To fight inflammation one must first know what anti-inflammatory diet do? Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This often triggers a process called inflammation. Intermittent bouts of inflammation directed at truly threatening invaders protect your health.
However, sometimes inflammation persists, day in and day out, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation can become your enemy. Many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation.
One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process
- Foods that cause inflammation
Low intake; or no intake at all of these food can help reduce your chances of getting inflammation
- refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- margarine, shortening, and lard
Foods that fight inflammation
- Spice and herbs: Tumeric, garlic and ginger
This beautiful yellow-orange spice is often found in curry powders.
Thanks to the active compound curcumin, it has strong anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb.
Try adding ground turmeric to seasoning on fish and vegetables, or use raw turmeric root chopped up in soups, sauces, or as an addition to your next green juice!
However you take it, remember to add a dash of black pepper to boost absorption.
Turmeric boasts a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Eating black pepper with turmeric can significantly enhance the absorption of curcumin.Ginger
Most of ginger’s anti-inflammatory and medicinal qualities come from its main bioactive compound, gingerol.
Ginger is not only a major immune booster and inflammation fighter, but this plant adds a kick of flavor to smoothies and juices, soups, sauces, and stir-frys. Ginger root can also be used in tea to aid digestion.
Garlic contains sulfur compounds that stimulate our immune system to fight inflammation and illness. It’s also antibacterial and anti-fungal! This tasty herb is easy to add to any meal and boosts delicious flavor in a variety of dishes. One of my favorite homemade dressings, this creamy tahini dressing, uses garlic as a main ingredient.
Antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory, mushrooms contain a variety of compounds that can help to improve immunity and lower inflammation throughout the body.
They consist of long-chain polysaccharides called beta-glucan that promotes a strong immune system, and also houses a powerful antioxidant called ergothioneine that can help fight inflammation.
Mushrooms are a great source of protein, fiber, and various B vitamins, too.
There’s so many different types of mushrooms to try, you’re bound to find one that fits your taste buds — some of my favorites are shiitake, morel, chanterelle, and porcini.
Kale is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and contains a variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants that help protect our bodies against cellular damage.
This nutrient-dense, detoxifying food is a great source of:
various amino acids
vitamins A, C, and K
Kale helps benefit everything from glowing skin and healthy eyes, to a powerful digestive system and strong bones.
Get it in easily by adding it to your daily smoothie or immune-boosting green juice.
This delicious fruit packs a big punch! Pineapple is loaded with vitamin C and contains an enzyme called bromelain which may help stimulate protein digestion, reduce inflammation of the gut, and boost immune function.
Bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme, makes this tropical fruit one of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods. Studies show that eating pineapple may reduce pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and lower swelling in people with carpal tunnel syndrome
Add pineapple to your fruit plate, smoothies, or juice to help fight inflammation, enhance digestion, and keep your immune system strong.
These popular fruits are just one of the many foods that reduce inflammation because they contain quercetin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. No wonder one a day keeps the doctor away.
Avocados may be one of the few supposed superfoods worthy of the title.
They’re packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
They also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are linked to reduced cancer risk
In addition, one compound in avocados may reduce inflammation in young skin cells
In one study, when people consumed a slice of avocado with a hamburger, they had lower levels of the inflammatory markers NF-kB and IL-6 than participants who ate the hamburger alone
Avocados offer various beneficial compounds that protect against inflammation and may reduce your cancer risk.
- Dark chocolate:
Dark chocolate contains chemicals that help fight inflammation. According to a large Italian study, people who ate about one square of dark chocolate every three days had significantly lower measures of a protein associated with inflammation than those who ate no chocolate at all.
It’s also packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. These may reduce your risk of disease and lead to healthier aging
Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy
In one study, smokers experienced significant improvement in endothelial function two hours after eating high-flavonol chocolate
However, make sure to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa — more is even better — in order to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits.
Flavanols in dark chocolate and cocoa can reduce inflammation. They may also reduce your risk of several diseases.
Grapes contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.
In addition, they may decrease the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and eye disorders (39, 40, 41, 42, 43).
Grapes are also one of the best sources of resveratrol, another compound that has many health benefits.
In one study, people with heart disease who consumed grape extract daily experienced a decrease in inflammatory gene markers, including NF-kB (43).
What’s more, their levels of adiponectin increased. Low levels are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of cancer
- Green or black tea:
Tea is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which may protect against cell damage that can worsen conditions such as arthritis. It also contains a chemical that fights inflammation, so consider swapping that morning cup of tea for a green tea instead.
The tomato is a nutritional powerhouse.
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium and lycopene, an antioxidant with impressive anti-inflammatory properties
Lycopene may be particularly beneficial for reducing pro-inflammatory compounds related to several types of cancer
One study determined that drinking tomato juice significantly decreased inflammatory markers in overweight — but not obese — women
Note that cooking tomatoes in olive oil can maximize the amount of lycopene you absorb with a source of fat.
Oily fish such as salmon, trout, and anchovies, along with walnuts, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and canola oil contain omega-3 fatty acids that make them powerful anti-inflammatory foods. A University of Pittsburgh study found that people with back and neck pain who took omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form for three months had less pain overall. Eat fatty fish at least twice a week and consider taking a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement to fight pain.