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There Are 6 Different Types of Chronic Inflammation—Here’s What To Eat To Combat Each

Are you battling constant migraines, anxiety, rashes, or random mood swings? These all are telltale signs that you may be dealing with some form of chronic inflammation.

According to Maggie Berghoff, , a functional medicine nurse practitioner and author of Eat to Treat, there are six primary types of inflammation—ranging from allergy to stress to digestive-related causes—that indicate there may be an underlying issue at play. It is important to not that as we go through swinging temperatures, seasons, and environmental changes, inflammation is bound to happen from various causes and not all types of inflammation are inherently "bad". Inflammation starts to become an issue when it is chronic, which can have adverse health effects in the long run. Today, WTHN will tell you how you can keep inflammation under control and prevented!

The connection of what you eat to why you are inflamed:

Research has shown that overconsumption of foods such as processed meats and added sugars can increase your risk of inflammation. But certain foods can lend a helping hand in keeping inflammation at ease (along with regular exercise, sleeping well, and stress reduction. Instead of thinking about all the things you can remove from your diet, start with incorporating ingredients instead.

  1. Muscle and Joint Inflammation

If you work out a lot or just take a lot of steps per day on hard surfaces, like concrete or gravel, you are bound to experience some sort of muscle pain and soreness. If you’re experiencing severe muscle and joint inflammation (swelling, stiffness, and pain), try consuming foods high in Omega-3s. This special fat can help decrease inflammation and alleviate pain, she says. Fish like salmon is great for this issue, and can be prepared in various ways! Omega-3 can also be found in olive oil and nuts, so adding pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, and pine nuts can help mitigate inflammation. Try aiming to have a handful of nuts per day, especially after a workout, and eating a salmon meal twice per week.

Additionally, foods high in zinc like seeds and lentils help with muscle growth and repair, as well as with nutrient absorption to heal joints. Lastly make sure to incorporate copper. This may sound random, but copper is actually in many of our common fridge ingredients like spinach, mushrooms, and beans. Eating copper will increase collagen production, relieving and restoring the tension on muscles and joints after exercise.

2. Thyroid Inflammation

Filling your plate with unsaturated fats, protein, and veggies are the name of the game when it comes to thyroid inflammation or hormonal imbalance. Healthy fats are found in avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and proteins (high in omega-3), like salmon, are important for this inflammation type because they can regulate and balance thyroid function, critical for females. Also remember to stay on top of your daily protein intake, with foods like chicken, turkey, or eggs. (30g of protein per meal is the dietitian gold standard.)

3. Inflammation From Sugar

Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that excessive sugar intake is associated with conditions like high blood pressure, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease. To help balance your blood sugar and heal from this inflammation type, start your day with a glass of filtered, high-quality water, followed by a nutrient-dense smoothie or meal that includes healthy fats, protein, greens, and fiber. If you are someone like me who always craves a sweet breakfast over savoury, it's ok! You can still start your morning with a little something sweet but make sure to include a protein on the side like greek yogurt or an egg so you don't have a blood sugar spike.

In addition, swap white flour pasta, rice, bread, and pastries that may influence blood sugar levels for options like red lentil pasta or almond flour tortillas. Even small changes—like making your own DIY salad dressing sans sugar versus buying store-bought options—can have a lasting effect.

4. Psychological Stress

Chronic stress is one of the biggest underlying causes for bodily inflammation. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies can help thanks to their high levels of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and carotenoids that all contribute to a happy mind. Apart from that, it is also important to make sure to honor your cravings (especially depending what time of the month it is). The more you restrict yourself from a certain food, the more you will crave it, and your body will be under stress. So enjoy and indulge while also balancing your diet with nutritious goods!

5. Digestive Inflammation

Are you an IBS girlie, because if you are I got you. Consuming more ginger is a great option thanks to a compound called gingerol that has been scientifically shown to help reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain in the gut. Additionally, functional medicine experts recommend adding foods high in probiotics (kimchi, sauerkraut, and greek yogurt), as well as foods high in fiber (chia seeds, apples, fennel), to help restore the microbiota. If high-fiber foods tend to upset your stomach, cooking them down can help ease digestion.

However, if you're having an active flare-up of stomach issues, it's important to switch gears and focus on hydration and easy-to-digest foods (bananas, applesauce, oatmeal, toast, etc.).

6. Allergies, Asthma, and SKin Inflammation

To support your respiratory system and your skin, eat foods high in vitamin D, such as fatty fishes and whole eggs, since vitamin D is important for maintaining skin health. Vitamin D foods also reduces inflammation in the lungs, which is beneficial if you are a runner or someone who constantly exercises their respiratory organs. I also suggests a possible cut down on high allergenic food like seed oils and some nuts like peanuts or almonds. Though nuts are a great healthy fat and high in Vitamin E, they are a cause for most skin allergies in the world and you might have an allergy to them without even realizing it.

Of course, keeping veggies in the mix will never hurt anyone, but prioritize leafy greens and carrots rich in vitamin A that support skin health. Lastly, avoiding dairy can potentially help with this type of inflammation. Most people who suffer with any skin or allergy-type symptoms feel much better and more clear without dairy in their diet. Try it for a period of time and see how it goes,.


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Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.”
– William Shakespeare

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