It’s very critical that we choose the foods that boost immune system if we are to reduce inflammation in the body.
While we may opt for good quality foods, eating bigger portions may not work to our advantage as well, as too much of anything is not good, therefore, moderation and diversity are key.
Inflammation is necessary as it forms part of the natural healing process of tissue injuries from infection.
It also protects our bodies against foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, toxic chemicals among others.
Certain foods may reduce inflammation while some may evoke inflammation response which can raise the risk of chronic inflammation thus causing the development of chronic diseases.
Inflammation may become counterproductive when the immune system is activated and mistakes the healthy tissues and cells for foreign invaders and start attacking them, thus resulting in chronic inflammation.,
” The inflammation process has one goal: to respond immediately to detect and destroy toxic material in damaged tissues before it can spread throughout the body” explained Lauren Whitt Ph. D UAB Employee Wellness Director and adjunct professor of personal health”
” The trouble with inflammation occurs when the defense system gets out of control and begins to destroy healthy tissue and cause more damage than the original tissue” ScienceDaily
As experts normally recommend, a healthy and balanced diet, among other factors may save us the need to use medication, sometimes, as prevention is better than the cure.
Without a waste of time, let’s find out which foods are anti-inflammatory. Stay tuned.
Foods Associated With Inflammation
Unhealthy foods along with obesity are also found to drive inflammation
- Processed carbohydrates: cookies, pasta, pastries, flour, etc.
- Processes meats: sausages, colony, burgers etc
- Deep fried foods: french fries etc
- Margarine: Margarine are rich with omega-6 and less omega -3. The imbalance thereof result in some health complications due to chronic inflammation.
- Drinks: soda
Foods That Keep The Unnecessary Triggers of Inflammation At Bay
According to research anti-inflammatory foods may reduce inflammation levels and thereby preventing the development of certain diseases purely because they are plant based foods rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals.
Anti-inflammatory foods also include omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish. “The most important aspects of such anti-inflammatory diet is the stabilization of insulin resistance and the reduction of the reduced intake of omega -6 fatty acid- Pubmed
Inflammation plays a key role in a natural part of healing process but can lead to chronic inflammation when it prolongs and may cause long term damage.
The following foods can alleviate the effects of inflammation:
Among other leafy greens, spinach has anti-inflammatory properties and is packed with vitamin C, K and E.
It is also rich in antioxidants which boost immunity and protect the cells from oxidation.
Tomatoes are reported to have anti-inflammatory activities due to lycopene or carotenoid present in them.
They are thought to have the potential health benefits due to cancer and cardiovascular preventive effects possessed by lycopene in tomatoes. The claims are not supported by a lot of studies and further studies are required.
Betalain in beetroot has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemo-prentive properties.
According to research “beetroot is considered a promising therapeutic treatment in range of clinical pathologies associated with oxidative stress and inflammation”
According to Wikipedia, oranges originate from ancient China and are the most cultivated fruit in the world. They are rich in vitamin c which is useful for the strengthening the immune system.
Oranges have anti-inflammatory properties due to the polyphenols present in them. They are also packed with carotenoids, limonene, potassium and manganese.
Cherries are nutrient dense. Both sweet and tart cherries are rich in vitamin c and polyphenols, fiber, carotenoids and potassium.
A number of studies were conducted and it was found that the ingestion of sweet and tart cherries can promote health by decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation.
Research further indicates that cherries are also a rich source of tryptophan and serotonin as well as melanin. These hormones are known to elevate mood and improves the quality of sleep, respectively.
Reports “show the effects of consuming cherries on arthritis, and diabetes, blood lipids, sleep, cognitive functions and possibly mood.” Further studies are needed.
Anthocyanins are believed to have antioxidants, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-carcinogen, anti-inflammatory effects and thus may play an essential role in preventing various degenerative diseases including diabetic retinopathy.
That said, blueberries are rich in anthocyanins and other nutrients. To learn more about blueberries click here
Fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Modern diets especially western diets are thought to have a higher ratio of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3 fatty acids.
High levels of omega 6 are thought to be pro-inflammatory and the imbalance of these fats may result in some health complications due to inflammation.
“Research has shown that increasing the ratio of n-3 to n-6 fatty acids in the diet and consequently favoring the production of EPA in the body or by increasing the dietary of EPA and DHA through the consumption of fatty fish, or fish supplements”
This may help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases that involve inflammatory processes”
Extra virgin olive oil has anti-inflammatory and cardio cardiovascular protective effects due to its polyphenols content.
Olive oil is used mostly in the Mediterranean diet along with plant based foods. The Mediterranean diet has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties associated with reduction in cardiovascular mortality.
This is the case because ” plant-based foods and olive oil are associated with inflammatory biomarkers and molecules implicated in atherosclerosis as well as cardiovascular disease incidence, mortality and other implications such as a heart failure and atrial fibrillation”
Other Anti-inflammatory Foods Include Herbs
Herbs such as :
Garlic is one of the common herbs used widely across many cultures as food seasoning. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties possessed by garlic, it is believed that it promotes potential health benefits.
Research says although there’s sufficient evidence on the health benefits of garlic as therapy under different pathological conditions in animal studies more clinical trials are needed on human models.
Turmeric is widely used as a spice and food coloring agent or can also be used as an ingredient for smoothies.
Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric and is said to have potent anti-inflammatory effects which are linked to the prevention of pathological conditions such as cancer, atherosclerosis, and neuro-degenerative disorders.
Turmeric is also used as cosmetics and in some medical preparations according to research.
Ginger is reported to have potential health benefits which are attributed to its phytochemicals.
It’s anti-inflammatory effects reduce the risk of degenerative disorder, cardiovascular diseases as well as digestive health. It also has antimicrobial potential which helps for treating infectious diseases.
“Ginger consumption before exercise might reduce naturally occurring quadriceps muscle pain during moderate-intensity cycling exercise” These effects are attributed to ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects. More evidence is needed.
These Are The Signs And symptoms of Inflammation That You Need To Know
Some responses triggered by inflammation form part of the healing process. Inflammation is an important part of the immune system’s response to tissue injury caused by infection, trauma, toxic chemicals, and environmental agents. The diseases caused by inflammation have a suffix -itis
Inflammation exhibit signs and symptoms including:
- Loss of function ( stiffness and immobility)
Prolonged inflammation may result in acute inflammation if it lingers for hours or days or even more days or years if it’s a chronic inflammation.
It is said that chronic exposure to toxic chemicals and environmental agents and such as cigarette smoke can cause inflammation.
Inflammation is a natural response to tissue injury caused by infection, toxic chemicals irritants, and other foreign invaders. Inflammation is needed by the body as a natural healing process.
It becomes problematic when it lingers for as it leads to the development of chronic diseases.
Certain foods have been studied and investigated for their anti-inflammatory potency and it has been found that they can regulate the inflammatory response.
These foodsplant-based plant based as they are rich in phytochemicals such as polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also considered anti-inflammatory. These kinds of fats are abundantly found in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines among other fishes.
They are also found in varying amounts in plant based foods such as flaxseed etc.
The Mediterranean diet is therefore considered the kind of diet that can keep the unnecessary triggers of inflammation at bay unless it is needed by the body for healing tissue injuries and wounds.
Why the Mediterranean diet, because it’s purely plant-based foods like legumes, whole grains fruits and vegetables including fish and fats like olive oil.
The main triggers of inflammation include processed carbohydrates and processed meats.
Thank you for taking up your time to read this article. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it. Kindly leave your comments, opinions, and questions in the comment section below.