If you owned a television in the 1970s or 1980s, you might remember two polysyllabic words that were so common in advertisements back then that they became forever a part of the dietary lexicon:
Indeed, cereal makers, in particular, chomped at the bit to frame their product as part of a balanced breakfast and an essential step towards a healthy lifestyle. (Here’s a fun trip down memory lane, just to ping the memories of how casual marketing was back during the golden era of cartoons).
Not to take anything away from Tony the Tiger, but there’s a lot more to balanced nutrition than refined carbs and sugars. For Haka Life Warriors, this is particularly true when we’re discussing joint pain and inflammation. Whether you’re working to get back to doing the activities you used to love back then, or simply trying to round out a healthy lifestyle, consider these foods to optimize your anti-inflammatory diet.
Foods to compliment a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids
When consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s not just about omega-3s. Other foods play a primary role in keeping your body healthy and free of joint pain and inflammation. And, most of these foods are actually quite delicious (we aren’t kidding — you’ll look forward to mealtime even more when you know you won’t have to feel guilty afterward!)
When you do reach for that bowl of cereal or a glass of milk, make sure the dairy you use is of the reduced-fat variety. Full-fat dairy products are known to trigger inflammation because they are high in saturated fats. As much as we love cheese, we try to avoid softer cheeses (with the notable exception of those little bite-sized portions served at dinner parties ;-)) because they can be tougher to digest.
Inside the bowl of cereal, opt for whole grains and avoid cereals, granolas, or oatmeal dishes that have high amounts of added sugar-coated fruits. A healthy, inflammation-busting alternative to the highly processed cereals is a bowl of Kashi whole-grain cereal with almond milk or soy milk. Slice up a strawberry or add a small handful of fresh blueberries, and you’ve got not only a great healthy meal, but a load of omega-3s to boot.
And, pour that coffee proudly. The Telegraph reported that coffee has been found by Harvard Medical School to have anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s Disease and diabetes. Now that’s worth another shot of espresso!
In general, the more processed a food item is, the worse it’s going to be for inflammation and digestion because your body is going to have to work harder to break it down. Contrast this with how you feel so great after eating a fresh green salad — the raw vegetables are easy to digest and your body is able to put their benefits to use quickly and efficiently throughout the body.
Fresh vegetables should form the basis of any anti-inflammatory diet. The more colorful the better — if you find yourself at a salad bar, try to see how many different colors you can squeeze onto a single plate. Add the recommended daily serving amount of fresh fruit and you’re well on your way to stopping joint pain in its tracks.
Foods to avoid when trying to combat inflammation
Of course, with every item added to the list, there’s something that is better left to the side. When developing your anti-inflammation diet, it’s best to keep focused on all-natural vegetables and fruits, along with nuts, whole grains, and an Omega-3 supplement.
One thing that you should consider minimizing is red meat, particularly of the high-fat variety (such as the popular 80/20 ground beef often sold at supermarkets). Because red meat contains a lot of cholesterol and saturated fats, it is known to trigger inflammation. Full-fat dairy products can have the same effect — high in saturated fats.
Also, avoid canned foods with high amounts of sodium or trans-fats. Canned sauce can be tricky, as some basic tomato sauces are simple and pure while other canned sauces are loaded with sodium. Canned soups also tend to be high in sodium and have a lot of added stabilizing ingredients, which can trigger inflammation among other unhealthy side effects.
Anything with refined sugars or carbohydrates should be avoided. The last thing you want to is off-set the positive inflammation-busting results of GLX3 and the rest of your joint-healthy diet — and as delicious as that slice of cheap white bread might be with a slather of jam on top, it’s not helping. The same goes for that bowl of sugary breakfast cereal — who needs cookies first thing in the morning, anyhow?
Alcohol, especially in excess, can trigger inflammation as well.
That’s all for now. We’re off to binge-watch old episodes of Duck Tales.
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