The human body is designed to heal itself; inflammation is part of the natural healing process. Yet, when this immune response becomes out of control, it can wreak havoc on the system.
Stress and seasonal transitions can leave the body even more vulnerable, making a well-balanced diet all the more essential. Adopting an anti-inflammatory approach to eating may be just what’s needed to keep the body functioning at its best. Here, two experts reveal the benefits.
1. Make A Healthy Lifestyle Change
Dr. Susan Blum of Blum Center For Health advocates anti-inflammatory foods in The Immune System Recovery Plan (Scribner 2013). Dr. Blum suggests patients adopt inflammation-fighting foods as more than just a meal plan, recommending these eating guidelines as a way of life.
2. Eliminate To Regenerate
“Because inflammation is the driver for all chronic diseases, it just makes sense to eat more of the foods that decrease inflammation and to eliminate the foods that increase it, no matter whether you have an already diagnosed illness or simply want to prevent one.”
According to the doctor, take a nutritional approach to reducing inflammation. Remove foods known to cause inflammation. Think: sugar, bad fats, (too much) alcohol and caffeine. Also, remove foods that commonly cause sensitivities such as gluten, soy and dairy.
3. Add Power Foods
Just as important as elimination: Adding certain foods to your diet. Vitamin packed leafy greens, protein from legumes, seeds, nuts and nutrient filled cold-pressed juices low in natural sugars are all on the doctor’s list of beneficial foods. “Fill the body with nutrients and antioxidant-rich foods as well as healthy fats,” says Dr. Blum.
4. Protect From Environmental Aggressors
According to Tata Harper, CEO and founder of her namesake 100% natural beauty and wellness products, damaging inflammation comes from factors such as stress, lack of sleep, poor diet and exposure to pollution.
“Chronic inflammation causes damage in all parts of the body and can lead to visible signs of aging in your skin or ‘inflammaging’, rosacea or breakouts,” says Harper. “An inflammation-fighting diet is good for your overall health.”
5. Skin-Saving Foods To Eat
“Our skin is our largest organ and consumes 30-35% of everything we eat, so how you eat and the nutrients you take in play a huge role in how your skin looks,” says Harper. “This is why it’s so important to eat foods that support your skin and drink plenty of water.”
According to Harper, the following foods will help you look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside. Blueberries and artichokes are full of antioxidants to help reduce visible signs of aging. Foods rich in Vitamin C such as spinach and kale boost collagen production. Carrots and sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A, supporting skin health and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Probiotic-enhanced foods (yogurt, for example) aid the body and skin’s natural bacterial defense system. Finally, green leafy vegetables, beets and broccoli help fight damage caused by internal inflammation.
Speaking of anti-inflammatory, give these antioxidant-rich smoothies a try.