What Foods Fight Inflammation?
Fortunately, There are Plenty of Foods that Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is one of those ‘hot’ words right now in the diet and lifestyle world – and for good reason. In recent years, doctors, scientists, and researchers alike have learned just how detrimental inflammation can be on many different aspects of the body. While it is true that inflammation can help your body stave off infection and injury, chronic inflammation can result in a wide range of medical conditions. From weight gain to heart disease and anxiety, too much inflammation in the body can cause some serious issues.
With this information in mind, it is no wonder more and more experts are pushing anti-inflammatory foods. That’s right. One of the easiest ways to combat inflammation and disease in the body is by changing up your diet. The more we learn about the foods and nutrients we are putting into our bodies, the better equipped we are to adequately care for ourselves. Sure, many diet dos and don’ts seem obvious (avoid processed foods, cut down on sugar, eat a balanced diet), but others are less intuitive.
As an established pain management clinic, we desire to help patients find relief from pain and other common symptoms. Thanks to numerous studies, we are learning how connected inflammation is to many chronic diseases and conditions. But this leaves us to question how much we really know about inflammation and its effect on the body. We are going to take a deeper look at the role of inflammation in chronic illness, specifically joint pain, and how integrating certain foods in your diet can make a major difference.
What is Inflammation?
Before we dive into why inflammation is so problematic and what foods can help combat it, let’s go over what exactly it is. As mentioned, inflammation is a very important part of how the immune system responds to injury and infection. If it helps, you can look at it as the body’s way of letting the immune system know it is time to start healing and repairing any damaged tissue. Here at Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we do a lot with stem cells and other forms of regenerative medicine. Similar to the immune system, stem cells can encourage the body to heal itself and take care of any tissue that has been damaged.
The body also uses inflammation to protect itself against viruses, bacteria, and other intruders. If the body lacked the physiological response of inflammation, it wouldn’t be able to heal wounds. Infections would cause far more harm.
Why is Inflammation a Problem?
After reading the above, you may be scratching your head wondering why inflammation is so bad. It seems like a pretty crucial part of the human body, right? While this is true, if the inflammatory process sticks around for too long, it can cause issues. If the individual is healthy, and the body’s inflammatory response system is working as it should, it will benefit the body. However, if immune cells start to overcompensate or react in a certain way, it can affect your health both short-term and long.
Chronic inflammation is becoming a major concern for many adults in the United States and throughout the world. Thanks to the studies mentioned earlier, we are learning more about how the body responds to inflammation and inflammatory foods.
What are the most common conditions caused by inflammation?
Some of the ways uncontrolled inflammation can cause harm to the body include:
- Heart disease
- Anxiety and depression
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
Connecting Joint Pain and Inflammation
There are between 250 and 350 joints in the body, all of which fall within one of the three following categories:
- Synarthroses (immovable) – Two or more ‘fixed’ joints that do not have any movement.
- Amphiarthroses (slightly movable) – Two or more bones that are held tightly together, only allowing for limited movement.
- Diarthroses (freely movable) – Sometimes referred to as synovial joints, these are the most common joints in the body, such as the knee, shoulder, and hip.
Now that we understand the various types of joints in the body, we can look at why it is so common for the joints to become painful. In many cases, the tissues that surround the various joints in the body can become inflamed or damaged. When this happens, it can affect the way the joints move and support the various parts of the body.
Some of the most common causes of inflammation in the joints include:
- Injuries such as a strain or sprain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Depending on the type of joint pain you are experiencing and the root cause, you may be able to try managing your discomfort at-home. There are numerous effective natural treatment options for joint pain caused by inflammation, such as applying ice, rest, and making dietary changes.
Foods That Fight Inflammation Naturally
Although no one diet will combat inflammation, many different foods have anti-inflammatory properties. Many people advocate for the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on fish, vegetables, and olive oil, all of which are anti-inflammatory. Some of the other foods that are known to fight inflammation naturally include:
- Types of fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and other inflammation-fighting proteins (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and herring)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
- Green tea
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Dark chocolate
- Green leafy vegetables
Adding foods into your diet that are not only anti-inflammatory but high in antioxidants and polyphenols can be extremely beneficial to your body and fighting chronic illness. A natural, less processed diet can have a myriad of positive effects on your emotional, physical, and mental health. Not only can it help reduce inflammation and chronic disease, but it also improves your mood, mental state, and overall quality of life. Avoiding processed meats, soda, fried foods, and refined carbs is a great place to start if you aren’t sure.
If you’ve tried treating inflammation naturally by making dietary changes and integrating the above foods into your diet, yet you are still living in pain, give Texas Partners Healthcare Group a call. We understand how frustrating it can be to live with this type of discomfort. That’s why we are here to do whatever we can to help you. The more we learn about the foods and drinks we put into our body, the better equipped we will be to treat chronic illness and other problems that arise. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your joint health with one of our experts, please contact our Frisco pain management clinic today.