Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.
Inflammation. You have undoubtedly heard the word, but do you understand everything it encompasses?
First, you should know that Inflammation is actually a good thing. It is important because it is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, according to WebMD.
The trouble is, inflammation can sometimes be triggered unnecessarily and excessively, and that’s when problems of joint pain and swelling come in. And although it is not proven that inflammation causes cardiovascular disease, it may be a risk factor because it facilitates plaque and blood clots in the blood vessels, according to the American Heart Association. Inflammation is commonly found in people with heart disease and those who have had a stroke.
Recent research also suggests that inflammation inside the body plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, and a study from the UK published in 2008 shows that chronic inflammation is linked to weight gain.
So, what can you do? You should talk to your doctor to come up with a plan of action which may include lifestyle changes or medications. If a change of diet is in order, try some of the following foods which have been shown to help with excess inflammation.
14 foods to consider
1. Fish. Choose fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Be certain to cook these fish in healthy ways, such as baking, broiling, or grilling. Eating fish three times per week can help ward off inflammation. Several small studies have found that fish oil helps reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints, according to University of Maryland Medical Center.
2. Whole grains. Whole grains, as opposed to highly processed grains, can help with inflammation. Quinoa is often overlooked, but it is high in fiber and protein. Whole grains may lower your level of C-reactive protein (CRP), a sign of inflammation in the body, according to WebMD.
3. Dark, leafy greens. Kale, broccoli, and spinach are good choices. PubMed notes that pre-studies of nitrate, which is found in leafy green vegetables, show its potential to protect against inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation mentions other research that suggests eating vitamin K-rich vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or kale dramatically reduces inflammatory markers in the blood.
4. Nuts are high in fiber and full of “good fats.” They also make for great snacks. “Multiple studies confirm the role of nuts in an anti-inflammatory diet,” José M. Ordovás, PhD, director of nutrition and genomics at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, told the Arthritis Foundation. One such study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011, found that eating nuts reduced the risk of dying from an inflammatory disease like RA.
5 and 6. Low-fat dairy and soy products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has indicated that eating 25 grams of soy protein daily helps reduce your risk of inflammation-driven cardiovascular disease, according to EatingWell.
7, 8, and 9. Peppers, tomatoes, and beets. Tomatoes and peppers are part of the nightshade family, meaning they produce an alkaloid called solanine. Some argue that this compound actually aggravates inflammation, but no formal studies have proven this to be true. Bell peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical used in topical creams to reduce pain and inflammation. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the lungs and throughout the body, according to Fox News Health. Proceed with caution with nightshades and talk to your doctor if you notice your symptoms getting worse after eating them.
10 and 11. Garlic and onions. Spices such as ginger and turmeric are also a good way to add great flavor and reap anti-inflammatory benefits. On SpringerLink, a study from the Arthritis Research and Therapy journal details the anti-inflammatory effects of garlic.
12. Olive oil. Olive oil has many heart-healthy fats and also contains oleocanthal, which has properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and can reduce pain sensitivity. Use extra virgin olive oil in cooking and on salads.
13 and 14. Berries and cherries. The antioxidants in fresh fruits and vegetables help your body fight off free radicals that can cause cellular damage. Additionally, research has shown that anthocyanins found in cherries and other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, have an anti-inflammatory effect, according to the Arthritis Foundation and Healthline.