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Using Food to Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s normal response to injury and while it may be a natural defense system, it can lead to disease development if it becomes chronic. The inflammation process has one goal: to respond immediately to detect and destroy the toxic material in damaged tissues before it can spread throughout the body. The trouble with inflammation starts when the defense system gets out-of-control and begins to destroy healthy tissue, causing more damage than the original issue.

A recent Science Daily report featured the work of researchers from the University of Alabama who are using food to fight inflammation. The report confirms the focus of nutritional therapy on eating whole foods and foods that are high in fiber.

Anti-inflammatory foods recommended by the report include:

• Citrus fruits – vitamin C and vitamin E are essential antioxidants;
• Dark, leafy greens – high in vitamin K;
• Tomatoes – the fruit’s red pigment, lycopene, is a potent antioxidant; and
• Wild-caught salmon – contains a rich concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.

The researchers commented that it’s easy to start adding anti-inflammatory foods to your daily diet: add a piece of whole fruit to your breakfast, swap meat for salmon, add some leafy greens into a salad at lunch. Then slowly cut down on the pro-inflammatory foods such as processed and fried foods.

“Americans are constantly on the lookout for a quick-fix, so when our immune systems kick into overdrive, we would generally prefer to pop a pill and keep moving,” the lead researcher said. “But if we focus on our diets, we can alleviate the need for the anti-inflammatory medications in many cases.”

University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Foods can help fight inflammation.” ScienceDaily, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2013.

Categories: Nutritional News, Healthy Aging, Metabolic Health