There are two types of inflammation. Most of us are familiar with the acute inflammation which results in pain and redness around the site of an injury, infection, or irritation. But did you know inflammation can become chronic? More recently researchers have been studying the link of chronic inflammation to obesity, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and many other diseases. This research has shown promising results that diet may play a role in reducing inflammation therefore lowering the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Chronic inflammation is a physiologic response which can last weeks, months, and even years. Factors which can lead to chronic inflammation include smoking, poor sleep, poor nutrition, microbial or viral infection, and stress. When untreated, chronic inflammation can result in damaging of cells and can eventually lead to symptoms of disease.
What can you do to reduce inflammation and lower your risk for disease?
- Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake (salmon, avocado, walnuts, flax seed)
- Reduce saturated and trans fat intake (beef, pork, cheese, cookies, candy)
- Increase vitamin C intake (citrus, tomatoes)
- Consume vitamin E rich foods (nuts, seeds, vegetable oils)
- Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (Check out my recipes)
- Add probiotics to your diet daily (kefir, yogurt)
If you are looking to follow a meal plan, I suggest the Mediterranean diet which includes several anti-inflammatory components.