Food & Inflammation
by Clare Wood
Inflammation is the body’s response to injury or infection. There are medical treatments to reduce inflammation after injury or illness, which may be recommended by your doctors. However, think about the fact that eating certain foods can also help in relieving inflammation in two ways:
1. Anti-inflammatory foods
Certain foods you eat can help to reduce the body’s inflammatory response
Anti-inflammatory foods when eaten regularly can actually reduce inflammation and help you recover more quickly from injury. Ensure to eat plenty of these foods:
- Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids
- Fish like tuna, cod, herring, oysters, trout, salmon, sardines, snapper
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds/linseeds.
- Good oils like olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil (be careful of the amount of oil you are eating – as they are still high in fat!!)
- Fish oil supplements can also be taken if you don’t eat fish.
- Green leafy vegetables
- A range of colored fruits, but particularly berries, like blueberries and strawberries
- Soybeans, tofu, and soy milk
- Whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta
- Green tea
Nutrients are less effective when isolated. Consume a variety of whole foods, whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. This gives your body all the nutrients needed to help create balance and help prevent inflammation.
2. Pro-inflammatory foods
Eating the wrong foods can cause inflammation within our bodies
Pro-inflammatory foods will increase inflammation and may increase your pain from the inflammation. The following foods can often make inflammation worse. So avoid:
- Junk foods and processed foods
- Fast foods and take-away foods
- High-fat dairy foods like full cream dairy products – choose low fat options
- Fatty cuts of meat, especially red meats, mince and chops
- Processed meats (luncheon meats, hot dogs etc)
- High-sugar foods
The unhealthy fats; trans fats and saturated fats, are mostly to blame for the negative effects of these foods. Read food labels to find out where these bad fats are found.
Processed meats such as luncheon meats, hot dogs and sausages contain chemicals such as nitrites that are associated with increased inflammation.
- Preventing illness with diet
- Athletes and Immunity - the Role of Nutrition
- All about reading food labels