Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, infection, or an autoimmune disease and is often marked by swelling, redness, and pain. As you age, your body’s immune system becomes less effective, leading to increased inflammation, which may trigger disease processes and lead to a range of conditions. Fortunately, there are numerous ways that you can combat inflammation as you age, and one of the simplest ways to do so is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet for health.
Including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet can provide your body with numerous benefits. Anti-inflammatory foods may reduce your risk of several ailments, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet include:
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial to add to your anti-inflammatory diet because these foods are rich sources of antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, and numerous other biologically active substances that may enhance your immune function. The United States Dietary Guidelines suggest having five or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables to maximize their extensive benefits. Among the best fruits and vegetables to incorporate into your daily diet include:
Whole grains are an additional key component of an anti-inflammatory diet, as they are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Along with reducing inflammation in the body, replacing refined grains with whole grains in your diet may lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesity.
Lean proteins are also an essential part of an anti-inflammatory diet, mainly due to the fact that they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s may decrease the production of inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines, and studies have consistently indicated a link between high omega-3 fatty acids intake and low inflammation. Some of the best foods high in omega-3s include:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
Foods to Avoid
While adding anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is critical to decreasing your body’s inflammation, you should also ensure that you are avoiding the following products:
Ultra-processed foods are calorie-dense, nutrient-poor, and brimming with added sugars and unhealthy additives that can increase inflammation in the body. Not only do processed foods have harmful chemicals, but they also typically include refined grains, which are grains where all the fiber and micronutrients have been removed. Ultra-processed products include:
- White bread
- Soft drinks
- Chicken nuggets
- French fries
Red and Processed Meats
Research suggests that both red and processed meats lead to higher levels of inflammation in the body, as well as an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Meats to limit or avoid in your diet include:
- Deli meats
- Hot dogs
Alcohol contributes to inflammation in a number of ways by interfering with the body’s natural immune function, impairing the liver’s effectiveness, and affecting the brain’s ability to regulate inflammation. If you do choose to consume alcohol, the CDC recommends drinking in moderation, meaning one drink or less per day for women and two drinks or less per day for men.
Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Health
In general, anti-inflammatory diets not only decrease your risk of chronic diseases, but they also lead to:
- Clearer skin
- Less bloating
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased energy levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer headaches
- Weight loss
Following an anti-inflammatory diet for health is just the first step in decreasing inflammation in the body. Remember to avoid stress, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and take any prescribed medications to live a pain-free life.
Elevate Your Practice with Outset Health’s Healthy Aging Programs
To learn more about how to optimize your patients’ nutrition and lower their inflammation, contact Outset Health, where we specialize in healthy aging solutions and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Call (866) 599-1260 to schedule your free consultation today.