The anti-inflammatory diet

Reduce your risk of chronic inflammation and ease the symptoms of arthritis by paying attention to what you eat.

Anti-inflammatory foods

When most people think of inflammation, an image of a swollen joint such as a sprained ankle pops into their mind. But this is not the only kind of inflammation -- in fact, inflammation is the body's first line of defense against a multitude of harmful invaders, such as unwanted bacteria, viruses and other nasty critters. The inflammatory process has several soldiers in the form of white blood cells that act as protecting agents when the body is attacked.

Although this process is critical in maintaining the balance of health, researchers and scientists have now demonstrated that problems occur when the inflammatory process becomes chronic and no longer "switches off." Unfortunately, today's go-go-go lifestyle and fast-food world create a breeding ground for chronic inflammation to develop.

Recent studies have clearly demonstrated that long-term inflammatory reactions are linked to numerous disease processes such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and type II diabetes. Luckily, there are very powerful natural steps that can be taken to keep inflammation at bay.

5 foods to eat
The following foods and supplements contain natural anti-inflammatory properties and should be included in the diet three to four times per week.

1. Cold-water fish
Cold-water fish offer a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids in the form of DHA (docosohexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid). This type of fat contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to be beneficial in helping those with heart disease, arteriosclerosis, depression, attention deficit disorder and allergies. Wild Atlantic salmon, herring, sardines and light tuna are all great options to include in the diet.

2. Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with plant nutrients called phytochemicals that prevent and can even reverse the inflammatory process. Unfortunately, according to a recent large-scale study conducted by Statistics Canada, most Canadians are eating far too few servings of fruits and vegetables. When planning meals, try to include five to 10 servings of produce per day. How much is one serving? It can be:

• 1 medium-sized fruit or vegetable
• 1/2 cup of juice
• 1 cup of salad
• 1/2 cup of canned or frozen fruits or vegetables

Also, the more colourful the fruit or vegetable, the more nutrition and disease-fighting value it contains. Look for red, purple, green, yellow and orange options, and include a variety of colours in every meal.

Page 1 of 2 - Read page two to find out why you should try fish oil supplements

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