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6 foods that help reduce inflammation

After a heavy cleanse, it is often said that a person will have less inflammation, but what exactly does that mean and how does it relate to food?
Inflammation is defined as swelling, which is often red, hot or painful, in the body due to injury. Inflammation is brought on by the body as a way of protecting the injured area from further damage. The immune system dispatches white blood cells to the area to fight bacteria, viruses and foreign organisms.
Sometimes inflammation occurs without a threat to the body, and this is an autoimmune disease, like arthritis or asthma. In this case, the white blood cells actually attack and damage healthy tissues; the body attacks itself. This reaction is quite often connected to the foods we eat and sensitivities we may have when we eat them, much like an allergic reaction. If the inflammation is not caused by food, it can often be helped by food.

These are 6 foods that help decrease inflammation in the body.

1. Garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric - These strong flavors actually work a lot like NSAIDs, the medication given for inflammation.

2. Dark leafy greens - These are full of vitamin E which has been shown to fight inflammation.

3. Tomatoes and beets - The lycopene in tomatoes and the antioxidant properties of beets help heal the body.

4. Whole Grains -The additional fiber reduces an inflammation causing protein in the blood.

5. Tart cherries and berries - The anthocyanins in berries has proven to reduce inflammation and tart cherries are considered to have the most effective anti-inflammatory properties of all foods.

6. Healthy plant based fats like olive oil and avocados - The phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oil are a natural anti-inflammatory in the body.

Most of these foods would be found on a cleanse in some capacity resulting in less inflammation throughout the body.

There are also many foods that tend to aggravate inflammation. Here are 6 to avoid:

1. White Sugars and sweets - New research shows that sugar (especially processed sugar) is one of the most addictive and highly inflammatory substances out there. The good news is that you don't have to upset your sweet tooth completely, instead, choose fruit when the cravings strike.

Learn more about Your Sugar Detox Guide.

2. Saturated fats - These foods cause inflammation in fat tissue leading to heart disease and arthritic attacks. Avoid dairy, fatty meats, butter and cooking oils.

3. Processed Carbohydrates - Common culprits here are breads, white rice, cookies, crackers, instant potatoes and French fries.

4. Mono-sodium Glutamate (MSG) - This common additive incites chronic inflammation. It is an extremely common additive in spices, rubs, fast foods, prepared soups and dressings, deli meats and Asian food.

5. Alcohol - Yes, that's right. Your martinis can cause more than a hangover. Alcohol disrupts liver function and is therefore considered a threat to the body. Inflammation is created to protect you.

6. Gluten - This particularly includes barley and rye. If you experience inflammation after ingesting any gluten product, you probably have a gluten sensitivity. Does this mean you should remove all these things from your diet? No. Simply pay attention to your body's reaction to these foods, so you can be aware what it considers a foreign substance and potentially harmful. If you have no reaction to these foods, then your body tolerates them.

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