Inflammation is a constant concern for those with autoimmune diseases, gut disorders, or chronic illnesses such as Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia. However, inflammation and particularly chronic inflammation should be recognized and addressed by everyone as it can decrease your quality of life and lead to serious health issues.
Inflammation is a natural and often helpful immune response. However, the immune system can sometimes be triggered for the wrong reasons, which can cause systematic problems. Chronic inflammation results in the damage of healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Long-term, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring. In fact, several diseases and conditions have been linked to inflammation including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
- Impaired immune function
- Mental health disorders
- Neurodegenerative diseases (i.e. Alzheimer’s disease)
Diet is one of the common contributors to chronic inflammation. Certain foods such as dairy, gluten, and refined sugar can cause an immune reaction, triggering an inflammatory response. This can damage the intestinal tracts and cascade into a host of other health issues. Learn more about the way in which inflammation affects the gut.
Taking control of your diet is one of the most effective ways to combat chronic inflammation. Below are some great ingredients to include in an anti-inflammatory salad that will help contribute to your overall health and wellness.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, which help reduce chronic inflammation and support the health of blood vessels. As with all food, it is important to know where your salmon is sourced as wild-caught salmon is more likely to be more nutrient-dense and have a higher concentration of omega-3s. Typically, you can find this information on the salmon’s packaging.
Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collards are rich in carotenoids, which are an anti-inflammatory compound. Additionally, there is evidence that such leafy greens help protect against certain types of cancer.
Avocado is often referred to as a superfood because it is packed with potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Potassium protects against inflammation as it helps the kidneys flush out sodium, which exacerbates any inflammatory condition. Magnesium also aids in alleviating chronic inflammation as it reduces the inflammatory marker CRP. Additionally, fiber fuels healthy bacteria in the gut that minimize inflammation. Avocados are also known for their heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which help keep blood vessels in optimal condition when dealing with problems from inflammation. Avocados contain carotenoids as well.
Bell peppers and chili peppers are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C helps the body eliminate free radicals, which reduces inflammation triggers. Additionally, antioxidants in bell peppers such as quercetin are known to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Quercetin is linked to the reduction of a marker of oxidative damage in people with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease.
Chili peppers contain sinapic acid and ferulic acid, both of which have shown to minimize inflammation especially long-term, leading to healthier aging.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that provide numerous health benefits. Studies have shown that those who consume 1.7 ounces (50 ml) of olive oil daily significantly decrease their inflammatory markers such as CRP. In fact, the effect of an antioxidant found in olive oil, oleocanthal, has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
Studies have also linked extra virgin olive oil to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions.
Diet is one of the best ways to combat inflammation and support your overall wellness, however, sometimes further steps need to be taken. If you are struggling with chronic inflammation or an underlying condition that may cause inflammation and are not getting the help you need, contact Holtorf Medical Group today.