The term "anti-inflammatory diet" gets thrown around in nutrition conversations a lot these days. But why is inflammation bad for us, anyway? And what does food have to do with it?
Inflammation is a part of your body's normal response to infection or injury. It's when your damaged tissue releases chemicals that tell white blood cells to start repairing. But sometimes, inflammation is low-grade, spread throughout the body, and chronic.
This chronic inflammation can do damage to your body. It can play a role in the buildup of plaque in your arteries that can up your risk of heart disease and stroke. It's also associated with a higher risk of cancer, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
The choices you make at the grocery store can have an impact on the inflammation in your body. Scientists are still unraveling how food affects the body's inflammatory processes, but they know a few things.
Research shows that what you eat can affect the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP)—a marker for inflammation—in your blood. That could be because some foods like processed sugars help release inflammatory messengers that can raise the risk of chronic inflammation. Other foods like fruits and veggies help your body fight against oxidative stress, which can trigger inflammation.
The good news: Foods that are anti-inflammatory tend to be the same foods that can help keep you healthy in other ways, too. So eating with inflammation in mind doesn't have to be complicated or restrictive.
Eat more plants. Whole plant foods have the anti-inflammatory properties that your body needs.
Focus on antioxidants. They help prevent, delay or repair some types of cell and tissue damage.
Eat less red meat. Red meat can be pro-inflammatory. Are you a burger lover? Aim for a realistic goal. Try substituting your lunchtime beef with fish, nuts or soy-based protein a few times a week.
Cut the processed stuff. Sugary cereals and drinks, deep-fried food, and pastries are all pro-inflammatory offenders. They can contain plenty of unhealthy fats that are linked to inflammation. But eating whole fruits, veggies, grains and beans can be quick if you prep ahead for multiple meals.
Anti-Inflammatory Agent: Anti-inflammatory agents are powerful, natural agents that can help reduce inflammation or swelling in the body. These compounds have anti-inflammatory abilities: Turmeric, Vitamin C, Gingerol and Capsaicin.
Together, healthy lifestyle habits, nutrient-rich foods, and premium supplements can help keep you active and enjoying life to the fullest.