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WHAT IS INFLAMMATION + 7 FOODS TO FIGHT IT

12 August 2022 Jenna Amos

Even though it gets a bad wrap, inflammation is a sometimes unavoidable function of our bodies. It's usually well intentioned, but problematic when it becomes chronic, as opposed to an acute episode.

 

Acute inflammation is our immune system’s immediate response to an injury like a cut, muscle strain, or sudden impact. Typical symptoms include redness, swelling, pain and heat as a result of the release of inflammatory cells and other helpful substances that trap bacteria and kick off the healing process. Even though this  may force a few extra rest days, they are signs the body is working to heal, and usually disappear after a few days.

Chronic inflammation tends to manifest in full body symptoms and can be more challenging to identify. Symptoms may include:  

  • fatigue
  • depression or anxiety
  • weight gain
  • consistent joint pain
  • GI symptoms

    Overtime, chronic inflammation may start to damage healthy cells and organs, increasing risk for heart disease and cancer.

    Now for the great news: Adding more of certain foods to our diet has been shown to reduce the risk of inflammation and help us heal more quickly after injury. To get all the benefits, load up on antioxidant and omega-3 rich and less processed foods like:

    • dark leafy greens
    • berries of all kinds
    • broccoli
    • walnuts
    • salmon
    • olive oil
    • tart cherry juice

      Research has shown particular promise for tart cherry juice for reducing inflammation and its related muscle soreness, likely related to its antioxidant content. And don’t forget about spices - ginger, turmeric, garlic and pepper not only boost flavor but are associated with reduced inflammation

      Certain foods like processed meat, refined carbs and fried foods have been shown to increase risk for inflammation, so be sure to limit these in your diet when possible.

      While a healthful diet alone may not prevent or alleviate inflammation, research shows it can be a great benefit! If you’re not sure where to start, slowly add some familiar spices and anti-inflammatory foods to your meals and snacks- every bit helps. 

      Thanks to our Contributing Dietitian, Jenna Amos, RDN, for this blog post.

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