You should make some long-term lifestyle changes in order to help treat inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. In fact, inflammation is the underlying cause of many diseases.
This means that by reducing the inflammation with an anti-inflammatory diet, you can relieve the symptoms of all these diseases or even cure them.
What Is Inflammation?
It is important to understand that inflammation as a bodily function isn’t a bad thing. Specifically, when you get sick or experience an injury, your immune system brings white blood cells to the affected area through elevated blood flow.
Moreover, there may also be heat, redness, swelling, and discomfort or pain with the elevated attention to the area. In short, in a healthy body, inflammation is actually the normal response that promotes healing.
But, when your immune system overreaches and starts attacking your healthy body tissues, you can experience inflammation in healthy areas of your body. This causes the symptoms of irritable bowel disease, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc. For those diseases that are not autoimmune, inflammation could still play a role because your body continuously tries to heal the tissues in the area.
In spite of the correlation between prevalent diseases and inflammation; and the correlation between inflammation and diet, diet is not always analyzed in response to inflammation. A study done on the correlation between irritable bowel disease and diet showed that 33% of participants opted against the proposed anti-inflammatory foods. Those participants that ate anti-inflammatory foods found great relief, so that they were able to stop taking at least one of their drugs.
The Health Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The Standard American Diet may result in decreased control of infection; increased inflammation; and elevated risk of cancer, auto-inflammatory disease, and allergies.
In order to move toward anti-inflammatory foods and an anti-inflammatory diet, we actually move away from processed, unbalanced diets and toward the Mediterranean diet. In addition, the Mediterranean diet includes lots of fresh veggies and fruits, moderate amounts of red meat, an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, and no meat additives or chemicals.
Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of certain herbs and foods, you can see how this type of diet can reduce inflammation. In fact, among the compounds present in fresh produce, these 3 general categories are effective at combating inflammation:
- Essential fatty acids
- Antioxidant foods
Here Are the Most Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Foods that Combat Inflammation as Well as Restore Health at a Cellular Level:
Keep in mind that small, gradual changes are much easier for your body to adapt to. They could also reduce the chance of going back to your old eating habits. This means that you should gradually add the following anti-inflammatory foods to your diet for best results.
– Green Leafy Veggies
Vegetables and fruits are packed with anti-inflammatory flavonoids and antioxidants that help restore cellular health. For instance, Swiss chard is packed with antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as vitamin K that could protect your brain against oxidative stress triggered by free radical damage. The regular consumption of Swiss chard also helps reverse vitamin K deficiency.
This vegetable is an excellent addition to your anti-inflammatory diet due to its high antioxidant, magnesium and potassium content. The antioxidants found in broccoli are extremely powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can combat inflammation.
In addition, it contains antioxidant vitamins, carotenoids and flavonoids, which work together to decrease oxidative stress in your body as well as help decrease chronic inflammation and your cancer risk.
Did you know that the deep color of a food suggests that it is high in antioxidants? So, the deep color of beets indicates that they are packed with potent antioxidants. They are rich in the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound called betalain. The consumption of this super-food helps repair the cell damage triggered by inflammation. This can also increase the levels of inflammation-combating magnesium and potassium in your body.
Celery has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help prevent heart disease, enhance cholesterol and blood pressure levels, etc. Furthermore, celery seeds that are present in whole seed form, ground-up or extract form have remarkable health benefits because they help fight bacterial infections and reduce inflammation. Celery is high in vitamins, potassium and antioxidants that help combat inflammation.
– Bok Choy
Bok choy, also referred to as Chinese cabbage, is rich in minerals and vitamins that have antioxidant properties. Many studies have proven that this food contains about 70 antioxidant phenolic substances, including hydroxycinnamic acids. Hydroxycinnamic acids are robust antioxidants that can fight free radicals. That’s why you should incorporate bok choy in your diet.
Ginger is available in a supplement, dried or fresh form and as an extract. It is actually an immune modulator, which could help lower inflammation triggered by overactive immune responses.
Ginger has long been used to strengthen the immune system, warm the body, and break down the build-up of toxins in organs. Moreover, it can also help cleanse and detoxify your lymphatic system, thus improving your health in general.
The regular consumption of ginger may also fight inflammation in asthmatic and allergic disorders.
– Bone broth
It possesses minerals in forms that can be easily absorbed by your body: sulphur, silicon, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, etc. It also possesses glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates, i.e., compounds sold as pricey supplements to help fight inflammation, joint pain and arthritis.
