The Best and Worst Foods for Chronic Inflammation

The Best and Worst Foods for Chronic Inflammation

Chances are you’ve probably heard the saying, “You are what you eat”. While this is not literally true, what you eat definitely affects your body in a variety of ways. Some of the things you eat can have a positive effect on your body, while others can have a negative effect. This is especially the case with people who have medical conditions that cause inflammation such as various autoimmune conditions.  

How does your diet cause inflammation?

When any foreign substance enters your body, it triggers an immune response that includes inflammation. Short term inflammation is necessary for the body to heal itself, however the chronic inflammation associated with autoimmune disorders can exacerbate symptoms. To combat chronic inflammation, there are certain foods that are natural anti-inflammatories, meaning they can decrease the severity or frequency of the inflammation that cause symptoms. Conversely, there are also foods that can trigger more inflammation, which can increase the severity or frequency of your symptoms. 

What are anti-inflammatory foods?

  • Avocado: this superfood contains potassium, magnesium, fiber, and monounsaturated fats, as well as carotenoids and tocopherols that decrease the risk of cancer. They also protect against inflammation.
strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • Berries: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries all contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
  • Broccoli: contains high amounts of sulforaphane, which is an antioxidant that decreases the amount of cytokines that contribute to inflammation
  • Dark Chocolate and Cocoa: contains flavonols that reduce inflammation, maintain artery health, and promote healthier aging
  • Fatty Fish: salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies are high in protein, as well as omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These two fatty acids reduce existing inflammation and are also broken down into resolvins, which have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. 
green tea
  • Green Tea: contains antioxidants and an anti-inflammatory compound known as EGCG, which reduces inflammation by decreasing cytokine production.
  • Turmeric: contains curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation from a number of diseases. For the most benefits, turmeric should be consumed as a supplement or with black pepper for better absorption in the body. 

What are inflammatory foods?

an assortment of fast food products
  • Sugar: releases inflammatory messengers known as cytokines. This includes fructose, sucrose, or any word ending in “-ose” on ingredient labels. 
  • Saturated fats: triggers inflammation of fat tissue, which can worsen inflammation associated with arthritis and can lead to heart disease. Saturated fats are commonly found in pizza, cheese, red meat, full-fat dairy products, pasta, and grain-based desserts.
  • Trans fats: trigger systemic inflammation. Trans fats are found in fast foods, fried foods, processed foods, cookies, donuts, cracks, stick margarines, or anything with partially hydrogenated oils on the ingredient label. 
  • Omega 6 fatty acids: omega 6 fatty acids can cause inflammation when they are consumed in excess and are not balanced with omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6s are found in mayonnaise, salad dressings, and oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable. 
  • Refined Carbohydrates: white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, and many cereals are processed carbohydrates that can cause inflammation. 
  • MSG: mono-sodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer that triggers pathways of chronic inflammation. MSG is often found in prepared Asian food, soy sauce, fast food, soups or soup mixes, salad dressings, and deli meat. 
  • Gluten: triggers joint pain and symptoms associated with celiac disease. Gluten is commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye. 
  • Casein: triggers joint pain and is found in dairy products
Headshot of doctor

Dr. Paulvin is an innovative physician in the study of Functional Medicine, Integrative Sports Medicine, Regenerative medicine, Osteopathic Manipulation and Craniosacral Therapy. He works with patients to not only treat but find the root cause of autoimmune issues, thyroid and hormone imbalances, digestive and gut disorders and a number of inflammatory based conditions. Uniquely combining Osteopathic Manipulation and Functional Medicine to fast track healing, recovery and biomechanics to progress athleticism. Synergistically utilizing eastern and western medicine, lab testing and reviews, lifestyle wellness, and manual therapy to treat injuries, inflammation patients and optimizers are set on their path quicker.

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