Long-term inflammation that lasts for months or years is known as chronic inflammation, which scientists have linked to major diseases and illnesses that include obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, arthritis, premature aging, and cancer.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by poor nutrition and lack of exercise, which is why the condition is common in those who are overweight. Unfortunately, chronic inflammation can interfere with weight loss, and can prevent you from being able to meet your weight-loss goals. However, you can get your health and weight back on track by consuming a diet of healthy, whole foods that can help reverse and resolve problems with inflammation.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat thanks to their many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Most fruits and vegetables also contain unique compounds that can help reverse many illnesses and diseases, including inflammation. For instance, polyphenols can help protect against oxidative damage and free radicals, whereas the compound quercetin functions as a natural histamine inhibitor.
The best way to benefit from the many nutrients offered by fruits and vegetables is to consume as many different varieties as you can on a daily basis. Consume berries, grapes, onions, broccoli, apples, carrots, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens, and your other favorite fruits and vegetables to benefit from healthy antioxidants, compounds, vitamins, and minerals that can help reduce inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids contain a wealth of anti-inflammatory properties that can help reverse chronic inflammation. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water breeds of fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, herring, and anchovies. If you’re not into eating fish, or don’t have access to fresh fish due to where you live, increase your intake of walnuts, leafy greens, and flaxseed oil -- all of which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
To get even more out of your omega-3 fatty acids, consider cooking your fish in almond oil, macadamia oil, or olive oil, all of which contain an omega-9 fatty acid called oleic acid. Foods that contain oleic acid can help your body better absorb and respond to omega-3 fatty acids.
Herbs and spices
If you frequently cook at home, swap out traditional salt and pepper seasonings for fresh herbs and spices, many of which offer anti-inflammatory benefits. For instance, curcumin, which is derived from the Indian spice turmeric, is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory compounds available. If you don’t frequently cook meals that would taste good with curcumin, talk to your doctor about taking turmeric supplements, which can help significantly reduce inflammation. Other spices that contain high amounts of anti-inflammatory properties are rosemary and ginger.
Foods to avoid
Foods that commonly lead to inflammation are those that contain yeast and cow’s milk, as well as soy-based products and red, fatty meats. When cooking, stop using butter and vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, peanut, and soy, since all of these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to and worsen inflammation.
Sodas, fried foods, products made with refined white flour (cookies, cakes, pastries), and processed foods that contain man-made ingredients and chemicals are also examples of foods that can trigger and worsen inflammation.
If you’re trying to lose weight, stick to eating as many fresh, whole foods as much as possible, and stay away from fatty cuts of meat. Over time, your problems with inflammation may gradually go away as you continue to lose weight and become healthier through good nutrition.