Do Anti-Inflammatory Diets Work?

fillet of salmon fish and salad

One of the hardest health issues to diagnose, even with the significant role that blood analysis plays in modern medicine, is the root cause of chronic inflammation. 

 

This is mostly because there are are a number of potential causes of chronic inflammation and the exact issue can be difficult to pin down even after blood tests.

 

One of the potential solutions to chronic inflammation that is commonly suggested is a change to an anti-inflammatory diet and, in this article, we’ll be looking at exactly how effective these anti-inflammatory diets can be.

What Is Chronic Inflammation?

The most common form of inflammation is acute inflammation. Acute inflammation, or swelling, is normally in response to a foreign substance entering the body, the triggering of an allergic, or an injury. 

 

Acute inflammation is part of your body’s natural self-defense mechanism and should subside when the threat to your health passes. Chronic inflammation, by comparison, persists when there is no direct threat to you body and the swelling has a negative effect on your health.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation?

Symptoms of chronic inflammation include:

 

  • Joint pain
  • Skin rashes
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Low energy despite enough sleep
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Loose stool
  • Changes in mood or irritability

What Is an Anti-inflammatory Diet

Anti-inflammatory diets are not a monolith and there isn’t one single diet that can be prescribed. However, the typical approach includes a balanced diet of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and even foods you might consider unhealthy, such as dark chocolate and red wine.

 

Common parts of an anti-inflammatory diet include:

 

  • Olive oil and olives
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
  • Herbs and spices (i.e., turmeric, ginger, and rosemary)
  • Fruits (i.e., strawberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges)
  • Whole grains
  • Dark chocolate

 

All of these foods are included in many anti-inflammatory diets because they are considered to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Can an Anti-inflammatory Diet Help With Chronic Inflammation

Making a change to your diet, particularly to a more healthy diet, can make a real difference in your health and, while a change in diet is not a replacement for effective medication, it can work alongside that medication to assist in keeping chronic inflammation in check.

 

If you do feel like you could benefit from adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, it is best to speak to your doctor first, especially if you are taking any particular anti-inflammatory medication.

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Written by:
Jenette Ashcraft, N.C.M.A.
Allied Health Department Director
R.M.A. National Education Center