By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good. One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. If you choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. We at Mood Food Organic Catering would like to share foods that cause and fight inflammation (from health.harvard.edu) to improve your health and well-being:
Foods that cause inflammation
Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
· refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
· French fries and other fried foods
· soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
· red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
· margarine, shortening, and lard
The health risks of inflammatory foods
Not surprisingly, the same foods on an inflammation diet are generally considered bad for our health, including sodas and refined carbohydrates, as well as red meat and processed meats.
"Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation," Dr. Hu says. "It's not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases."
Unhealthy foods also contribute to weight gain, which is itself a risk factor for inflammation. Yet in several studies, even after researchers took obesity into account, the link between foods and inflammation remained, which suggests weight gain isn't the sole driver. "Some of the food components or ingredients may have independent effects on inflammation over and above increased caloric intake," Dr. Hu says.
An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:
· olive oil
· green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
· nuts like almonds and walnuts
· fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
· fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
Benefits of anti-inflammatory foods
On the flip side are beverages and foods that reduce inflammation, and with it, chronic disease, says Dr. Hu. He notes in particular fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens that are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols—protective compounds found in plants.
Studies have also associated nuts with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Coffee, which contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, may protect against inflammation, as well.
To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you're looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.
In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health. "A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life," Dr. Hu says.