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Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting against injury or infection. But when it lingers or flares up in areas where it’s not needed, inflammation can be a problem. Chronic inflammation plays a part in heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and possibly even depression.
Some simple changes to your diet can help reduce inflammation, says Mary Gardner, RD, LDN, an outpatient dietitian at Edward Hospital. Dropping a few pounds also helps.
“Normally, when people have issues with inflammation, doctors will also recommend weight loss,” says Gardner.
There are certain foods that are more beneficial than others when fighting inflammation.
“Generally, if you include these foods in your overall healthy diet, then you can see some reduction in inflammation,” she says.
Some of the foods Gardner suggests eating include:
Other foods to help fight inflammation include oranges, broccoli and peppers. Certain spices such as ginger, turmeric and cinnamon are good to have on hand. Green tea is also a healthy drink to add into your diet.
Just as there are plenty of foods that can help in the fight against inflammation, there are also foods to avoid, Gardner says. Eliminating or cutting back on fried foods, sugary drinks, processed foods and refined carbs such as white bread are key to reducing inflammation and for overall health. Limiting dairy intake and meat also is beneficial.
Other common-sense measures such as exercising, drinking water, getting proper sleep and portion control are important as well.
“You have to have the whole balance,” Gardner says.
Learn more about healthy eating and get healthy recipes.
Below are some of Gardner’s favorite inflammation-fighting recipes:
SALMON WITH STRAWBERRY AVOCADO SALSA
Serving size: 5
4-8 oz. king salmon fillets
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 2 limes
Dash of salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pint strawberries, hulled and diced
1 avocado, diced
1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp cilantro
Nutrition facts: (per serving – about 6oz) calories: 330, fat: 18g, Omega 3: 3.5g, cholesterol 94mg, sodium: 110mg, carbs: 8g, fiber: 3g, protein: 35g
*Recipe adapted from Sitkasalmonshares.com
CHIA PUDDING – BLUEBERRY ALMOND
Serving size: 1
½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 tsp pure maple syrup
½ cup fresh blueberries
1 tbsp toasted slivered almonds
Nutrition facts: (per serving) calories: 229, fat: 11g, protein: 6g, carbs: 30g, fiber: 10g, sodium: 91mg
*Recipe adapted from eatingwell.com
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp grated fresh turmeric
2 tsp pure maple syrup or honey
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of ground cinnamon for garnish
Nutrition facts: (per serving – 1 cup) calories: 70, fat: 3g, carbs: 11g, fiber: 1g, protein: 1g, sugar: 8g, sodium: 172mg
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