Also, the consumption of bone broth can help fight leaky gut syndrome, because bone broth is high in the amino acids glycine and proline as well as collagen.
This type of fish abounds in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents that show consistent inflammation relief and reduced need for anti-inflammatory drugs.
Studies have proven that omega-3 fatty acids could help decrease inflammation and reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases, like arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. As the omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain, they are beneficial for behavioral and cognitive function.
Note: Eat wild-caught salmon because farmed fish does not have the same nutrients as the wild-caught variety.
Pineapples are rich in a digestive enzyme known as bromelain. This digestive enzyme has long been used as part of an anti-inflammatory diet and has been found to have immune-modulating properties. This means that it could help regulate the immune response that leads to high levels of inflammation.
Additionally, the health-promoting properties of bromelain make it a good natural remedy for heart disease. As it is a safer alternative to aspirin, it could fight blood clotting and reduce your likelihood of heart attack. It has been found that bromelain could prevent blood platelets from sticking together or accumulating along the walls of your blood vessels, thus decreasing your likelihood of stroke and heart attack.
That’s not all, pineapples are also rich in manganese, potassium, vitamin B1, and vitamin C, and other antioxidants that can help prevent the onset of many diseases.
Blueberries are abundant in quercetin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Moreover, it is a flavonoid present in dark-colored berries, citrus, and olive oil. It has an ability to fight inflammation or even cancer.
Additionally, in a study looking for treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, a noni fruit extract was used to fight colon and gut flora damage caused by inflammatory diseases. Believe it or not, quercetin was found to have prominent anti-inflammatory actions.
Eat a handful of walnuts or add them to green leafy salads drizzled with some extra-virgin olive oil for an anti-inflammatory meal.
Walnuts abound in omega-3 fatty acids and phytonutrients that help protect against type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.
Flaxseeds are rich in phytonutrients and omega-3 fatty acids that have antioxidant properties. What’s more, lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols found in flaxseeds that help prevent premature aging, improve cellular health and balance your hormones. Additionally, polyphenols help stimulate the growth of probiotics in your gut and fight Candida and yeast in your body.
You should grind them in a coffee grinder to make sure your digestive tract has easy access to their health benefits.
– Chia seeds
Are you familiar with the fact that chia seeds contain healthier and more balanced fatty acids compared to the fats found in the Standard American Diet?
These seeds are a great source of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents, essential fatty acids linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid, strontium, mucin, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B, and vitamin A, and minerals like thiamine, niacin, manganese, magnesium, iodine, iron, and sulphur.
The consumption of chia seed helps decrease inflammation, regulate blood pressure and cholesterol, and enhance heart health. It can also reverse oxidative stress, thus lowering your risk of atherosclerosis.
Curcumin is the primary compound found in turmeric. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is an excellent addition to an anti-inflammatory diet because it has an ability to fight inflammation.
A study published in the journal Oncogene showed that it had many anti-inflammatory compounds. The results showed that ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and aspirin (Bayer) were least potent, whereas curcumin was one of the most powerful anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory agents.
As a result of its incredible anti-inflammatory properties, it can help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
– Coconut oil
An Indian study showed that the high amount of antioxidants found in raw, organic coconut oil could decrease inflammation and fight arthritis better than pharmaceutical drugs.
Furthermore, free radicals and oxidative stress are the 2 major causes of osteoporosis. As coconut oil helps fight such free radicals because of its high antioxidant content, it can help treat osteoporosis.
Eliminate These Inflammatory Foods from Your Diet:
While adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, you should start eliminating pro-inflammatory foods.
Start by eliminating trans fats and saturated fats present in processed foods since they can result in inflammation and elevate risk factors for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
You should also create a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in order to lower inflammation in your body.
That’s not all, you should also eliminate simple, refined carbohydrates and sugars because they can increase inflammation. You may want to replace refined carbs with whole grains since whole grains are packed with nutrients.
Also, get regular exercise in order to stop systemic inflammation from returning or building up. So, regular exercise and fresh, whole, organic anti-inflammatory foods can prevent and combat inflammation.
- Reinagel, Monica. ”The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan”;
- Challem, Jack. ”The Inflammation Syndrome: Your Nutrition Plan for Great Health, Weight Loss, and Pain-Free Living”;
- Malterre, Tom; Segersten, Alissa; ”The Elimination Diet”;