The twenty-first century saw the rapid increase of certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease. Different lifestyle habits are definitely the ones to blame for the onset of these conditions. However, there is another root cause tied to all of these diseases, inflammation.
So, certain anti-inflammatory foods will not only alleviate the symptoms of these diseases, but they can even cure them.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods Can Keep Many Diseases at Bay
Inflammation is a bodily function which should not be necessarily considered a bad thing. When the body experiences some injury or illness, its immune system immediately brings the white blood cells to the affected area through increased blood flow.
This condition can also be followed by pain, swelling, heat, redness and discomfort. For example, we have all experienced that moment of having a scrape or cut on our body. We can see how the area around the wound becomes puffy and hot while there is an increased blood flow.
So, we can say that inflammation is a normal and effective body response that speeds up the process of healing.
Definitely, it is not a normal process when the immune system starts attacking healthy cells and tissues thus bringing about many autoimmune disorders in healthy areas of the body.
In fact, this is how fibromyalgia symptoms, arthritis, irritable and celiac bowel disease occur.
In diseases which are not autoimmune, inflammation plays a significant role since the body tries the heal the affected tissues. So, asthma brings about inflamed airways, inflammation connected with diabetes affects insulin resistance, etc.
According to a study conducted in 2014, 33% of the participants chose not to take the proposed anti-inflammatory diet. The participants who consumed the anti-inflammatory foods experienced significant relief which enabled them to discontinue at least one of their medications.
The Potent Anti-Inflammatory Diet
When it comes to inflammation, it is important to reconsider the typical diets.
According to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, the modern diet can promote protection from macro- and micronutrient deficiencies but the abundance of macronutrients and calories can cause increased inflammation, increased risk of allergies, auto-inflammatory diseases and low control of infections.
Before you move toward anti-inflammatory foods and anti-inflammatory diet, you should move away from the processed and unbalanced diets of the West and apply the Mediterranean eating patterns.
The Mediterranean eating patterns include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, little or no red meat, no meat additives and chemicals and plenty of omega-3 foods.
When it comes to the inflammation and different inflammatory diseases, certain foods deserve to be in the spotlight. They include:
- Antioxidant-rich food
- Essential fatty acids
So, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, sprouted seeds and wild meats will regulate the immune system and affect people’s overall health.
15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Enrich your diet with the following anti-inflammatory foods and your body will experience rapid changes.
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
When fighting inflammation, these vegetables should definitely take place in your fridge. They are high in antioxidants that improve the cellular health and the anti-inflammatory flavonoids. You can also make some anti-inflammatory juices out of these green leafy vegetables.
For example, swiss chard is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, C and K which prevent oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. The consumption of chard also prevents the vitamin K deficiency.
According to current pharmacological studies, celery offers potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels and prevent heart disease.
Also, the celery seeds abound with countless benefits which lower inflammation and fight bacterial infections. It is also high in potassium, vitamins, and antioxidants.
One key factor to body free of inflammation is the balance. So, one good balance is the mineral one which includes a proper combination of sodium foods and potassium-rich foods. Sodium provides nutrients and fluid while potassium eliminates toxins.
So, if we consume food high in sodium but low in potassium, we can build up toxins and lead to inflammation.
3. Bok Choy
Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage is a powerful source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Current studies show that bok choy contains over 70 phenolic substances including hydroxycinnamic acids or robust antioxidants which eliminate free radicals.
Broccoli is one of the most highly utilized and important vegetable for any diet, especially for the anti-inflammatory diet. It is rich in magnesium and potassium, highly important anti-inflammatory minerals.
It is a powerful source of key carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamins which reduce oxidative stress and fight chronic inflammations.
Beets are highly concentrated in antioxidants which can repair the cell damage due to inflammation. It’s betalain in beets, an important anti-inflammatory agent which gives their signature color.
Beets repair cells and provide high levels of magnesium and potassium, potent inflammation-fighting agents. Due to the abundance in magnesium, beets prevent magnesium deficiency, a condition which brings about many inflammatory conditions.
Also, calcium, the crucial mineral for bone health can’t be processed without magnesium. When there is a buildup of calcium in the body, it can cause kidney stones and inflammation.
However, a balanced diet provides both magnesium and calcium-rich food, a combination that processes the consumed food in the proper way.
One of the most important benefits of pineapple is the bromelain which a powerful digestive enzyme. When found in supplement form, bromelain is paired with quercetin.
Along with the anti-inflammatory properties, bromelain is rich in potent immune-modulating qualities or the ability to regulate the immune response which causes unwanted inflammation.
Bromelain also improves heart health by preventing blood clotting. It prevents the blood platelets from sticking to the walls of the blood vessels – important reasons for strokes and heart attacks.
Pineapple provides most of its benefits due to the abundance in vitamin B1, C, manganese, potassium and many other antioxidants that prevent the formation of certain disease.
In addition, pineapple’s powerful phytonutrients reduce the symptoms of some of the most common diseases.
