How to Fight Inflammation

Last month I talked about the signs to look for that might indicate you have chronic inflammation. Now we get to the good part: What we can do if we think we are suffering from inflammation.

According to six dietitians interviewed by Eating Well magazine, there are ten practical things we can all do that will help reduce inflammation as well as improving our overall health:

  1. Eat cherries. According to Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., “Consuming cherries may reduce the risk of several chronic inflammatory diseases, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even certain types of cancer.”
  2. Meditate. “Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released when we are in fight-or-flight mode,” says Kelsey Lorencz, R.D.N. Meditation can help you switch from “fight-or-flight” to “rest-and-digest” mode. Lorencz explains that this will decrease the stress hormones released and increase the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrients and, in turn, better fight off disease.
  3. Eat more probiotics. Foods containing these give us good bacteria which “creates an environment that allows for maximum digestion, absorption and utilization” of nutrients, says Lorencz. Foods to look for are yogurt, kefir, kombucha and kimchi.
  4. Eat more healthy fats. Salmon, mackerel, flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fats that help fight inflammation. Choose olive oil and canola oil, and lean protein such as chicken and beans to complement Omega-3-rich foods.
  5. Limit alcohol intake. The recommended limit is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. “That’s how much our bodies are able to successfully break down into a nontoxic substance,” says registered dietitian Monica Moreno.
  6. Eat more plant-based proteins. According to registered dietitian Rachel Caine, beans, lentils, tofu and lots of fruits and vegetables give us the micronutrients and antioxidants we need for healthy DNA replication, cell turnover and immunity.
  7. Power down at night. Inflammation increases when we don’t get enough sleep, so find a habit that works for you. Moreno suggests shutting off your phone and TV an hour before bed, reading, or having a cup of herbal tea.
  8. Eat colorful foods. Colorful plants “contain antioxidants which help fight off inflammation and lower incidence of cancers by fighting off cell damage,” says Diana Gariglio-Clelland, R.D., C.D.E.
  9. Add spices. Registered dietitian Hailey Crean says that healthy herbs and spices have been found to be natural sources of antioxidants.
  10. Eat fewer inflammatory foods. The main culprits are hot dogs and other processed meats, charred meats, and added sugar including candy and soda.

This concludes my inflammation series of articles. I hope you have found them to be helpful.

Feel free to reach out to me if you need more information on this or any other health-related topic.