Inflammation definitely gets a bad rap, but that’s not always a bad thing. If you have a wound such as a cut, your body uses inflammatory cells to come to the rescue and help you heal. Unfortunately, chronic inflammation can occur when your body acts as if there is an injury to heal even when there isn’t one. If left untreated, it can contribute to things like heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
Chronic inflammation is most commonly caused by autoimmune diseases, but researchers have also found that heavy alcoholism, obesity, and smoking can also lead to it. While reducing inflammation requires more than a single solution, making changes to your daily diet can have a huge impact.
Learn more about some changes you can make to your eating habits to reduce inflammation. And for tips on healthier eating, check out 5 easy ways to lower cholesterol.
When it comes to reducing inflammation, making sure you’re getting enough key nutrients is key.
“Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and antioxidants,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our board of medical experts. “Antioxidants help fight free radicals (aka the bad ones) that cause cell damage and contribute to inflammation. The more products you eat, the more you provide your body with the ‘ingredients’ it needs to fight inflammation and stay healthy. and strong. Add vegetables to scrambled eggs or use them as a ladle for hummus and guacamole, and see how many colors you can have on your plate in the evening! Then use fresh fruit as an alternative to desserts at snack time. “
Constant and heavy consumption of added sugars over time is known to lead to inflammation in the body. To help with this, Goodson suggests using more natural sweeteners in your daily food routine.
“Fruits like Medjool dates, berries, and even 100% pomegranate are great ways to naturally sweeten your morning or post-workout smoothie,” says Goodson. “Not only do they satisfy that sweet craving, but they also provide antioxidants and other nutrients that help fight inflammation. Plus, if you mix the whole fruit, you also get fiber, which promotes a healthy gut and a healthy heart.”
Another change you can make in your daily life to avoid inflammation is to reduce your fried food intake.
“Fried foods provide the body with a lot of saturated fat which, when consumed consistently, can help increase total and bad cholesterol as well as inflammation,” says Goodson. “Swapping fried meats for grilled alternatives, fried side dishes with fruit bowls, and chips with whole wheat crackers can help reduce saturated fat intake, ultimately helping fight inflammation.”
Replacing saturated and trans fats with healthier fat sources like salmon can significantly help reduce inflammation, but some experts say choosing the right type is important.
“Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation,” he says Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, founder of There was A Pumpkinit’s a author of cookery books. “Farmed salmon typically has higher contaminants, which could worsen inflammation, which is why I always recommend looking for salmon outside Alaska to make sure it’s wild-caught.”
There are some types of oil that can subtly increase inflammation over time. So Michalczyk sticks to avocado or olive oil.
“Olive and avocado oils contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory, while other oils such as canola oil, corn oil and soybean oil can lead to inflammation over time,” says Michalczyk. . “Reading ingredient labels and replacing inflammatory oils with anti-inflammatory oils is an easy swap. Olive oil is best at low temperatures for cold dishes like salads, while avocado oil is great for roasting things like. vegetables at high temperatures “.
To get enough omega-3s into your day, Michalczyk suggests adding some avocado to your dishes when you can.
“Adding avocados to the foods you already eat is an easy way to reduce inflammation because avocados contain healthy, anti-inflammatory and monounsaturated fats,” says Michalczyk. “It’s good for everyone because they also contain other beneficial vitamins and minerals.”