Inflammatory Foods: Can Your Diet Cause Pain?
Inflammation of any part of your body is your immune system’s response to an infection, injury or irritation. Localized swelling, redness and pain are the usual warning signs and symptoms of inflammation. Now we’re learning that foods we eat can contribute to a similar inflammatory response!
While we usually think of inflammation as something outside the body, inflammation inside the body can cause strokes, heart disease and a variety of other ailments. Nicholas Perricone, MD, author of a number of anti-aging books, proposes that inflammation may well be the force behind premature aging. He and other researchers believe that widespread inflammation is largely the result of our diet and may be the main factor in the rise of a number of degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s. If your diet consists mostly of foods cooked at high temperatures (most “fast food” falls into this category) and foods that are high in sugar and hydrogenated or refined oils (potato chips, margarine and baked goods), you are more likely to be experiencing inflammation.
What types of foods should you eat to combat inflammation? Dr. Perricone and others recommend:
- Fruits, such as apples, berries, fresh pineapple, lemons, limes
- Vegetables, such as onions, tomatoes, greens (spinach, broccoli, kale), bell peppers, garlic
- Spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, basil, mint, parsley, rosemary
- Nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds
- Fish, such as halibut, salmon, sardines, oysters
- Olive oil
- Beverages, such as green tea, black tea, red wine and lots of water!
- Dark chocolate
Fortunately, we can control inflammation in our body by watching the foods we eat. Try to introduce at least one anti-inflammatory food into every meal. Many quickly notice relief from some of the symptoms that have been bothering them. Plus, as an added bonus, they’re better able to maintain a healthier weight!