Inflammation is a set of symptoms that includes pain, swelling, heat and redness of an affected organ or tissue. It's the way the body's immune system responds to attack, infection or injury. The immune system response to an unsatisfactory diet can lead to chronic inflammation of various body systems, leading to conditions such as arthritis and various auto-immune diseases like lupus. Recently there has been an increased focus on diets and lifestyle plans that seek to end the cycle of inflammation and its deleterious consequences.
Top 3 Diet Plans (based on Diet Channel visitor activity):
Sonoma Diet - "Get to eat great food and even enjoy a glass of wine." Learn More...
Jillian Michaels - "Jillian guides you through the diet and exercise changes you know you need to make." Learn More...
South Beach Diet - "This hugely popular diet promises diligent followers an initial weight loss of 8-13 pounds in the first two weeks." Learn More...
Foods that fight inflammation
A typical anti-inflammatory diet focuses on creating anti-inflammatory prostaglandins instead of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormones produced by the body whose function is to regulate the body's inflammatory response. We produce these hormones from the fats we ingest as part of our diets, and it's been found that different types of fat result in the production of different types of prostaglandins. One key part of an effective anti-inflammatory diet is to ingest only ""good"" fats and avoid ""bad"" ones.
1. The good fats - ones you should eat
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, found mainly in cold-water fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies, and herring. The oils of wild-caught fish contain a significantly higher proportion of Omega-3 than the oils of farm-raised fish. Other sources of Omega-3 are nuts and seeds. These vegetable sources include walnuts, brazil nuts, and almonds along with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
For further information on what to look for when buying fish see the following article from TheDietChannel: Fish Safety & Buying Guide.
2. The bad fats - ones you should avoid
Polyunsaturated and partly hydrogenated fats and oils lead to the synthesis of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and so should be eliminated from the diet. It's not easy to avoid these ""bad fats,"" as they are found in most processed foods. Trans-fats should be strictly avoided; this can be done by using olive oil instead of margarine and shortening. Olive oil contains Omega-9 essential fatty acids which work in concert with Omega-3 EFAs and increase its benefits to the body.
3. Other foods good for preventing inflammation
- Fruits and Vegetables -- blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, peaches, mango, cantaloupe melon, apples, carrots, squash, sweet potato, spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
- Grains -- lentils, chick peas (garbanzo beans), brown rice, wheat germ, and non-instant oatmeal.
Two other essential components of an effective anti-inflammatory diet are Ginger and Turmeric, known since ancient times for their ameliorative properties.
Feel the benefit of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet
People who have suffered any of the wide range of symptoms linked with inflammation can feel real benefits by switching to an anti-inflammatory diet. Among the positive changes you may experience are:
- Reduction in joint pain due to Arthritis.
- Improved digestion.
- Lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Relief from symptoms of Depression and Bi-polar Disorder.
An anti-inflammatory diet follows principles of good nutrition by reducing intake of unhealthy fats, and increasing consumption of healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Even if you don't have any overt inflammation, the diet itself is healthy and will do its part to keep you healthy, too.
Diets high in fiber meet much of the criteria associated with anti-inflammatory diets. Consider the Sonoma Diet and the aptly named High Fiber Diet.
More on these diets below...