Inflammation is extremely dangerous because you can’t necessarily feel it. Sure, you might feel it when you stub your toe or have a cold, but that’s fleeting. Chronic systemic inflammation, however, can boost your chances of getting a severe illness.
Battling chronic inflammation isn’t about taking a pill or treating it like you would a fire by attempting to douse it in water. Instead, preventing or managing inflammation is about small daily actions. The more frequently you do these things, the less likely it is that your body will be in an inflammatory state, thereby reducing the risk of illnesses like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Diet plays a big role in inflammation. Gut bacteria are largely determined by dietary habits and have the potential to either promote or suppress inflammation. Some foods, therefore, enhance inflammation, while others work to fight it. The food choices you make each day can play a major outcome in overall health.
Particular foods that can promote a healthy gut bacterial population and fight/prevent inflammation include:
- Fruits and vegetables: Reaching for fruit when you’re craving something sweet is a great way to build a healthy gut. Rich in fiber, polyphenols, and antioxidants, fruit and vegetables are perhaps the biggest dietary boon to silencing inflammation. Opt for a side of veggies when you’re eating meat, sandwiches, or even as a light snack.
- Nuts and seeds: There is plenty of research showing that heart-healthy nuts and seeds play a role in reducing inflammatory markers. Consuming about a handful of nuts or seeds per day (unsalted, not candied) is associated with a lower risk for inflammatory conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
- Tea and coffee: Coffee and tea—particularly green tea—are great sources of flavonoids, polyphenols, and other antioxidants. Don’t add too much milk and keep sweeteners like sugar and syrups to a minimum. Sugars, syrups, and sweeteners can quickly turn these beverages into pro-inflammatory foods.
Preventing and managing inflammation is a long-term game based on small daily choices. Thankfully, including more of these items at any age can produce results and help battle against existing conditions.