Inflammation is the body’s physical response to an infection or injury. These days, the term ‘anti-inflammatory’ is used so often you’d be forgiven for thinking that any kind of inflammation is bad for the body. But, at the right times and in the right amount, inflammation is crucial to our survival.
It’s when inflammation becomes chronic or long-term that it can start to cause problems. Studies suggest links between chronic inflammation and diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. A newer area of research links poor gut health with instances of chronic inflammation.
Where it is chronic, treating the root cause of the inflammation is the first port of call. If chronic inflammation is triggered by being overweight, then a doctor might suggest adopting a healthy diet combined with exercise. Or, for example, if toxins from cigarette smoke are the reason for long-term inflammation, then a doctor might prescribe a program to help the patient quit.
While not providing the whole solution, anti-inflammatory foods are a great way to help keep inflammation in check. For those who don’t suffer from chronic inflammation, they’re simply a nutritious addition to a healthy diet.
But what do they look like? How can you get more of them into your daily diet? We asked Kellie Bilinski, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, to share some pointers for boosting a diet with anti-inflammatory foods.