Low-grade chronic inflammation is a major contributor to development of various diseases. There are medical conditions which lead to chronic inflammation, like arthritis, for instance. To help reduce inflammation, one can stick to a healthy diet designed to alleviate symptoms, as well as bring other benefits, such as energy and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.
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Changing your eating habits could be a good idea, especially if you suffer from a disease that maintains inflammation processes in your body. One of such diseases is rheumatoid arthritis. It does not mean that if you follow an anti-inflammatory diet, symptoms will go away for good – it’s not a magic cure. Still, switching your preferences towards healthier foods that could reduce the symptoms associated with your condition can result in fewer flare-ups and less pain.
Actually, anti-inflammatory diets are as mainstream as they can be: they imply eating foods recommended by any dietician who has at least some knowledge about nutrition, including fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, fish, and herbs. That being said, there is nothing “medical” about it, so even if you do not have any inflammation-driving disease, you can benefit from it too.
Among the diseases the symptoms of which an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce are the following: arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, asthma, obesity, heart disease, etc. Note that if you have any of such conditions, it is recommended that you consult your doctor first, as every individual may need an individual diet.
Here are several tips on how to design your menu to make it as anti-inflammatory as possible. If you are nutrition-savvy, you will notice that all these foods are found in the good old Mediterranean diet, which is reported to be able to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Opt for fish species rich in omega-3s, as consumption of these fatty acids is associated with lower levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein, which are related to inflammation processes. It is recommended that you buy wild fish, not farmed, as farmed fish is not so beneficial. Avoiding tilapia could be a good idea, as the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio there is far from being optimal.
Serving size: eat 3-4 ounces of fish twice a week.
Recommended fish species: salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, and some other cold-water fish.
Veggies and fruits are part and parcel of every healthy diet. It’s almost impossible to eat too much, as they are low in calories (except for potatoes, the consumption of which should be limited) and rich in nutrients. Go for any fruit or vegetable you like, but make sure your other diseases (if you have some) do not impose any restrictions. For instance, those who take warfarin should limit intake of foods rich in vitamin K, such as kale and spinach. It does not mean you should avoid them–they contain too many vitamins and antioxidants to be rejected!–and staying consistent with your diet could solve the problem.
Serving size: 2-3 cups of vegetables and 1-2 cups of fruit per every meal.
Recommended foods: berries (the brighter the better), cruciferous veggies, tomatoes, etc.
Eating nuts may seem to be a nightmare for some ladies, as they are rich in calories, but they are also highly beneficial. Monosaturated fats, fiber, and proteins make nuts one of the integral parts of any healthy diet.
Serving size: 1.5 ounces per day.
Recommended nuts: walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and hazelnuts.
You cannot get rid of the symptoms by means of a diet alone, but eating healthy foods can help you relieve them, as well as bring other health benefits.