The start of the New Year is a great time to make healthy lifestyle changes. After the holiday season, it may seem like a difficult task to get back on track with healthy eating. Changing your diet can be as simple as identifying which healthy foods will help fight inflammation, block pain signals and help heal underlying disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables alone will not alleviate your pain. Committing to a healthy lifestyle with less processed food and more fresh foods will keep you on track for a healthy year.
Inflammation is the body’s healthy immune response to an injury including bacteria, viruses, fungi, external damage, or possibly to the body itself from over use and age as in arthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis. Inflammation can be painful, but may also cause redness and swelling. Eating healthy by including and reducing certain foods can help decrease inflammation naturally.
Foods to Fight Inflammation:
- Omega 3 fatty acids: fish (including salmon, tuna, sardine, anchovies, and other cold-water fish), nuts (pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts, and almonds), olives or olive oil, flax seed or flax seed oils, eggs, enriched dairy foods
- Fiber: lentils (beans, chickpeas), vegetables – multiple colors per day, 2-3 cups per meal (bell peppers, hot peppers, carrots, onions, broccoli), brown rice, quinoa
- Fruits: cherries, berries (blueberries, raspberries), multiple colors per day
- Seasonings: garlic, tumeric, rosemary, cinnamon, sage, thyme, mint
- Sweets: honey (good substitute for sugar), chocolate ( 70% cocoa)
- Drink: tea (white, green, oolong), coffee (in moderation)
Foods That Cause Inflammation – you should avoid these in your diet:
- Refined carbohydrates: white bread, white pastas, cereal, white rice
- Fried foods: chicken, hamburgers
- Sugar: table sugar, sodas, other sweetened drinks
- Omega-6 oils: sunflower, corn, soybean
- Meats: red meat, processed meat (bacon, sausage, canned meats, hotdogs, salami, beef jerky
- Sodium: check food labels, many canned/processed foods have sodium added, limit adding table salt to foods.