Here are the go-to foods for an anti-inflammatory diet.
If you’ve ever sprained your ankle at the gym and watched the joint balloon in size, or burned your hand on the stove and noticed how red it became, then you’ve experienced inflammation. The swelling and redness are your body’s natural protective responses and the first step on the road to healing.
But there’s another kind of inflammation with a darker side. Called chronic inflammation, it occurs when your immune system mistakenly thinks it’s being attacked — sending off a wave of white blood cells to battle the invaders. With no real injury or infection to fight, the antibodies these cells produce have nowhere to go, so they accumulate in your body as inflammation. This inflammation is believed to contribute to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, Alissa Rumsey, RD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explains to Yahoo Health.
Here’s where your diet comes into play: Evidence continues to grow showing that certainfoods play a role in promoting this immune response. “Refined carbs found in packaged snacks and processed items, as well as foods and drinks with added sugar, are linked to chronic inflammation,” says Rumsey. Red meat and dairy products may also contribute to inflammation, she says, possibly due to the grain and antibiotics often fed to cattle. Not only will avoiding these starchy, carb-heavy, sugary products help you dodge chronic inflammation, but eating foods known to have anti-inflammatory properties can lower your disease risk and boost overall health. It’s not yet clear exactly how much you have to consume to get the protective benefits, so just start loading your plate with these delicious, nutritious inflammation-fighters today.