Owners' Blog

Can Diet Help Ease Inflammation?

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

An inflammatory disease is one where the body's immune system sees tissue within the body as an invader. It attacks that tissue or organs and creates serious problems. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the common inflammatory diseases of the joints. Vasculitis is another. With vasculitis, the inflammation damages the blood vessel walls.

Symptoms of a typical inflammatory disease include joint pain and stiffness, swelling, and mobility issues. With vasculitis, the inflammation narrows the blood vessels and causes blockages and blood clots.

There are inflammatory conditions like arthritis that also lead to joint pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis is common in aging and occurs when joint tissue deteriorates over time. With osteoarthritis and inflammatory diseases, the earlier you seek treatments, the better it is for you.

Can Dietary Changes Help?

With any inflammatory disease, reducing inflammation is the best way to get relief. NSAID pain relievers do this. They relieve the pain and swelling. Warm compresses and ice packs can help with swollen, painful joints. Diet is another important step. An anti-inflammatory diet is worth trying.

Rather than focus on a specific menu plan, an anti-inflammatory diet has you focusing your food choices on foods that fight inflammation. Your mom and dad also want to avoid foods that are known to increase inflammatory responses. The foods to avoid are:

  • Fried foods like onion rings or potato chips
  • Margarine
  • Processed foods and meats
  • Red meat
  • Refined carbs like cookies, scones, and white bread
  • Sugary drinks and sodas
  • Add anti-inflammatory foods to your parents' meals and snacks. They include:
  • Berries and citrus fruit
  • Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil

Consider the Mediterranean Diet

Doctors often recommend the Mediterranean to older men and women because it's easy to incorporate. The majority of your parents' meals and snacks should focus on fruits and vegetables. Whole grains, nuts, and seeds are also important. Seafood and dried beans are ideal for getting enough protein. Eggs should be eaten every once in a while. Bread, red meats, and sugary treats are best avoided.

The Mediterranean diet is easy to incorporate into daily meals. If your parents love a bowl of chili in the winter, they can still have it. Use a vegetarian substitute for ground meat or lentils in place of the ground beef. Have grilled fish served over a bed of wilted spinach and a side of couscous instead of fish and chips.

Do your parents stay hydrated? Coffee is also believed to fight inflammation because it's high in polyphenols. Have a lot of water throughout the day. If your parent doesn't love water, add a slice of orange, lime, or lemon.

Home care services offer the support your parents need when inflammation is impacting their lives. Call an agency to learn how.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring home health care in Roswell, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.