Diet can have a profound impact on chronic inflammation. Today, we’ll be sharing with you some useful tips on how to prevent and control chronic inflammation. Eating foods high in antioxidants and essential nutrients can prevent and protect tissue from damage. Large scale longitudinal studies, like the Women’s Health Initiative, suggest: “A diet with appropriate calories that is low in refined carbohydrates, high in soluble fiber, high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, a higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, and high in polyphenols, all have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.”
But what North Americans typically eat is a far cry from those suggestions. The white bread, commercial pastries and deep-fried foods regularly consumed are made from ingredients sorely lacking some of the beneficial nutrients listed above. When it comes to chronic inflammation, increasing consumption of high calorie/low nutrient foods creates ideal conditions for symptoms to worsen.
Chronic inflammation happens over time, often at low levels, and damage occurs at a cellular or metabolic level. The process is complex and involves the immune system attacking the body in areas like blood vessels, brain cells and organs. It triggers physical symptoms like fatigue, aches and pain, diarrhea, memory loss and less obvious issues like hardening of the arteries. It is linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoarthritis and dementia, most of which are associated with aging. But diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis can happen at any time. And research suggests it also plays a role in depression.
Switching to a Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil, plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fish, and lean meat in moderation can have a lasting impact on the symptoms and the onset of disease. These foods are high in antioxidants, which act to counter chronic inflammation. Many of the Mediterranean diet principles are found in national nutrition guidelines like the USDA’s My Plate food guide.
That’s why in creating GOOD TO GO bars, we aimed to use organic ingredients high in antioxidants and essential nutrients like:
Almond flour is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants and is filling. Eating nuts is linked to lower body fat, and research suggests daily consumption of approximately 2 ounces reduces levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.
Inulin is a natural soluble fiber found in chicory root. It acts as a prebiotic, raising bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the gut to counter inflammation at a metabolic level. It increases calcium absorption, reduces calorie intake and lowers blood sugar, glucose and insulin levels.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol sweetener naturally abundant in fruits, vegetables and fermented food like grapes, mushrooms and soy sauce. It has a mildly sweet flavor, zero calories and has no impact on blood sugar levels because the body does not absorb it.
Chia seeds are a superfood high in soluble fiber, protein, calcium, and zinc. Sixty percent of the fat in the seeds is from Omega-3 fatty acids. Cardiovascular research indicates it helps to lower cholesterol, regulate heart rhythms and blood pressure, prevents blood clots and decreases inflammation.
Rosemary extract contains the powerful antioxidant, rosmarinic acid. Portuguese researchers found animals ingesting rosmarinic acid had 60 percent less swelling in their paws than animals not receiving the supplement.
Snacks are an integral part of the daily diet and provide vital fuel to meet everyday activities with vigor and in good health. Taking a proactive approach by choosing and consuming foods according to beneficial dietary principles is a powerful way of dealing with chronic inflammation.