Inflammation and Diet

Inflammation is a protective process you are probably more familiar with than you think. Inflammation is the body’s method of healing itself in response to an injury or exposure to a harmful substance. This is useful when, for example, skin is healing from a cut; however, inflammation is not always beneficial.

Chronic (or ongoing) inflammation occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells leading to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, states of immune deficiency including Crohn’s disease or skin conditions like psoriasis. Underlying chronic inflammation also may play a role in heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Evidence supporting the impact of specific foods on inflammation in the body is limited. We know that some foods have the capacity to suppress inflammation, but it is unclear how often and how much is needed for this benefit. Though there is promising research for the impact of foods such as fatty fish, berries and tart cherry juice, but beware of anything touted as an anti-inflammatory miracle.

“Current science advocates overall good nutrition to help enhance the body’s immune system and provide antioxidants to reduce inflammatory stress,” explains Cheryl Orlansky, registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator.

“Healthy fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, reduce inflammation and help regulate membrane function,” says Orlansky. These types of fats should be included in a healthy diet. “Remove those fats that turn on inflammatory processes, such as saturated fat from meats, butter, cream sauces, fried foods and trans fat found in many processed foods,” Orlansky says.

Having the knowledge and a healthy diet can go a long way in preventing chronic inflammation and keeping your immune system in check. If you think you may be experiencing chronic inflammation, contact your doctor who can create a nutritional dietary plan to ease your symptoms. If you are experiencing sudden symptoms of inflammation or illness, visit Integra Urgent Care today and one of our trusted providers can provide you with the care you need.

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