Chronic inflammation increases your risk for serious diseases and contributes to a range of symptoms:

  • Body pain
  • Constant fatigue and insomnia
  • Depression, anxiety, mood disorders
  • Constipation, diarrhea or acid reflux
  • Weight gain
  • Frequent infections

An anti-inflammatory diet is one way to manage these symptoms. There are four main strategies:

  • Replace trans fats, omega 6 fats and saturated fats with omega 3 and monounsaturated fats.
  • Boost fiber intake with whole and sprouted grains along with fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat more antioxidants and phytonutrients by increasing fruits and vegetables.
  • Balance your blood sugar by eating carbohydrates, protein, fat and phytonutrients at meals and as snacks.

You may be wondering what foods you should eat. Anti-inflammatory foods to eat include:

  • Cold water fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and romaine lettuce
  • Yellow, orange and red vegetables
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards  and radishes
  • Citrus fruit and berries
  • Flaxseed (and flax oil), hemp, chia and other seeds
  • Avocados, olive oil, walnuts and other nuts
  • Black and green teas
  • Onions, garlic, herbs and spices
  • Fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut and yogurt

These are the foods contributing to inflammation that you should eat less often:

  • Foods with trans fats, hydrogenated and refined oils, oils high in omega 6 such as corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, peanut, safflower, soy and sunflower) and foods fried in oil
  • Foods with a long shelf life such as chips and crackers
  • Red meats and processed meats
  • Refined grains, starches and sugars
  • Artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors

 

Contributed by PWC’s Integrative Dietitian Nutrionist Jena Savadsky Griffith. If you would like more information about chronic inflammation, including measures you can take to reduce inflammation, Jena may be reached at 540-431-2397 or jsgriffith@culpeperwellness.org.

(Source for symptoms information: StatPearls, Chronic Inflammation)