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What is the Link Between Inflammation and Diet?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Inflammation and diet are thought to be closely linked because certain types of food encourage the body to produce inflammatory chemicals. Foods that contain a lot of saturated fats, for example, are thought to increase inflammation. Other foods which may have a similar effect include potatoes and tomatoes. To reduce inflammation, a person’s diet should mainly consist of fresh seafood, poultry, and vegetables. Dietary supplements, such as Omega-3 tablets, can also assist in reducing inflammation.

Many people are familiar with inflammation because it is the body’s natural defense against injury and illness. Inflammation is also associated with chronic pain such as arthritis. There is some evidence to suggest, however, that excessive inflammation can cause other issues such as heart problems and even Alzheimer’s disease. This sort of runaway inflammation is thought to be more common in people with an inflammatory diet.

Some people believe that inflammation and diet are strongly linked, and by making dietary changes, the chances of developing serious diseases are decreased. There are lots of foods that could potentially cause inflammation. Junk food, which often contains a lot of fat and sugar, can contribute to an increased amount of inflammation. Trans and saturated fats are particularly bad, along with processed meats.

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The link between inflammation and diet is not always straightforward, however, because a healthy diet is not necessarily anti-inflammatory. If a person wants to minimize the inflammation risk in the diet, for example, eating vegetables like potatoes and tomatoes, which are often thought to be healthy, may not be a good idea. It is also important to consume a balanced and varied diet, so it may not be possible to consume only anti-inflammatory foods. Instead, a person should aim for a balance.

Foods which help to reduce inflammation include poultry, seafood, and certain types of nuts. Red meat may not always be inflammatory, as long as it’s eaten in moderation; a person trying to address the inflammation and diet connection should only consume lean cuts of the meat. Food which contains Omega-3 fatty acid, such as walnuts and oily fish, can assist with inflammation reduction. Other anti-inflammation foods include seeds, berries, and fruit.

Supplements can also help to reduce inflammation. It is recommended that people who consume less than four portions of fresh fish a week should take Omega-3 supplements. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), while effective at reducing inflammation, can have negative side effects if taken for long periods of time.

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Discuss this Article

strawCake
Post 4

@KaBoom - Eating a balanced diet does seem very sensible. However, I can see a few instances where it might be beneficial to follow an anti-inflammatory diet.

I think if you have an illness related to inflammation changing your diet would be a great idea! As the article mentioned, a lot of medications, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, have unpleasant side effects in the long term. If you can reduce your symptoms with diet instead, I think that would be a better than taking a lot of medication for a long period of time.

KaBoom
Post 3

I'm not sure I buy the whole idea of inflammation. I know it's a real thing, but I feel like it's been kind of "trendy" over the last few years. I always notice that every few years a new health "thing" pops up and we're supposed to eat a certain way. Then a few years later it's something else! I don't see how anyone can keep up.

I think it's a good idea to just do as the article mentions and just eat a balanced diet! And I really don't think you could eat a very balanced diet just eating anti-inflammatory foods.

That being said, I don't think taking an Omega-3 supplement would be a bad idea. Supposedly Omega-3 is also good for your heart and a few other things too.

seag47
Post 2

Well, this is good news to me. I basically live off of seafood, chicken, nuts, and vegetables, so maybe I won’t be developing any inflammation any time soon.

I love asparagus, green beans, black beans, and corn. I don’t particularly care for tomatoes, and I’m not crazy about processed meats or junk food. Also, I always cut the fat off of meat before I cook it.

I am at the age where I could easily develop arthritis. I haven’t had any problems so far, even though all my friends have. They don’t eat nearly as well as I do, though.

cloudel
Post 1

I can understand why tomatoes are inflammatory, because they are so acidic. They even burn my tongue and mouth a little. The fact that potatoes are also inflammatory is hard to grasp.

Potatoes have just about the opposite taste of tomatoes. They have a muted, soft flavor. It’s hard to fathom that they could cause anything to flare up.

Maybe I just wish it weren’t so, because I love potatoes and eat them every day in some form. I also suffer from arthritis pain, and that could be why. I almost would rather continue eating potatoes and take more medication for the pain than stop consuming them.

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