The diets of most people in the United States include far too many inflammatory foods. Consuming these foods ultimately leads to increased chronic illness, allergies, exacerbation of various ailments and weakening of the immune system. Understanding the benefits of a healthy diet, especially one that is filled with anti-inflammatory foods, will lead to many positive changes, including less inflammation throughout the body, lower cholesterol, better mental and emotional functioning and better weight management.
What are Inflammatory Foods?
Foods that are considered inflammatory and that should be avoided are often foods that are processed and contain polyunsaturated vegetable oils (including peanut oil and sunflower oil). This ingredient will increase the amount of GLA (gamma lineolic acid) in the body which is an omega-6 fatty acid that can increase a person’s susceptibility to inflammation, allergies and chronic conditions.
- Cooking oils
- Commercially producted meats
- Artificial colors and dyes
- Refined grains
- Trans fats
- Chemical additives
- Any specific food that a person is found to be allergic to
While certain foods on this list are not necessarily considered to be specifically “bad for you,” like eggs, dairy products or wheat, these particular foods can be quiet culprits when it comes to health problems, as they are often allergens for sensitive people.
Removal of some or all of these inflammatory and allergy-causing foods can result in noticeable health improvements.
Some people have actual diagnosed conditions that are recognized to be food allergies (e.g., celiac disease), while many others who experiment with elimination of some of these inflammatory foods will find many benefits. Adults may have better digestion and improved immune systems. Children may have fewer behavior problems, better attention skills, and better social skills when their diet is free from these allergy-inducing foods—whether or not a specific food allergy has been identified.
Negative Effects of Inflammatory Foods
While a true food allergy can be life threatening, the effects of consuming inflammatory foods can be more subtle, but can build up over time, causing chronic problems. Signs of a true food allergy or serious reaction would include tingling in the mouth or throat, hives, swelling of the face or mouth, wheezing, serious abdominal or chest pain, dizziness or fainting.
Anti-inflammatory foods tend to cause problems including digestive issues, headaches, skin conditions, aches, joint pain, fatigue, overall malaise, and weight gain.
The effects of these toxic processed foods can be vague; however, removal from the diet can result in a body cleansing effect that leaves anyone feeling healthier, more energetic and having fewer chronic health problems overall.
What are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
Anti-inflammatory foods are foods that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin c, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Fish and flax seeds are excellent sources of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Regular consumption of anti-inflammatory foods can help balance the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Certain types of fish (halibut, herring, salmon and cod)
- Certain vegetables (spinach, broccoli, squash and brussel sprouts)
- Certain fruits (blueberries, oranges, papayas and apples)
- Certain nuts, seeds and grains (walnuts, brown rice, flax seed, oatmeal and almonds)
- Certain oils (avocado oil or virgin olive oil)
Benefits to Anti-Inflammatory Foods
A diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods will lead to overall better health, better energy, improved sleep cycles, better digestion, better weight management and fewer problems related to allergies. There are certain foods that are known to increase the possibility of allergies and immune system problems, and, while not every person is sensitive to these foods, those with chronic health issues should carefully consider limiting or eliminating these foods from the diet. Some will realize significant health improvements after removal of anti-inflammatory foods from their diet.
You can reduce inflammation in your body by consuming higher amounts of anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation comes from some sort of injury or insult to the body—including infection, trauma, heat and toxin exposure. These types of exposures of incidents will cause specific reactions in the body, such as the release of histamine and prostaglandins. These substances are released as a protective reaction in the body to help prevent further problems. Unfortunately, the release of these substances also causes other symptoms in the body, including allergy symptoms.
Consuming inflammatory foods, and foods with high glycemic content will result in these unhealthy conditions in the body. Glycemic foods are foods that are high in sugar. When a high amount of sugar is consumed, insulin is released. Insulin is another inflammatory agent when found in high amounts in the body. Anti-inflammatory foods can help neutralize insulin, and help decrease the amounts of insulin released. This is another way that these healthy foods can slow or prevent inflammatory processes.
Consider removing any inflammatory foods from your diet to improve your health. Adding anti-inflammatory foods to any diet can lead to major health benefits! Protect your body by nourishing it with what it needs—healthy foods, proper rest and adequate amounts of exercise.