Along with the nutrition value of blueberries, they are rich in one especially potent anti-inflammatory substance, quercetin. It also resides in dark-colored berries, citrus and olive oil. This flavonoid prevails in fresh foods, and it is a powerful anti-inflammation agent.
A particular study for IBD has shown that noni fruit extract affected the gut flora and the colon damage which was a result of the inflammatory disease.
Another study has shown that regular consumption of blueberries improves motor function and memory while reducing cognitive decline. The scientists believe that the antioxidants in blueberries protect the body from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
8. Bone Broth
Bone broth contains minerals which can be easily absorbed in the body such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, Sulphur, silicon and many others. All of these minerals are rich in glucosamine and sulfates, compounds which reduce inflammation, joint and arthritis pain.
In the case of leaky gut syndrome, patients have to consume more bone broth due to the high level of amino acids, collagen, glycine, and proline that can heal the leaky and inflamed gut.
Salmon is a powerhouse of important omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids are the most important anti-inflammatory compounds which relieve inflammation and reduce the use of anti-inflammatory medications.
According to research, these omega-3 acids reduce inflammation, lower the risk of chronic diseases including heart disease and arthritis.
They are mainly concentrated in the brain which points out their importance for cognitive and behavioral function.
However, bear in mind that farmed fish does not contain the same nutritive value as the wild-caught salmon.
10. Coconut Oil
Certain herbs and oils create powerful anti-inflammatory combinations. For example, spices and lipids form potent anti-inflammatory compounds especially turmeric and coconut oil.
According to a study conducted in India, the antioxidant-rich coconut oil reduced arthritis pain and inflammation in a more effective manner than most of the leading medications.
Free radicals and oxidative stress are the most important reasons for osteoporosis. However, coconut oil is the leading natural treatment for this condition due to the high levels of antioxidants and other benefits that fight these free radicals.
If your diet lacks lots of meat, seeds and nuts can provide the needed omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. For a strong anti-inflammatory meal, combine some green leafy salads, omega-3-rich walnuts, and olive oil.
Walnuts are rich in phytonutrients that are hard to find in other foods, and they protect against cardiovascular problems, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Flaxseeds are rich in phytonutrients, omega-3s, and antioxidants. Lignans, specific fiber-related polyphenols which provide many antioxidant benefits for hormone balance, anti-aging, and cellular health.
These polyphenols promote a growth of probiotics in the gut and eliminate candida and yeast in the body.
Note: Make sure you grind them before combining them with some anti-inflammatory foods to enable the digestive tract easy access to most of their benefits.
13. Chia Seeds
The natural fatty acids are more balanced than the ones we typically consume in our diets. Chia seeds are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which should be consumed in balance.
They are rich in potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as important essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, strontium, mucin, vitamins A, B, D, E and minerals including iron, Sulphur, magnesium, iodine, thiamine, manganese and niacin.
What makes them perfect for heart health is their ability to regulate cholesterol, reverse inflammation and lower blood pressure.
Also, they reverse oxidative stress, and people are less prone to develop atherosclerosis.
So much can be written about the benefits of ginger. Used in dried, fresh or as a supplement, ginger is a potent immune modulator that can reduce inflammation resulting from overactive immune responses.
Ginger rose to fame especially in the Ayurvedic medicine due to its ability to boost the immune system. It is believed that because of the warming properties of ginger, it can break down the accumulation of toxins within the organs.
Ginger can cleanse the lymphatic system, treat inflammation in asthmatic and allergic disorders.
One of the most highly praised and important compounds in turmeric is curcumin, the potent anti-inflammatory substance. This compound can fight inflammation in different conditions and provides a range of benefits in an anti-inflammatory diet.
A particular study published in the journal Oncogene evaluated different anti-inflammatory compounds. It has shown that ibuprofen and aspirin are less strong in relation to curcumin, the most potent anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory agents.
Due to these important qualities, turmeric can help people heal rheumatoid arthritis (RA). According to a recent study conducted in Japan, interleukin, the inflammatory cytokine in relation with curcumin can significantly reduce the inflammatory markers in rheumatoid arthritis.
Avoid These Inflammatory Foods
Anti-inflammatory foods tend to be more satisfying than the pro-inflammatory foods. The main reason for this is the combination of trans and saturated fatty acids. These fats increase inflammation thus leading to diabetes, obesity and heart conditions.
If there is no balance between the omega-3 and omega-6s fats, the body is prone to inflammation.
Unfortunately, the University of Maryland Medical Center has found that the typical American diet contains 14-25 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids.
Carbohydrates and refined sugars are inflammation-causing agents, and their consumption should be limited in an anti-inflammatory diet. Instead of refined carbs, you should consume whole grains because they are important powerhouses of nutrition.
You can prevent the onset and return of systemic inflammation with an anti-inflammatory diet and a regular physical activity.
To conclude, with an anti-inflammatory diet, active life and restricted consumption of processed, toxic compounds you will keep the inflammation at bay.
Here’s an Anti-Inflammatory infographic.