While some inflammation is necessary when the body is fighting off infection and repairing broken-down muscle after a workout, chronic inflammation can cause serious health issues and prevent healing after an injury. Learning simple nutrition tips to control inflammation in your body can be a game-changer for your long-term health, performance, and recovery.
What are some causes of inflammation?
Unhealthy habits, poor nutrition choices, and even over-exercising can cause inflammation. Eating meals high in veggies, fruits, antioxidant-rich grains, fish and lean proteins, and nuts and seeds has been shown to help prevent long-term health issues by helping to limit inflammation.
Avoid these 5 foods that could contribute to inflammation:
- Inflammatory fats. Trans fat, excess omega-6 fatty acids, and fats from grain-fed animals can trigger inflammation and raise bad cholesterol.
- Added sugars and artificial sweeteners. Found in processed food and beverages, added sugar can negatively impact blood vessels and gut health. The low-calorie artificial sweeteners can irritate the stomach lining and alter insulin and blood glucose levels.
- Refined grains. Excess intake of enriched flours and starches is associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers.
- Processed meats. Sausage, deli meats, and bacon contain nitrates, sulfites, preservatives, and MSG, which are linked to inflammatory diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
- Artificial flavors and colors. Present in some processed foods, beverages, seasonings, canned soups, and salad dressings, artificial flavors and colors contain excitotoxins, which can cause inflammation.
Heal your body with anti-inflammatory foods and supplements
Incorporate some foods into your diet that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and help reduce the inflammatory response and minimize body aches and pains. Here are 10 foods to try:
- Lake trout
- Chia seed
- Fresh basil
Turmeric, a spice used to flavor curry and other dishes, has powerful properties shown to help maintain the body’s normal inflammatory response. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to help maintain the body’s natural inflammatory response.
Research has also shown that the combination of EPA and DHA (essential fatty acids) may help counteract the inflammatory effects of high-intensity exercise, which may worsen with the high omega-6 intake common among Americans.