Fight inflammation with your diet

Fight inflammation with your diet
An anti-inflammatory diet is thought to be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain, assist in lowering cholesterol and guard against the risk of heart disease. Dietary change won’t produce the kind of rapid results drugs can, but over a few weeks, symptom relief is often noticed. It is also suggested that maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial in keeping inflammation within the body to a minimum. While inflammation is a natural part of the body’s healing mechanism, prolonged or chronic inflammation can be a cause of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. The role of inflammation in a variety of chronic diseases remains of interest to researchers in the field.
Inflammation and Free Radicals
• Damaging particles called free radicals are produced by our bodily cells as part of normal metabolic processes
• Inflammation, stress, environmental toxins and immune activation can also stimulate the production of free radicals
• Free radicals have a destructive effect on healthy cells in the body
• This can accelerate the aging process, or in extreme cases, cause disease
The Mediterranean diet is composed of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, grains, fish, olive oil, small portions of meat and dairy, and red wine. Whole grains contain selenium, an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and free radicals. The colourful fruits and vegetables which are staples of this eating style are high in phytochemicals, which are also anti-inflammatory. Fish have omega-3 fatty acids, which help suppress inflammatory chemicals in the body.  Some fish are particularly rich in omega-3s: salmon, sardines and anchovies for example. Soybeans, walnuts and canola oil also have high levels of omega-3s. Olive oil contains a compound that inhibits the production of chemicals responsible for creating inflammation. Interestingly, drugs such as ibuprofen reduce inflammation by minimising the production of the same chemicals. The good news? A small serving of dark chocolate is beneficial, being rich in antioxidants.
Other guidelines for an anti-inflammatory diet include minimising/avoiding:
• Saturated and trans fats such as fried foods, doughnuts and pastries
• Refined carbohydrates like pasta and white rice 
• Processed foods
• Red meat
• Full fat dairy foods
If you suffer from an inflammatory condition like arthritis or joint pain, the Mediterranean Diet could be worth a try. At the very least you'll feel healthier, but over time it might even help with your pain.

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