Inflammation is sometimes not understood correctly. For instance, not all inflammation is a bad thing, says Dr. Nicole Cotter, rheumatologist with UCHealth Rheumatology Clinic.
“Inflammation is your body’s response to injury and it is need as a protective response,” Dr. Cotter notes. “For example, the inflammation that is created in response to an infection can save your life.”
However, inflammation does become chronic sometimes and this can turn into something dangerous. Chronic inflammation can harm tissues and constant inflammation can be responsible for many chronic problems, like heart disease or diabetes.
With that in mind, here are the best, doctor-approved ways to lower inflammation in your body, and to keep it from turning into a long-term problem.
1. Try Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Add certain foods to your meals to bring down your overall inflammation.
Diet is so crucial as a way of lower inflammation that it has even been researched as a way to deal with chronic inflammatory illnesses, like rheumatoid arthritis, according to a 2018 article in the Nutrition Journal.
The top foods for lowering inflammation include:
greens such as spinach and kale
vegetables, like broccoli or Brussels sprouts
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Olive oil
- Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal
like turmeric, cinnamon, parsley and basil
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
2. Limit or Try To Avoid Inflammation-Causing Foods
Just as some foods can fight inflammation, others can trigger the problem.
“Certain foods can be inflammatory in just some people,” Dr. Cotter reports, depending on how the individual’s body reacts to these foods (food intolerances, for example).
But there are also some universal foods that are inflammatory, like:
- Refined carbs, like white bread, pasta or pastries
- Processed foods (packaged foods with lots of ingredients)
- Refined cooking oils, such as canola and vegetable oils
3. Feed Your Microbiome
Some unsweetened oatmeal that includes fruit is a great anti-inflammatory way to begin your day.
According to a Nov. 2020 study in the British Journal of Nutrition, nutrition has a direct impact on your overall inflammation and your gut health.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods helps build a healthy microbiome of beneficial bacteria. For instance, the study discovered that people who had the most anti-inflammatory diets had greater levels of Akkermansia muciniphila, which is a good gut bacteria linked with lowering obesity, untreated type 2 diabetes and tension, according to a 2019 study.
To support your gut health and reduce your inflammation, focus on consuming both prebiotics and probiotics to support your microbiome.
Prebiotics can be gotten from:
- Alliums (garlic, leeks and onions)
- Fruits such as bananas, apples, and berries
- Grounded flaxseeds
- Vegetables such as artichoke, asparagus and other green veggies
- Whole grains like oats, barley and whole wheat.