More than likely you have experienced some type of inflammation in your body throughout your lifetime, either from an injury or illness.

Inflammation is the body's physical response to start the healing process. Sometimes inflammation is visible with redness or swelling from a wound or sting by a bee. Other times it is not and is known as chronic inflammation. It may go undetected.

Chronic inflammation may increase one's risk for developing health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and some types of cancer.

Recently, more attention has been given to how diet can reduce inflammation. Although more research is needed, several foods that are noted for being anti-inflammatory are already a part of a balanced, healthy diet. Many of the foods suggested for an anti-inflammatory diet consist of whole grains, plant-based proteins such as beans and nuts, fatty fish, fruits and vegetables and herbs and spices.

Many of these foods have also been known for their positive effects on improving cardiovascular disease risk.

Here are some tips to use if you are considering adding more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet.

Eat the rainbow of fruits and vegetables

The more variety in color of the foods you eat the better. Include carrots, berries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli.

Focus on whole grains

This could consist of any combination of oats, brown rice, and quinoa. When purchasing bread and pasta, make sure whole grain is the first ingredient.

Try to include more healthy fats and fatty fish

Oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and lake trout, is optimal. Healthy fats are great for heart health and can be found in olive oil and avocados.

Go nuts

Seeds and nuts such as flaxseed, walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, and almonds are a great snack or salad topping that you can easily incorporate. Try mixing them into yogurt or with cereal for an additional crunch and nutrient punch.

Beans, beans, beans

Beans and legumes can be a great protein source and can be prepared from several sources including dried or canned. Red beans, pinto beans, or black beans are great tasting and are economical options.

Get spicy

Herbs and spices are one of the best way to season food and provide extra flavor.

Incorporating these foods can help regulate your body's inflammation and improve any stress you may be experiencing inside your body.

Source: Heather Norman-Burgdolf, Extension Specialist for Nutrition and Health; Rachel Gillespie, Extension Associate

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