March is National Nutrition Month, so it’s the perfect time to consider the healthfulness of what we are putting into our bodies and onto our families’ plates. One of the major dietary concerns is the specter of chronic inflammation. Regular inflammation is part of the immune system’s natural response, mobilizing the body’s resources to fight injury or infection. But when inflammation becomes chronic and persists over a long period of time, it can increase the risk of long-term illness. Diet is one piece of the complex puzzle that we can easily control – making the right nutritional choices can help us minimize inflammation and, with it, the risk of disease.
Chronic inflammation has various potential causes, including long-term stress or illness, environmental toxins, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition – as well as too many processed foods or an otherwise poor diet. In fact, some foods are theorized to exacerbate inflammation in the body, like beef, fast food and foods that spike blood sugar, like refined flour or sugary drinks. Meanwhile, recent studies have shown that dieting and fasting may prompt an anti-inflammatory response.
Those who do not eat enough anti-inflammatory foods may be at risk for a number of chronic and long-term ailments, such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and many cancers and autoimmune diseases. Luckily, simple dietary changes that include anti-inflammation foods can help prevent these conditions and boost overall wellness.