It is not very pleasant, but inflammation is actually a very helpful and useful reaction, when it occurs naturally. It is the way in which our bodies provide injured or infected areas with the cells and nutrients needed to make a recovery.
It is also a not so subtle way to tell us that we should take things easy and give our bodies the time it needs to repair itself. After all, without the pain and swelling we would simply continue on with life as if nothing is wrong, complicating the healing process.
When It Is Not A Good Thing
Unfortunately, inflammation is not always a good thing as the food that we consume can also cause rogue inflammation. When this happens, we experience pain and swelling in areas where there is no physical reason for inflammation to be present.
Thankfully, the odds of this happening can be decreased by sticking to a healthy diet. By following these six tips you can protect your body from experiencing unnecessary inflammation.
1. Scale Back On Red Meat
Due to its high cholesterol and salt content red meat is not exactly an optimal source of protein. Studies have found that there is a link between red meat intake and biomarkers of inflammation which means it is better to turn to other protein sources.
A healthier alternative to red meat is fatty fish, such as salmon, bass and mackerel. In fact, studies have shown that people who suffer from pain and inflammation due to conditions such as arthritis experience positive results when switching to fish. Examples of red meat include beef, lamb, ham, pork and other cuts from pigs.
2. Keep Your Omega Fatty Acid Intake Balanced
A diet containing too much omega-6 fatty acids can cause an imbalance in our bodies and ultimately lead to chronic inflammation. It also increases the risk of other health issues such as allergies, asthma, arthritis and diabetes.
Limiting the amount of processed foods we eat can help with this issue, but scaling back on deep fried foods and opting for low-fat or fat-free dishes will also yield significant improvements. Eating more fatty fish can also help balance your intake because they contain omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Switch To Healthy Oils
Some types of oils such as sunflower, cottonseed, safflower, mixed vegetable and soy are laden in omega-6. Substitute these with oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as extra virgin olive oil instead.
Wheat germ, hemp and flax oil are also good alternatives, but remember to consume these in moderation. The extra virgin olive oil can be used in cooking as well as on salads. It is a bit of an acquired taste, but fish oil is another great choice for fighting inflammation.
4. Don’t Skimp On The Fruits And Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are not only a healthy and tasty option, but also come loaded with antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory substances. A great way to cut back on processed snack foods is to opt for cherries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, blueberries and tart cherries instead.
In fact, according to researchers, tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory content of just about any food! Make sure to eat your fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible as they will not only taste better, but be more potent as well.
5. Take Time Out For Tea
Taking a relaxing tea break is not only a great way to unwind, but can also help fight inflammation. It is not just any tea that will provide you with this benefit, though, only green tea. This tea is able to decrease the risk of cancer as well as heart disease and is just as good as vegetables when it comes to its anti-inflammatory properties. Once again, it is a bit of an acquired taste, but you can add some lemon juice for added flavor. Green tea can also be enjoyed hot or cold.
6. Be Careful With Wheat, Dairy And Sugar
A surefire way to end up with chronic inflammation is to ignore sensitivities and intolerances to food. Since wheat and dairy are two of the biggest triggers for these types of conditions, it makes sense to be careful around them.
Anyone with gluten sensitivity or who suffers from lactose intolerance will know that consuming wheat or dairy messes with their immune system. Refined sugars are another big culprit, so say no to sugary treats between meals as these will cause surging blood-sugar levels.
By combining these food tips with a healthy, balanced lifestyle you will be able to beat back the risk of inflammation. It requires some dedication and sacrifices, but it is well worth the effort.