TAMPA, Fla. — What you're putting on your plate plays a big role in your overall health. Foods can worsen inflammation in the body, causing tissue destruction and disease over time.
“There’s a lot of research to show that many of our chronic diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, many of the cancers, cardiovascular disease show that those diseases have an upregulated inflammatory response,” Dr. Tanuja Sharma, family medicine physician for Tampa General Hospital explains.
She says, “chronic inflammation, over time, can lead to disease and so the goal is to keep our inflammation, in fact, low.”
Diet can go a long way in helping to curb inflammation. Dr. Sharma says she tells patients to avoid red and processed meats, sugary foods and drinks, trans fats and fried food. Oils like canola, vegetable and sunflower are also inflammatory and are found in several packaged foods.
“If you eat these foods day to day, you’re prolonging your inflammation and later on, after years it can develop into disease,” Sharma explains.
She says, “I actually recommend the anti-inflammatory diet and that is a healthy combination of the Mediterranean diet as well as some Asian dietary eating patterns.”
The best options to include in your regular diet are fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and lentils. Dr. Sharma says to start building these healthy habits in kids to promote long-term benefits.