Why Anti-Inflammatory Foods Benefit Your Body

why anti-inflammatory foods help your health

Inflammation is part of your body’s healing process. When you injure yourself, the area becomes inflamed, turning red and swelling. While this is how your body repairs itself, it can be an issue if the problem goes on for too long.

Long-term inflammation can be a contributing factor to serious conditions like heart disease or cancer. Fortunately, there are foods you can eat that have anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful in reducing your inflammation. Eating these foods throughout your lifetime can be beneficial in combatting excessive inflammation.

What Foods INCREASE Inflammation that You Should Avoid?

First, it is important to understand the common culprits of unhealthy food are also among those that will increase your inflammation. Since our ideal goal is to reduce inflammation, these foods can have us trending in the wrong direction.

Common examples include:

  • Fried foods
  • Sweetened beverages
  • Red or processed meats
  • Bread or other refined carbohydrates

What are the Most Common Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

The recommended anti-inflammatory foods can vary depending on the time of the year. While many fruits and vegetables are available year-round, eating them in season always helps them taste better and be more nutrient-dense.  

Common choices for the cooler months:

  • Kale
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Beets
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Pineapple

Common choices for the warmer months:

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Green beans
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Many other berries

See even more recommended foods on Harvard’s blog page.

Why is it Important to Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Many of the anti-inflammatory foods listed above are great for your health – for many reasons! The fact these foods are anti-inflammatory is just a bonus. These foods are part of the foundation of a healthy diet and lifestyle.  With plenty of options available to you, even picky eaters will be able to select some foods they enjoy.

How do I Know if I Have Long-Term Inflammation?

Many patients with chronic inflammation are not aware of their on-going inflammation until a larger issue arises. Besides poor diet, one of the most common reasons for experiencing long-term (chronic) inflammation is obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, or stress. While the first two are problematic for a number of reasons, you may be surprised to find stress as a common cause.

When you are stressed, either emotionally or physically, your body releases adrenaline and increases your cortisol levels. These hormones help your body perform effectively to handle a short-term situation, but when you remain in a stressed state for an extended period of time it can cause dysfunction in the nervous and endocrine systems. As a result, this can cause chronic inflammation.

Talk to your provider about your stress and the symptoms it is creating in your health. They will be able to better advise you on how you can handle your health complications caused by your stress.