Ever heard of anti-inflammatory diets? As a consumer, it can be so difficult to discern between quality information about healthy eating patterns and the frivolous fad diets that emerge when it comes to your nutritional health and wellness.
Whether you’ve read about it online, heard it from a friend, or picked up a book about it, this is an eating pattern that’s worth taking a second look at. Before we dive into the details of eating for inflammation, let’s take a look at exactly what inflammation is and why it’s such an important concept for our long-term health.
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Inflammation refers to the process by which your body, or more specifically your immune system, attacks anything that it recognizes as foreign in order to protect your health. Have you ever stubbed your toe and felt that blood-rushing, heat-producing sensation that starts almost immediately? That’s just one example of short-term or acute inflammation.
There’s also the more long-term or chronic form of inflammation. This is the type that we’re trying to address when we are eating for inflammation. Chronic inflammation exists even in the absence of foreign attackers in the body. It can be due to environmental exposures, stress, the aging process, and even poor nutritional habits. It’s often referred to as systemic inflammation, in that it’s occurring throughout the body rather than just in one place. Studies have shown that day in, day out inflammation is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.
But not to worry! Eating for inflammation will help your body work like a well-greased machine (We’ll get to this pin shortly…). Before we get started, here are two useful definitions to keep in mind.