Over the years, more and more research has come out in support of an anti-inflammatory diet for overall physical and mental well-being. Diets play an important part in the way people feel and many do not eat enough healthy foods thanks to the convenience of fast-food and food order services. Anyone who may be experiencing chronic inflammation may benefit from incorporating more anti-inflammatory plant foods into their regular diet.
If you are interested in learning about this topic in more detail, then you may want to check out some books about anti-inflammatory foods. Dr. Jyothi Rao is an integrative medicine doctor who has years of experience and knowledge about holistic integrative therapies. In Dr. Rao’s new book, found here, you can find more in-depth concepts about inflammation and disease and easy-to-make recipes to help get you started.
Inflammation and Chronic Illness
Inflammation is a natural response in the body, but it can sometimes get out of hand and cause a variety of health problems. Inflammation occurs when the body is attempting to protect itself from dangers, such as infections and viruses, and heal itself. When tissues are damaged due to something like a pathogen or a foreign body then the body will sense that it is being attacked and the inflammatory response is triggered. The damaged cells will release chemicals that cause blood vessels to leak fluids into the tissues, which is what causes swelling in order to keep the foreign substance from getting to other tissues. White blood cells are sent by the body, through the bloodstream, to fight and destroy the substance to prevent illness from setting in.
Chronic inflammation can happen when this response continues and the body starts to perceive its own cells and tissues as a threat. As chronic inflammation continues to affect the body then illnesses, like autoimmune diseases, can set in. According to Harvard Health Publishing, chronic, low-grade inflammation can lead to serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Inflammation is also thought to contribute to rheumatoid arthritis, depression, psoriasis, asthma, crohn’s disease, lupus, colitis, metabolic syndrome, thyroid disorders, and inflammatory bowel disease. While an anti-inflammatory diet will not completely cure you, it can noticeably lessen flare-ups and related symptoms. It can also help prevent future illness and problems.
Plant Foods that are Anti-Inflammatory
One of the most highly-recommended diets is the Mediterranean diet because of the health benefits associated with it. Research does support how the Mediterranean diet can reduce inflammation, which is linked to cardiovascular disease. This is due to its focus on plant-based foods, which include fresh fruits and vegetables, along with healthy fats and whole grains. Plant-based foods, in general, have incredible anti-inflammatory properties and should be included in any well-balanced diet. Here are some of the top anti-inflammatory plant-based foods that you should be consuming on a regular basis.
Berries: Eating a variety of berries provides you with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. While there are several types of berries, most people can find ones like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and blackberries at their local grocery store. Berries, especially blueberries, are filled with antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries, known to be a superfood, also help prevent cell damage and cancer, along with boosting memory and protecting against the signs of aging like cognitive decline. Berries are also low in calories but loaded with nutrients. There have been studies that the antioxidants found in berries can lower inflammatory markers.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are known for being healthy fats and contain good sources of fiber, magnesium, protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin E, and omega-3 fats. There are nuts and seeds that contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) which is an omega-3 that is known to be anti-inflammatory. The other types of nutrients, particularly vitamin E, that are found in nuts and seeds also contain anti-inflammatory properties. Some nuts and seeds you may want to start consuming are walnuts, peanuts, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pistachios. Consuming different nuts and seeds can help with issues such as arthritis.
Green Vegetables: Eating leafy green vegetables and other green veggies can play a significant role in reducing inflammation in the body. Kale has been hailed as a superfood for a number of years now, as it is loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients like vitamin A, folate, and omega-3 fatty acid. Spinach is another good leafy green to incorporate into your diet. Some other vegetables you should be eating are broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. These types of vegetables have been linked to a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Broccoli is especially good to eat because of the amount of antioxidants it has and it’s a good source of fiber, which is definitely something that people do not get enough of from their diets and is super beneficial for gut health.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms grow all over the world and there are thousands of different types of mushrooms, although only so many are actually known to be safe to eat and grown for commercial consumption. Mushrooms are a great source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Some of the most popular mushrooms are portobello mushrooms, white button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, beech mushrooms, and maitake mushrooms. Mushrooms are filled with phenolic acids and other types of antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory in nature. Phenolic acids are easily absorbed by the intestinal tract and prevent damage to the cells. This compound also promotes anti-inflammatory responses in the body. Mushrooms are also considered to reduce the risk of serious health conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.
Avocados: This vegetable is rich in potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and much more. Avocados provide a high proportion of your daily need for B6, which is a nutrient known for fighting inflammation. They are also particularly high in fiber and help promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. This helps fight off inflammation in the intestine, which can help with issues such as Chron’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. The good bacteria that avocados supply can possibly prevent colon cancer in the long term. The vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber can also help fight off cardiovascular disease by increasing HDL cholesterol, which is the good kind of cholesterol.
Foods to Avoid
The best diets include fresh and simple foods and cut out as much processed foods as possible. Adding a variety of colors to your plate can really help get you more of the vitamins and nutrients that you need. There are so many health benefits of eating foods that fight inflammation, so here is a list of foods that you should attempt to avoid, if at all possible:
- Processed meats and red meat
- Sweets and sugary foods
- Soda and other drinks high in sugar
- Butter, dairy milk, and cheese
- Fried foods like fried chicken, french fries, fried cheese sticks, fried fish, and so on
- Coffee creamers, half and half cream, and heavy whipping cream
- White bread and other highly processed breads
- Foods that contain trans fats
Remember to check out Dr. Rao’s new book, linked here, so you can read more about food that helps fight inflammation and the associated health benefits.
Don’t Forget to Give Us a Call
If you are interested in integrative medicine, which combines conventional medicine and holistic therapies, and healthcare that focuses on your individual needs call Shakthi Health and Wellness Center today! Dr. Jyothi Rao is a highly skilled and experienced physician who can effectively evaluate your symptoms and optimize your body’s vitality. Call (301) 703 – 5067 and speak to our concierge staff to schedule your appointment today.