Fighting inflammation with food

By Mariam Digges

Fighting inflammation with food
Often occurring after injury, inflammation can lead to disease if it becomes chronic. But new research has found a way to fight the painful swelling with the right foods.

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to injury, and while it is often temporary, in some chronic cases, it can lead to disease. A University of Alabama at Birmingham has found one easy way to fight inflammation: eating the right food. 

“The inflammation process has one goal: to respond immediately to detect and destroy the toxic material in damaged tissues before it can spread throughout the body,” explained Employee Wellness director and professor Lauren Whitt. 

“The trouble with inflammation occurs when the defense system gets out-of-control and begins to destroy healthy tissue, causing more damage than the original issue.”

Obesity has long been regarded as a cause of inflammation, which can then lead to the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, according to the National Council on Strength & Fitness. But weight loss is related to reducing inflammation, and eating the right anti-inflammatory foods could hold the answer.

“I encourage people to focus on eating whole foods and foods that are high in fiber,” said Whitt.

Some of these suggested anti-inflammatory foods include:

• Citrus fruits – Vitamin C and Vitamin E are essential antioxidants

• Dark, leafy greens — High in Vitamin K

• Tomatoes – The fruit’s red pigment, lycopene, is a potent antioxidant

• Wild-caught salmon – Contains a rich concentration of omega-3 fatty acids

Whitt reiterated how the task of choosing anti-inflammatory foods should not be viewed as daunting, explaining that “baby steps” to incorporate leafy greens into your lunch, or whole fruits into your breakfast, were a great place to start.”

She also added that consuming fewer dried or processed foods was also beneficial. 

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