At EuroMed Foundation, we don’t think it’s a coincidence that the acronym for “standard American diet” is “S.A.D.” Although we offer a wealth of alternative cancer treatments, one thing we emphasize above all is the role of diet and nutrition in both preventing and treating cancer.
“Inflammation” is a general term that you may hear often when researching cancer treatments. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and illness. In other words, it’s important. But inflammation that persists for a long time can have an effect on your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses, including cancer.
Chronic inflammation is common and typically goes without symptoms. According to MDAnderson, there are several preventable factors that increase your risk of chronic inflammation:
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Sedentary lifestyle
- A “standard American diet” high in processed foods
Improving your diet can help to curb inflammation, and there’s almost always room to improve! Aiming to replace some animal-based products with plant-based foods, for example, is a good first step to reducing inflammation. Similarly, processed foods such as prepackaged or “instant” foods can contribute to inflammation, as can red meat and foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids.
On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, so it’s important to choose wisely. For example, swapping out corn or sunflower oil in cooking in favor of olive or canola oil can slash omega-6 from your diet. There’s more on these differences between fatty acids in a previous blog post.
Finally, eating at least 1 serving of a fermented food – such as yogurt, kimchi, or kombucha – each day can help reduce inflammation throughout your body. When it comes to S.A.D., a little well-placed attention goes a long way.