There two kinds-acute and chronic- both have very different effects on the body. Acute inflammation is necessary after an injury or infection because it aids in the healing process. Chronic inflammation (aka low-grade, 'systemic'), however, appears to play a role in many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, the development of metabolic syndrome and certain cancers. Research is growing and we're starting to see that diet influences inflammation.
What is the Dietary Inflammatory Index Score?
Researchers at University of South Carolina (USC) developed an index of 45 foods, nutrients and phytochemicals based on 1,943 studies in a global literature review investigating the inflammatory potential of various foods and food components. The foods below were derived from this list. This food index is the first of its kind and the researchers at USC are looking to develop the index as a tool for health professionals and consumers alike.
Foods and nutrients that are considered anti-inflammatory (have the most protective effects)
Omega-3 fatty acids
Are you getting enough of these in your diet or are you eating too many of the ones listed below?
Trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol are noted to contribute the most to inflammation and should therefore be limited.
Limit foods high in these nutrients such as red meats, stick margarine, highly processed foods, fried foods, and baked goods.
Also, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use…both cause inflammation and are proven unhealthy.
*Although research on the link between diet and inflammation is ongoing, it's important to eat a well-balanced diet consisting mostly of plants.
Bauer, B. 2014. Buzzed on Inflammation. Mayo Clinic Health Letter.
American Institute for Cancer Research. Pro-Inflammatory Diet Linked to Colorectal Cancer, Poor Metabolic Health.