You might already know that inflammation contributes to premature aging and many health conditions ranging from heart disease to Alzheimer’s. Along with proper medical care, your diet and other lifestyle habits can help you keep it under control.
Inflammation refers to your body’s immune reaction to foreign substances that could be threats. It’s beneficial when it comes to recovering from illnesses and healing wounds. However, inflammation causes trouble when it becomes chronic.
Fortunately, you can control some of these effects. Learn more about making healthy choices.
Eating to Fight Inflammation:
1. Choose whole foods. Despite what you may read, there are no magic ingredients. However, any diet focused on unprocessed foods will reduce inflammation. Fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins.
2. Use healthy fats. The average adult needs to get about 25 to 35% of their daily calories from fat. Make sure most of that comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated sources rather than butter or bacon. Smart choices include olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
3. Fry less. The way you cook matters too. Fried foods produce compounds called AGEs that stimulate inflammation. Switch to steaming, poaching, and baking. Microwaving is safe and convenient too.
4. Dine early. Research shows that people who eat more after 5 pm may have higher levels of inflammation. Late eating has also been linked to higher blood sugar and weight gain. Make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals and skip evening snacks.
5. Drink responsibly. Alcohol can damage your liver, brain, and other organs in many ways. If you drink, have only one or two servings on any single day. Eat before and during events where you plan to imbibe.
6. Limit meat. Beef and any kind of processed meat are major sources of saturated fat in the typical American diet. Substitute some plant-based options like tofu and beans, along with low fat dairy products.
7. Avoid excess sugar. The average American eats 17 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is almost 3 times the recommended guidelines. Check labels for added sugar. Satisfy your sweet tooth with cinnamon and applesauce.
8. Enjoy coffee. If you love coffee, you’ll be happy to know it reduces inflammation. Most experts agree that 4 to 5 cups a day are safe for most adults.
9. See your doctor. Some nutritional needs can vary by individual. For example, if you have celiac disease, you might need to avoid whole grains that contain gluten. Follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Other Strategies to Fight Inflammation:
1. Lose weight. Reversing inflammation can be one of the many benefits of slimming down. Even a 5- or 10-pound loss can make a big difference.
2. Exercise regularly. Working out strengthens your immune system. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio activity and 2 days of resistance training each week.
3. Sleep well. Inflammation can make it difficult to sleep, and sleep deprivation can aggravate your symptoms. Break the cycle by sticking to a consistent bedtime that gives you 8 hours of rest each night.
4. Manage stress. Daily tension can take a negative toll on your body and mind. Find relaxation practices that work for you, such as listening to instrumental music. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust.
5. Quit smoking. Tobacco suppresses your immune system and causes vascular inflammation. Pick a date to give up cigarettes and use a variety of methods, like nicotine replacement and social support.
An anti-inflammatory diet can help you look and feel younger. It may also help relieve symptoms associated with many chronic conditions. Talk with your doctor and adopt a lifestyle that will help you stay healthy as you age.