Inflammation is an indication from the body of an illness and protects it from harm. It is a necessary evil for healing.
Diet rich in anti-inflammatory properties are fruits and vegetables, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean protein, healthful fats, and spices.
The use of processed foods, red meats, and alcohol is best avoided. The anti-inflammatory diet is not considered a regimen but rather a lifestyle choice. Anti-inflammatory diets include the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet.
What is an anti-inflammatory diet?
Foods sometimes contain stimulants that trigger inflammation or worsen it. Fresh, whole foods do not cause this, while sugary or processed foods have the tendency to cause it.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are required for a proper anti-inflammatory diet. Antioxidants are abundant in a plant-based diet. But still, some foods can stimulate the development of free radicals. For instance, continuously heated cooking oil is used for frying foods.
Free radicals from the body are eradicated due to dietary antioxidants molecules present in food. Many body processes, including metabolism, result in by-products which can be free radicals.
Free radicals’ number can be increased due to external factors, such as stress and smoking.
Cell damage occurs due to free radicals. The damage can result in inflammation and can lead to many diseases.
The body develops some antioxidants to fight these toxic compounds but taking dietary antioxidants is also useful.
Types of an anti-inflammatory diet
Anti-inflammatory properties are already present in many famous diets. Like, foods of the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet are both healthy for the heart, for example, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, and fats.
Inflammation may be crucial in cardiovascular disease, but research shows that its inflammatory effects can be reduced on the cardiovascular system due to the Mediterranean diet, based on plant foods and healthy oils.
Who can anti-inflammatory foods help?
An anti-inflammatory diet is used to treat people who are suffering from chronic inflammations. The conditions of chronic inflammations are:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disorder
Berries are small fruits that are rich in fibers, vitamins, and minerals.
A variety of these that are common includes:
Berries have antioxidant substances known as anthocyanins. Disease chances are lessened due to the anti-inflammatory effects of these substances. Your body synthesizes natural killer cells (NK cells), which act to maintain and regulate your immune system.
Broccoli is very nutritious. It’s a cruciferous vegetable with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. A decreased chance of getting cardiovascular diseases and cancer has been known to be true by eating cruciferous vegetables a lot.
This may be due to the presence of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects. Broccoli contains a large amount of sulforaphane, an antioxidant that decreases the levels of cytokines and NF-kB to reduce inflammatory effects.
Only a handful of mushrooms are considered eatable and grown commercially, even though thousands of varieties are present throughout the world.
These are truffles, Portobello mushrooms, and shiitake. Mushrooms contain low amounts of calories but are high in copper, selenium, and all vitamin Bs. They also have phenols and other antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.
Low-grade obesity-related inflammation is lessened due to a mushroom known as lion’s mane. But it was found out in a study that cooking reduces the anti-inflammatory properties of mushrooms. It is best to eat them raw or lightly cooked.
Inflammation is decreased by using grapes containing anthocyanins. Many diseases are also prevented by using this such as, diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, eye disorders, and Alzheimer’s. Another compound with many benefits includes resveratrol, which is present in grapes.
It was seen in one study that people who consume grape extract every day have a decrease in inflammatory gene markers in people with heart disease, including NF-kB. In fact, adiponectin level also elevated. Decreased level of this hormone results in increased weight and risk of cancer.
Turmeric is a spice most commonly used in Indian dishes or curries, having a strong earthy flavor. It contains an anti-inflammatory component known as curcumin which has been under a lot of attention. Turmeric relieves inflammation in arthritis, diabetes, and other illnesses.
It is better to consume supplements that are rich in curcumin for more efficacy. Curcumin absorption is enhanced by 2000% by using piperine in curcumin supplements.
6. Dark chocolate and cocoa
Dark chocolate is delicious, rich, and appealing. It also contains antioxidants that lessen inflammation. Due to this, your age may be healthier and reduce the risk of catching a disease.
The anti-inflammatory effects and the endothelial cells that line of arteries is kept healthy due to Flavanols present in chocolate.
Smokers by consuming high-flavanol containing chocolate within 2 hours of eating resulted in improvement in the endothelial function, as stated in a study. But it is important to select dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa or even more for anti-inflammatory action.
Tomato acts as a nutritional powerhouse. Tomatoes contain essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, which is an antioxidant having great anti-inflammatory properties.
Many types of cancer can be avoided due to lycopene, which acts to reduce pro-inflammatory substances which are responsible for multiple cancers. Besides people with obesity, it was noted in a study that drinking tomato juice helps to reduce inflammatory markers in women with more weight.
The amount of lycopene absorbed can be increased when you cook tomatoes in olive oil. This is due to the fact that lycopene, a carotenoid, is better absorbed with fat.
8. Fish and Nuts
Omega-3 fatty acids are best known to fight against inflammation. The best sources of omega-3s may be from salmon and sardines, but anti-inflammatory effects can be obtained from seeds and nuts too.
Try including almonds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts in your diet to decrease the level of inflammation. You can combine them with your breakfast bowl or sprinkle nuts on salads or roasted vegetables.
9. Extra virgin olive oil
One of the healthiest fats that you can consume is extra virgin olive oil. It is commonly found in monounsaturated fats and a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which contains many health benefits. Extra virgin oil in many studies has been associated with decreased risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions.
An antioxidant present in olive oil, known as oleocanthal, has shown anti-inflammatory effects much similar to the drug ibuprofen.
More refined olive oil shows fewer anti-inflammatory properties as compared to extra virgin olive oil, which should be noted.
Foods that can cause inflammation
Besides taking food that is rich with anti-inflammatory properties and ingredients, it is essential that food with a tendency to cause more inflammation is reduced.
High levels of inflammatory markers like CRP have been associated with processed foods like fast food, frozen meals, and processed meats.
Trans fats are present in many fried foods and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fat being the type of unsaturated fatty acid causing more inflammation.
Increased inflammation has also been seen in other foods like refined carbs and sugar-sweetened beverages.
An increase in inflammation level has been associated with some foods that are mentioned:
- Junk foods: potato chips, fast food, convenience meals, pretzels
- Fried foods: French fries, fried chicken, donuts, egg rolls, mozzarella sticks
- Refined carbohydrates: white rice, white bread, pasta, biscuits, flour tortillas, crackers
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, sports drinks, sweet tea, energy drinks
- Processed meats: bacon, canned meat, beef jerky, salami, hot dogs, smoked meat
- Trans fat: margarine, shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Enhancing Anti-inflammatory Effects with Exercise
Researchers found that people who do exercises and physical activities with diet are benefited than people who do not focus on exercises and stick to diets only.
- Pain levels are reduced in people who focus on both exercises and diet plans.
- Inflammation levels in people reduced who focus on inflammatory diet and physical activities both.