Preventing Chronic Inflammation: Should You Follow an Anti Inflammatory Diet Plan?
Colin Charnley - Thursday, June 18, 2020
Do you suffer from a disease like arthritis, asthma, or psoriasis that makes you prone to inflammation?
While inflammation helps protect the body from harm and fight off illness, too much inflammation can eventually cause damage to your healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to internal scarring, tissue death, or DNA damage.
Luckily, an anti-inflammatory diet plan can help you lower inflammation levels in the body.
Check out this guide to learn more about preventing chronic inflammation with an anti-inflammatory diet plan.
Why Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
Before we talk about which foods are best, let's first talk about why you should eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Here are the top benefits:
Foods to Eat on an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Here are some of the top foods you should eat on an anti-inflammatory diet:
Berries pack a lot of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Berries contain antioxidants that contain anti-inflammatory properties that may lower your risk of disease. One study looked at overweight adults who ate strawberries on a regular basis.
Researchers found that adults who at strawberries had lower levels of certain inflammatory markers that are associated with heart disease. While there are all kinds of berries to choose from, some of the most readily available ones to add to your diet include blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Fatty fish provides your body with a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA.
EPA and DHA help to reduce inflammation that can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Your body is able to metabolize these fatty acids into compounds called protectins and resolvins, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
Some of the best types of fatty fish to add to your diet include salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, and anchovies.
Cruciferous vegetables include Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, and Kale. These vegetables are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Broccoli in particular is rich in an antioxidant called sulforaphane, which fights inflammation in your body by reducing levels of NF-kB and cytokines.
Avocados are jam-packed with potassium, fiber, magnesium, and healthy monounsaturated fats. They also contain tocopherols and carotenoids, which are associated with a lower risk of cancer.
We all know that green tea can help aid in weight loss, but did you know that it's also beneficial for an anti-inflammatory diet?
Green tea contains a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which helps reduce the production of the pro-inflammatory, cytokine. Green tea can also reduce your risk of Alzheimer's, cancer, obesity, and heart disease.
Chili peppers and bell peppers are chock-full of vitamin C and powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects.
Bell peppers contain an antioxidant called quercetin. This antioxidant may help reduce oxidative damage in people who suffer from sarcoidosis, which is an inflammatory disease.
Mushrooms are rich in copper, selenium, and B vitamins. They're also chock full of phenols and other antioxidants that offer anti-inflammatory protection.
One study found that a specific type of mushroom, known as lion's mane, may help reduce inflammation related to obesity.
Grapes contain a compound called anthocyanin, which is known to reduce inflammation.
Additionally, grapes may help decrease your risk of several diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and Alzheimer's. One study found that people with heart disease who ate grapes on a daily basis experienced a decrease in inflammatory gene markers.
It's time to pass on the salt and reach for the turmeric instead. Turmeric, which is a spice commonly used in curry dishes, contains a nutrient called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric can reduce inflammation related to diabetes, arthritis, and other diseases.
In fact, one study found that those who consumed just one gram of curcumin with a dash of black pepper on a daily basis had a significant decrease in CRP, an anti-inflammatory marker in people with metabolic syndrome.
Cherries are rich in antioxidants like catechins and anthocyanins that help fight inflammation.
In one study, people who consumed 280 grams of cherries per day for one month experienced lower levels of the anti-inflammatory marker CRP.
Tomatoes are rich in potassium, vitamin C, and lycopene. Lycopene is an anti-oxidant that contains impressive anti-inflammatory properties.
Cooking tomatoes in olive oil can maximize the amount of lycopene your body is able to absorb.
A staple in the Meditteranean diet, extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can consume.
One study found that those who consumed extra virgin olive oil on a daily basis had a decrease in several anti-inflammatory markers. Extra virgin olive oil is also effective in reducing the risk of brain cancer, heart disease, and other serious health conditions.
Dark chocolate isn't just delicious, it's also good for your health.
It's packed with flavanols and other antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may lower your risk of disease. Additionally, consuming dark chocolate can help reduce stress.
When shopping for dark chocolate, make sure to choose varieties that contain at least 70% cocoa. The greater the percentage of cocoa, the healthier it is for you.
When following an anti-inflammatory diet, there are also some foods you should avoid. These include:
The reason you should avoid these foods is because they're rich in omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6 fatty acids are essential for the body, too much of them can increase the body's production of inflammatory chemicals.
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