By Courtney Eaton, RDN, LDN
Why should we worry about inflammation? Some inflammation can be a good thing, for example during an injury. Inflammation allows healing of the injury sight. Widespread, systemic, chronic inflammation on the other hand, can actually inhibit the healing process, cause pain and weaken the immune system. Lack of sleep, stress, smoking and some foods can cause inflammation. For the most part, inflammatory foods are generally foods that we should consume in moderation anyway; sugar, red meat and refined grains. Contrarily, healthy fats (olive oil, fatty fish, avocados, nuts, nut butters and seeds); plants; and in some studies spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, oregano and rosemary have been shown to reduce inflammation in our bodies.
Let’s look at some quick tips to help apply this information to your daily life:
- Limit sugar, particularly added sugars. Look at the food label and choose foods in which the sum of the grams of protein and fiber exceed the total grams of sugar.
- Aim to have red meat no more than twice per week.
- Choose fish and shellfish such as shrimp, salmon, tuna, haddock, mackerel, cod, etc. at least twice per week. Salmon burgers and frozen shrimp can make great quick weekday meals!
- Make fruits and vegetables the bulk of your meal. Think: half plate vegetables or two fist sizes at lunch and dinner. Fruit travels great and serves as an excellent snack paired with protein.
- Try to include a healthy fat at each meal and snack. You don’t need a lot, but 1 tablespoon of nut butter, a quarter of an avocado, or a handful of nuts does the trick. Not only does it help reduce inflammation, but it help keep you full!
Have questions? Feel free to shoot Courtney Eaton, RDN, LDN an email or drop her a line at:
*Nutrition counseling is typically covered at 100% by most major insurance plans!