What is inflammation and why do we need to worry about it? It is a key component of the body’s natural healing system. It is the normal response to injury or irritation. It serves to bring more blood and immune activity to an injured area and is characterized by signs of swelling, redness, heat and pain. It would be great if inflammation would stay where it was needed but unfortunately if it is misplaced, prolonged or occurring in inappropriate places, it becomes a problem for the body.
In many chronic diseases, inflammation may be the cause. Arthritis, asthma, heart disease, and Crohn’s disease are just a few examples of chronic inflammatory diseases.
There are many treatments for these chronic diseases, however, there is hard evidence that changing the diet plays a part in an anti-inflammatory affect. It may take six to eight weeks to notice a decrease in symptoms, but they will occur. The following is a list of dietary steps to take to decrease inflammation in the body.
• Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Buy organic produce if possible. Emphasize the anti- oxidant rich fruits, such as berries (black, blue, raspberries, strawberries), red grapes, and cruciferous vegetables, like the cabbage family.
• Add sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty shes (wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, black cod, sable fish) or pharmaceutical grade fish oil. Add olive oil, flaxseed or flaxseed oil, nuts (raw/ unroasted) and organic fortied eggs (with DHA).
• Decrease animal sources of calcium. Calcium citrate supplements with vitamin D added are a good idea.
• Use only whole grain foods, breads, rolls, and cereals. They should also be low in sugar.
• Add beans, legumes and seeds as protein sources.
• Decrease animal meals, use only lean cuts or hormone free varieties.
• Add cooked mushrooms, avoid raw mushrooms.
• Add organic white tea, green tea or oolong tea daily. Tea has great anti-oxidant properties.
• Red wine has anti-oxidant properties. Add only after consulting your physician.
• Add dark chocolate. Look for organic varieties with 70 to 73 percent cocoa content.