Whether you already suffer from internal inflammation or are interested in preventing the diseases associated with it, committing to an anti-inflammatory diet is a great start towards getting and staying healthy.
I must say up front that the right diet to reduce inflammation is not a temporary thing. Most diets are formulated for you to lose a certain amount of pounds quickly so you can fit into that pair of jeans or just lose those extra pounds after the holidays.
Eating the good and avoiding the bad foods should be a lifetime goal towards keeping your body healthy. I’m not suggesting that you to never eat ice cream again. The idea is to change your diet over to more anti-inflammatory foods and less of the bad stuff. Yes, I still eat pasta, cookies, and pancakes. Life would be boring without them but I eat those foods less often than I used to.
Below is a list of the foods you should and shouldn’t have in your diet to reduce inflammation. It’s also worth mentioning that cooking with certain herbs for inflammation can also spice up your meals in a healthy way.
So, let’s go over the good foods to eat first:
- Protein: helps build muscle and healthy tissues. Lean poultry, beans, fish and nuts are all good sources. (notice the absence of red meat)
- Water: Drink plenty of water every day. It helps to flush out impurities that can build up in your body and cause inflammation.
- Fiber: Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are all rich in fiber. All of these help to fight inflammation.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: These inflammation reducing fats can be found in cold water fish or fish oil supplements, flaxseeds, walnuts and olive oil.
Now for the bad food:
- Meats: Avoid red meats and especially processed meats from the deli like bologna, salami and hot dogs. Also avoid any smoked or cured meats. These have nitrates in them that have been linked to breast and colon cancer.
- Sugars: Sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and inflammation. Try using natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and stevia.
- Trans fats: These fats found in most fried foods and baked goods, lower your good cholesterol and raise the bad stuff. This increases the risk of obesity and insulin resistance.
- Dairy Products: The reason I mention this is because over half of the U.S. population has some kind of sensitivity to them. Most people don’t even know that this is the cause of their digestive problems.
- Processed Grains: Most of the wheat used in baked goods on our store shelves has been stripped of the vitamin rich outer shell, leaving just the starchy insides.
One of the easiest ways to see whether a food is going to work for you or against you is to look at the label. Look for words like refined, enriched, and processed. The less “natural” a food seems to be, the higher the possibility that it’s going to be inflammatory.
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