Inflammation is the body’s immune response to attacking illnesses, infections, and injuries. Most consider this response to include swelling, pain, and redness. Studies have linked increased risks of chronic diseases with chronic inflammation. The most popular chronic diseases may include type 2 diabetes and heart disease. An overabundance of body fat may also promote chronic inflammation. Despite the cause of inflammation, chronic inflammation can cause damage to the DNA increasing additional risks of cancer.
How does nutrition impact inflammation?
There are plenty of “anti-inflammatory diets” on the market. Like most fad diets, there hasn’t been enough evidenced based research to prove them just yet. However, research has been able to show that consuming a variety of nutrient dense foods may help reduce inflammation by strengthening the immune system. A strengthened immune system can cause less need for inflammation to take place.
3 Nutrition pointers that may help reduce inflammation
1) Incorporate a variety of vegetables and fruit at each meal and snack.
At the end of the day, ask yourself…” What were my 3 servings of fruit today? & What were my 4 servings of vegetables today?” If you find it difficult to answer these questions, chances are you’re not consuming enough vegetables and fruit to offset inflammation and build better immunity.
2) Slow down on the protein and make it count
Try to consume the equivalent of what 5-6 oz of lean meat will provide per day. Choose leaner and skinless protein sources. No worries vegetarians, lentils, beans, and tempeh can provide the same protein requirements. 😊
3) Choose whole grains and healthy fats.
Snack on walnuts for a great source of HDL. Add chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds to your yogurt, smoothies, and salads. Incorporate fatty fish such as salmon 2-3 times a week. Choose minimal flour whole grains by adding quinoa, brown rice, and millet to your meals!
Q & E nutrition is a huge advocate of total wellness. In addition to these nutrition approaches… be sure to exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, and maintain a healthy weight to further progress your health.
Whitney Wilkins, MS, RD, LDN