The science keeps getting louder and stronger all the time – chronic inflammation in your body is never a good thing and can only cause problems. The good news is that there is something you can do about that.
In addition to exercise and other positive lifestyle changes, such as good sleep and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels, we know that a whole-food, plant-based vegan diet can help reduce levels of chronic inflammation and set you on the high road to better health.
What is Inflammation?
For all its bad press, inflammation is actually a natural function of your body’s immune system, or defense, response to infections or injury. In fact, acute, meaning temporary inflammation, is a required process for your body to be able to heal itself from infection or injury.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can be described as a baseline level of perpetual inflammation in your body, and it’s not helpful at all. In fact, it can lead to chronic diseases such as joint pain from arthritis or fibromyalgia.
The list of diseases linked to chronic inflammation in the body keeps growing – everything from cancer and heart disease to diabetes, neurogenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and chronic inflammatory diseases such as periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and the list seems to keep growing.
As researchers discover chronic inflammation to be a common factor in an increasing number of conditions. Some believe that chronic inflammation may provide a “unifying theory of disease,” in other words, that it may be a common causative factor in a substantial percentage of non-infectious degenerative diseases. (1)
Unfortunately, these inflammatory processes get going when you eat the wrong food. Even low-grade inflammation can be a problem.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be rid of these horrible conditions?
With some luck and an emphasis on a whole foods, which by nature is an anti-inflammatory diet, you can get make progress at reversing these conditions.
Health food in the form of plants is the answer.
In this video see my Top 15 anti-inflammatory
Recipes in this link: “15 Plant-Based Recipes to Soothe Inflammation.”
You Are What You Eat: Diet and Inflammation
Food matters – what we eat on a regular basis can substantially raise or lower the level of chronic inflammation in our body, and this may be the reason why certain dietary patterns are associated with health while others are associated with higher rates of illness.
Eating a plant-based diet is the best way to make a difference.
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are believed to reduce levels of chronic inflammation while red meat and other types of animal protein increase it. (2) What is it about these plant foods that make the difference?
It’s what are called the “non-nutritive” factors, meaning that the anti-inflammatory effects don’t stem from vitamins, minerals, or proteins, for instance. Instead, anti-inflammatory effects derive from carotenoids and flavonoids, both of which are believed to reduce inflammation by affecting “inflammatory signaling,” basically the inflammation-promoting communications within our bodies.
Carotenoids are fat-soluble yellow, orange, and red plant pigments such as those found in carrots, oranges, acorn and spaghetti squash, mangoes, tomatoes, watermelon, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, and other yellow, orange or red plant foods.
But appearances aren’t everything – some plant foods of different colors, such as leafy greens like kale, parsley, and spinach, also contain carotenoids.
Because they are fat-soluble, carotenoids need to be eaten with some fat in order for them to be properly absorbed by the body. Animals, and that includes us humans, can’t manufacture carotenoids and can only get them from food.
Flavonoids, on the other hand, are found in almost all fruits and vegetables and also play a role in the colorful appearance of these foods. Plant foods that are especially high in flavonoids include blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, celery, almonds, and romaine lettuce.
Take Control of Your Health
The health benefits of eating a whole-food, plant-based diet are well-known. They will help correct your body’s natural response to poor food and put you on the path to recovery!
Fruits and vegetables, especially the ones summarized below – and whole wheat, are crucially important for keeping your body free of chronic inflammation and chronic pain. Smoothies, such as my V-8, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Cherry, Mint Chocolate, Heart Healthy, Healing Turmeric, and Green Berry smoothies, are a great way to ensure you’re getting lots of inflammation-reducing fruits and vegetables.
Of course, you can’t live on smoothies alone! Good news – all the recipes on my Plantbasedcooking.com site contain anti-inflammatory plant foods, so you can’t go wrong!
While most all plant foods are anti-inflammatory, here are some of the best:
- Acorn and spaghetti squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Red bell peppers
- Kale, Swiss chard, and spinach
- Romaine lettuce
- Whole grains
- Green tea
Has a healthy lifestyle of eating a plant-based diet reduced inflammation and helped you heal? I hope you get on board a plant-based diet for optimal health and start healing today.
If you have a story to share about overcoming chronic inflammation, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Bon appetit!