You may have more power to improve your health than you realize. Health and diet experts, such as Andrew Weil, M.D., believe that a diet rich in whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce inflammation which can cause disease. Although inflammation is part of the body’s healing response, chronic inflammation contributes to cardiovascular disease, cancers, and other serious conditions. What triggers chronic inflammation? The usual culprits — stress, smoking, lack of exercise, and a diet high in saturated fat, hydrogenated oils, and refined sugar — are major contributors.
The good news is that a wide variety of foods can help to reduce inflammation and associated health problems. Some of your favorite foods are probably on the list! According to MetabolismAdvice.com, anti-inflammatory foods include apples, avocados, blueberries, strawberries, and other delicious fresh fruits. Good vegetable choices include sweet potatoes and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and brussels sprouts. Choose produce in a variety of colors, such as orange, green, blue and red, to ensure a variety of nutrients.
Experts increasingly agree that hydrogenated oils, such as shortening and margarine, should be avoided altogether. Extra virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed canola oil seem to be the healthiest choices for dietary fat. Anti-inflammatory advocates recommend protein from plant sources, such as beans. Oily fish, such as salmon and sardines, are bebeficial in moderation. Incidentally, this type of fish, as well as flax seed oil and hemp seed oil, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In recent years, omega-3s have received praise for cardiovascular and other health benefits.