It is often believed by many people that inflammation is swelling on any part of the body. However, this is what one is able to see externally, but it is much more than that. Inflammation can even be internal on any organ of inside your body, such as liver, lungs, etc. Inflammation is basically your body’s way of telling you to protect itself from diseases, infections and various injuries. Your immune system gets activated when your body gets to know about harmful chemicals that might lead to inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process and may stay for a long period of time, resulting in chronic inflammation. This may cause serious diseases such as Alzheimer's, arthritis, depression, cancer and cardiovascular conditions.
Chronic inflammation might be the cause of excessive smoking, alcohol and obesity. In fact, an individual's diet routine also contributes towards inflammation in your body. Several lifestyle factors like stress and less exercise lead to chronic inflammation, as the immune system releases chemicals that are supposed to fight various infections and illnesses. There are certain foods that act as natural anti-inflammatory. Whereas, there are also some foods that you should avoid to reduce inflammation. By making simple changes in your diet, you can improve your overall health easily. You can treat chronic inflammation, which will further help in preventing serious health problems. An anti-inflammatory diet is known for being healthy and nutritious. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dietician Arushi Gupta, Associate Dietician, Dayanand Medical College and hospital, Ludhiana, to know more about the foods one should eat and avoid to reduce inflammation.
Foods That Reduce Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory diet is like a normal healthy diet plan that is specifically made to prevent or reduce chronic inflammation that leads to many health problems. It focuses on making a person eat fruits and vegetables, and to avoid foods like red meat and fried. According to Dt. Arushi, foods that fight inflammation are:
Fish are a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. You should include fatty fish in your diet as it is a beneficial anti-inflammatory food. Omega-3s fatty acids, which is an essential nutrient is specifically found in fish. It is not only beneficial for overall human health but can also help in reducing inflammation. So, you can rely on this food item to prevent and reduce inflammation.
Avocado have an extremely tasty buttery texture and has a nutty smell, and is liked by many people. In fact, this fruit is also known as nature's butter. And, if we puree 1 cup of avocado, we get 253 grams of Omega 3 fatty acid. Besides this, it also has lots of vitamins, minerals and carotene which help in reducing internal as well as external inflammation. Moreover, avocados contains many mono unsaturated fatty acids, and it should be included in our daily diet.
3. Green tea
Green tea is one of the most famous and healthy beverages that people drink almost everyday. It is natural and offers a wide range of health benefits, including quick weight loss as well. Green tea leaves are full of antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties that very beneficial for your health. This herbal tea can help in preventing serious health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer's and even cancer. Basically, green tea contains a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that helps in reducing inflammation. You can easily buy green tea from markets or online.
4. Whole grains
High-fiber whole grains also help in producing fatty acids that are good to handle inflammation, so you should consume these as well. Anyone who is already from any disease due to inflammation is also suggested to have whole grains such as whole wheat, whole oats, barley and rye. Incorporating these in your diet can help in reducing and preventing inflammation easily and faster than other natural foods.
5. Green leafy vegetables
Even green leafy vegetables can help in reducing the risk of inflammation related diseases. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage and even beans are rich in Vitamin K and are very important as they have a very high antioxidant level, which helps in decreasing both internal and external inflammation.
Inflammatory foods to avoid
Along with some anti inflammatory foods that one should eat, there are also inflammatory foods to avoid like sugary and fried food items. Getting on a healthy diet and avoiding some foods will improve your health and reduce inflammation related health risks. As per Dt. Arushi, here are the inflammatory foods you should avoid:
1. Red meat
Even doctors firstly advice not to consume red meat, if you are suffering from an inflammation related health problem. You should eat less red meat and the products of saturated animal fats. Consuming too much red meat can trigger the build-up of arachidonic acid which is inflammatory and can increase the risk of many diseases. Red meat has a lot of saturated fats and should be taken in very small amounts.
High sugar content food items such as cookies, biscuits, ice cream, sodas and cold drinks are unhealthy more than being nutritious. Consumption of excess sugar leads to several health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Sugar also triggers inflammatory response in your body and many experts advice you to cut down on these foods to protect yourself and stay healthy. It is a toxic food and should be avoided as much as possible.
3. Dairy products
Dairy products such as heavy cream, butter, whole milk and cheese should also be avoided as they contain high amounts of trans fat and cholesterol, which causes inflammation. Many dairy products aren't considered anti-inflammatory and should not be consumed if already suffering from any inflammation causing disease.
4. Fried foods
You should also try and avoid oily foods or heavy diets, fast food, as they are also not anti inflammatory. These are fried in vegetable oil, which is a major trigger of inflammation. These foods can instantly lead to inflammation symptoms and out you at a risk of developing several health problems. A proper balanced and nutritious diet is important for recovery from any inflammation related disease. Fast foods contain a lot of calories, trans fats and sugar. Therefore, you should prefer cooking food at home in a different healthy oil like corn oil, instead of french fries.
5. Vegetable oils
Instead of using vegetable oil, you should try and use other cooking oils like safflower oil, corn oil or peanut oil to prevent and help with inflammation as they contain Omega-3 fatty acids but vegetable oil is not a healthy option to cook your meals. If you don't avoid this oil then you will be at a greater risk of getting inflammation related diseases and it can also be a trigger for any other medical condition.
So, this is the anti inflammatory diet that you can follow to prevent and reduce inflammation by Dietician Arushi. You can have to consume some foods, while avoid others if you are combating any inflammation health problems already. You can take your dietician's suggestion on the consumption of these foods. Just by maintaining a balance of all the nutrients in your diet, you can protect yourself from many diseases.
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