Eating the right foods and getting regular exercise is good for your health. But it does more than help lower your cholesterol and the number on your scale. Healthy food and regular exercise also help fend off illnesses such as Alzheimer's and cancer by reducing inflammation. Talk to your doctor about how diet and exercise improve chronic inflammation and your overall health.
Fruits and Veggies
To reduce inflammation in your body, make fruits and vegetables the focus of your meals, filling up half your plate. The antioxidants and polyphenols in fruits and vegetables help your body fight inflammation, according to Harvard Health Publications. Fruits and vegetables especially rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients includes blueberries, strawberries, apples, cherries, kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, tomatoes and chard.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential fatty acids that help reduce inflammation. To get more inflammation-reducing omega-3s, try to eat 3.5 ounces of fatty fish twice a week. Fish isn't the only source of the anti-inflammatory fat; you can also get your omega-3s from walnuts, flaxseeds and flax oil, pumpkin seeds, soybeans and soybean oil.
Healthy Fats, Herbs and Spices
Foods that add flavor to your food, such as olive oil, herbs and spices, also help reduce inflammation. Like fruits, veggies and fish, healthy oils and other fats contain compounds such as phenols that help your body fight inflammation. Other healthy fat choices on your anti-inflammatory diet include nuts such as almonds, seeds and avocados. Herbs and spices, such as ginger, garlic, oregano and turmeric, are rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants.
A study published in 2012 in Current Pharmaceutical Design found that regular exercise reduces inflammatory markers for heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. That's a 30-minute bike ride or brisk walk five days a week. Strength-training exercise that works out all your major muscle groups twice a week is also recommended. Examples include situps, squats and pushups.