Combating Inflammation with the Right Foods

Inflammation is a term that most people associate with an injury, and the swelling that may occur after. The issue, unless serious, is usually self-treated with an ice pack and a self-affirmation to be more cautious next time. What many people might not know is that inflammation also occurs in many parts of the body that cannot be seen and often goes untreated, or ignored, and can lead to serious health problems. Inflammation (swelling), which is part of the body’s natural healing system, helps fight injury and infection, but it doesn’t just happen in response to injury and illness.

While the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers trusts its patients to take care of inflammation from minor injuries, they understand that most people would benefit from some simple tips to learn more about internal inflammation, and how to reduce health problems and illnesses caused by inflammation. Reducing inflammation offers improved heath and can help reduce risk of chronic disease, with the benefits enjoyed mostly through changes in the diet. The following are ways to reduce inflammation:

Change Up Your Diet

A great way to combat inflammation comes from eating more fruits and vegetables and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the best sources of omega-3s is found in fish, such as salmon, cod and tuna as well as tofu, walnuts, flax seeds and soybeans, grapes, celery, blueberries, garlic, olive oil, tea and some spices such as ginger, rosemary and turmeric.

The Mediterranean diet offers excellent anti-inflammatory benefits with its focus on fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limits on unhealthy fats such as red meat and butter, as well as refined sugars and processed carbohydrates.

Build meals around lean proteins and whole foods high in fiber, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat bread. Check the labels and ingredients of prepared foods and make sure that “whole wheat” or another whole grain is the first ingredient. Recipes and tips for smart foods can be found on the Comprehensive Cancer Centers Blog.

Foods to Avoid to Lower Risk of Inflammation

As one integrates healthy foods that lower risk of inflammation, cutting down or completely avoiding foods may also decrease the risk of chronic inflammation.  Avoid white foods, such as white bread, rice and pasta, as well as foods made with white sugar, flour and high fructose corn syrup.

  • Sugary beverages: Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and sport drinks
  • Refined carbohydrates: White bread, white pasta, etc.
  • Desserts: Cookies, candy, cake, and ice cream
  • Processed meat: Hot dogs, bologna, sausages, etc.
  • Processed snack foods: Crackers, chips, and pretzels
  • Certain oils: Processed seed and vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil
  • Trans fats: Foods with partially hydrogenated ingredients

Get Active to Lower Inflammation Risks

Make time for at least a half hour or 45 minutes of aerobic exercise and weight or resistance training at least four to five times per week. Ancillary benefits from being active include weight loss, as those who are overweight tend to have more inflammation. Exercise also reduces stress, which contributes to inflammation.  Good low impact exercises for stress reduction include yoga, walks and focused mediation.

Additional Benefits of Anti-Inflammation Lifestyles

Making simple dietary changes and adding exercise routines to your lifestyle not only reduces inflammation, it also provides a number of additional benefits including better sleep, improvement of symptoms of arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, lupus and other autoimmune disorders. An active, healthy lifestyle also decreases risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and depression. Reduction in inflammatory markers in your blood are also found in improved blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, as well as a general improvement in energy and mood.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with cancer, breast health conditions, pulmonary disease and sleep disorders. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.