Inflammation contributes to healthy immune system function by creating increased blood flow, capillary dilation, and white blood cell activity.1 When an injury or infection is recognized, the affected area will become red, warm, painful, and swollen as a result.
Chronic inflammation can develop when the immune system becomes overactive as a result of continuous environmental and dietary challenges. Studies are revealing that chronic inflammation is linked to many modern chronic and debilitating diseases.2
The Inflammation Theory of Disease
Many health care practitioners are becoming convinced that inflammation is an underlying cause of most diseases, leading them to directly address and seek to prevent this condition through the use of foods rich in antioxidants and dietary supplements.
Research has established a link between inflammation and:
• Heart disease
• Allergies and asthma
• Type 2 diabetes
• Alzheimer's disease
• Arthritis and joint disease
Can Certain Foods Reduce Chronic Inflammation?
Certain foods can reduce inflammation and are part of the recommended anti-inflammatory diet. In general, these foods have antioxidant properties and detoxifying effects, are rich in nutrients, and regulate hormone activity. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation. The Mediterranean diet pattern is a prime example, featuring olive oil, fish, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.1
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Properly washing fresh produce and choosing organic foods as much as possible will limit your exposure to inflammatory chemicals. Some foods cause increased levels of inflammation, including foods high in omega-6 fatty acids. You should limit these known culprits and usual suspects when moving to an anti-inflammatory diet pattern:
• Processed meat
• Sugary beverages
• Fried foods
• Processed snack foods
• Refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar
• Trans fats, margarine, shortening, and vegetable oils"
Foods That Reduce Inflammation
Shifting to a diet that features anti-inflammatory foods and adding nutritional supplements when needed will reduce your risk of inflammation and chronic disease and may improve the symptoms of existing conditions. These foods feature high levels of natural antioxidants and polyphenols, which are protective plant compounds:
• Raw cacao, dark chocolate
• Green and black tea, coffee
• Spinach, kale, and collards
• Almonds, flaxseed, pistachios, pine nuts, and walnuts
• Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
• Strawberries, cherries, acai berry, and oranges
• Blueberries, blackberries, dark red grapes
• Turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and maca root
• Tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower
• Beans and lentils
• Red wine, in moderation
• Avocado and coconut
• Olives, extra virgin olive oil
• Supplements including vitamin C, vitamin E, prebiotics, and probiotics
Foods That Cause Inflammation for Certain Individuals
Some individuals have sensitivities to foods, resulting in an inflammatory response. Avoiding these foods for 4-6 weeks and gradually reintroducing them may show if they are an issue for you.
Common food sensitivities include:
• The nightshade family of plants, including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes
Dairy, especially products which are not cultured (yogurt may be more tolerable than milk)
Integrative Therapies Provide the Greatest Benefits
Addressing your dietary triggers, stress levels, and chronic pain as part of a complete wellness program will have the greatest impact on your well-being and resistance to disease. With lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, nutritional supplements, and chiropractic care, you can optimize your immune system function and achieve your wellness goals.
At McCann Family Chiropractic, we offer chiropractic and massage therapies to reduce the pain and stiffness associated with inflammation as part of an integrative diet and lifestyle program to prevent and treat chronic disease. Come visit with us and find out how well you can feel when all of your systems are in optimal balance.
11605 State Avenue, Suite 111
Marysville, WA 98271
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