Inflammation occurs when the immune system is activated against any sort of foreign invader in the body. Inflammation is a good thing when the body is acting on a legitimate threat such as a harmful virus or bacteria. It is when inflammation becomes chronic, or is present without any threat, that it becomes harmful.
Chronic inflammation is linked to many serious health problems. These include heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s.
Poor diet choices are a major contributor to chronic inflammation. Foods that are linked to excessive inflammation include refined carbohydrates, fried foods, soda/sugary drinks, red and processed meats and margarine. Not surprisingly these foods that contribute to chronic inflammation are also foods that cause other health problems including obesity.
Foods that help to reduce inflammation tend to be unprocessed and are mostly plant based. These include tomatoes, olive oil, leafy greens, fruit, nuts and fatty fish. Foods that are high in polyphenols and antioxidants also help to protect against inflammation, these include blueberries as well as red wine and dark chocolate.
If you are looking for a diet that incorporates most of the foods found in an inflammation reduction eating program, the Mediterranean diet is a great place to start.