, and get a few healthy anti-inflammatory recipes in this guide!
I feel like the words “inflammation” and “inflammatory” are everywhere.
Whether it’s an article talking about ways to reduce chronic pain or health claims for food products, we all seem to be in search of ways to reduce inflammation in our bodies.
But what actually is inflammation? And what foods help reduce inflammation in the body? Let’s take a look!
Despite sounding scary, inflammation is actually an important process as it’s part of the body’s natural defense mechanism.
While there’s a much more precise, scientific explanation for what happens, the general gist is that when something potentially harmful is in the body (like a virus or toxin), the immune system (specifically white blood cells) acts to remove the substance and start the healing process.
This is known as acute inflammation, and it’s associated with symptoms including heat, pain, redness, and swelling. While it can be severe, acute inflammation generally only lasts for about two weeks.
In summary, acute inflammation is important for keeping us healthy.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is when this acute response morphs into a more low-level, lingering inflammatory state.
This can happen for several reasons, including:
And overtime, being in a constant state of inflammation can damage healthy cells, organs, tissues, and even our DNA.
Okay, enough doom and gloom. Let’s talk about lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce levels of chronic inflammation in your body:
So, when we’re talking about an anti-inflammatory diet, this includes eating more foods that can help protect against and fight chronic inflammation due to their content of antioxidants and/or healthy fats, especially monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids.
Now, an anti-inflammatory diet is going to look a bit different for every individual. Especially as some individuals may have food allergies or intolerances to foods that would otherwise be perfectly healthy to enjoy.
But here’s a general idea of the types of foods to focus on for helping reduce and protect against chronic inflammation.
Red wine and dark chocolate are also rich in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Of course, if you don’t drink, there’s no need to start.
So is it okay to have these foods every once and awhile? Absolutely. The focus should be on eating MORE whole, minimally processed foods.
However, if you have an actual allergy or intolerance to a certain food, such as lactose-intolerance, then definitely put it on your “do not eat” list.
Want to start making more anti-inflammatory recipes? Below are a few to get you started with!
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