Is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Right for You?

By: Community Health Associates

Are you troubled by chronic health conditions like skin problems, allergies, endometriosis, celiac disease or rheumatoid arthritis? If so, you might benefit from talking to your primary care physician about starting an anti-inflammatory diet.

Inflammation: Why it’s a Problem

Inflammation is a completely normal, and typically welcome, factor in the human body. If a foreign body such as an allergen invades your body, for example, inflammation occurs to help eliminate the threat. However, when inflammation happens consistently and not in the presence of a threat, it becomes a problem. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of health problems, like arthritis, diabetes, depression and even cancer.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

To fight inflammation in the body, primary care physicians suggest eating less inflammatory foods and more anti-inflammatory foods. Anti-inflammatory foods are great sources of essential vitamins, nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytochemicals that minimize the effects of inflammation. Find out which foods to subtract and which to add below.

What to Avoid

Foods that promote inflammation in the body include those that are considered bad for health in general. These foods are overly sweet, salty, greasy, highly processed or refined. Eat less of the following foods:

  • Refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta
  • Processed, sugary cereals
  • Trans fats from fried foods like French fries
  • High-calorie, sugary beverages like soda
  • Refined snack foods like crackers and cookies
  • Desserts
  • Excessive alcohol (Excessive meaning anything more than 1 drink a day for women, and more than 2 drinks a day for men).
  • Excessive red meat
  • Processed meat like hot dogs
  • Margarine and vegetable shortening

What to Eat

Foods that fight inflammation in the body include those that are whole and nutrient-rich. Try eating more of the following:

  • Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach and collard greens
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower
  • Berries like blueberries and raspberries
  • Nuts and seeds like walnuts and pumpkin seeds
  • Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit
  • Other fruit like tomatoes, avocado and pineapple
  • Antioxidant-rich vegetables like beets and celery
  • Omega-3 rich fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring
  • Anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, cinnamon and ginger
  • Anti-inflammatory herbs like rosemary and thyme
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Even if you aren’t struggling with a serious health condition, you can still benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. Chronic inflammation increases your risk of illness and disease, and it contributes to premature aging. Combating inflammation helps enhance your overall health and wellness.

If you’re interested in starting an anti-inflammatory diet or would like more information, call us at 203.270.1077 to schedule an appointment with your CHA physician.