Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
When your immune system is irritated, injured, or infected, it responds with inflammation. It’s a normal reaction and a part of the healing process however, prolonged inflammation can be damaging to your health. Luckily, you have some influence over your inflammation levels. One way is to incorporate anti inflammatory diet in your life. This blog post will help you discover how to use food to fight inflammation and provide some examples of foods that fight inflammation.
INFLAMMATION, NON-INFLAMMATORY AND IMMUNITY SYSTEM
There are two basic types of reactions we experience from our environment: non-inflammatory and inflammatory. When we experience injuries or infections, our bodies respond with an inflammatory response that includes redness, swelling, pain, and temperature increase, in Chinese medicine, this inflammation represents excess heat in a body organ or tissue.
On a larger scale, inflammation is what occurs when someone gets a splinter in their finger; cells break down to fight off any foreign invader—whether it’s a splinter or an infection. This inflammatory response can also be activated by stress, exposure to wind, cold and food sensitivities (allergies). Because of these factors many people experience chronic low grade inflammations that don’t seem to have an external cause (such as allergies). Many people seek out anti-inflammatories as they believe they can reduce or eliminate inflammation altogether—but generally speaking that is not possible due to why inflammation exists at all!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, rather than trying to avoid inflammation, manage your body’s reaction by promoting immune system balance is key for general wellbeing. Healthy immune systems will naturally promote less over-reactive responses overall resulting in less soreness/swelling/pain/temperature increase for minor reasons. Check out more on suggestions for reducing inflammation in your body with food.
Symptoms Of Inflammation
Common symptoms associated with increased, long-term inflammation include:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Weight gain
- Fatigue or trouble focussing
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle stiffness
- Changes in appetite
Foods That Exacerbate Inflammation
In conjunction with increasing the volume of anti-inflammatory foods, you will also likely notice an improvement in your inflammation with a reduction in certain foods.
Although we like to focus on what foods to eat more of to reduce your chronic inflammation, there are a few foods you should try to limit if your goal is to fight inflammation:
- Fast food or ready meals
- Refined carbohydrates, including bread and white pasta
- Fizzy drinks and drinks with added sugar
- Red meat and processed meats
Foods That Reduce Inflammation
Of course, we had to start this list by mentioning fatty fish, as it is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods to consume due to its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and high protein content. The best fatty fishes to eat on an anti-inflammatory diet include:
Mackerel is one of the most celebrated foods for reducing inflammation as it contains very high levels of omega 3s. These omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation by controlling how your body uses the cytokines proteins.
Pomegranate can offer your body anti-inflammatory assistance due to its high levels of antioxidants, such as polyphenols. These antioxidants work to reduce free radicals in your body, which can cause cell damage and oxidative stress, leading to an inflammatory response.
In addition, studies have reported that pomegranate juice can act as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, such as IBD and arthritis.
3) Olive Oil
As mentioned, the Mediterranean diet is a popular choice by many people wishing to seek the anti-inflammatory benefits of food. One food that the diet emphasises the importance of is extra virgin olive oil for its healthy fats. Many studies have linked consuming virgin olive oil to reducing inflammatory markers.
Medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 3,000 years for their healing abilities. Therefore, it is no surprise that several edible mushrooms provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help your body fight inflammation.
Avocados are packed with healthy fats, fibre and essential nutrients such as potassium and magnesium. Additionally, avocados contain cytokines, which enable the body to activate its innate immune response.
Several commonly used spices can help fight inflammation:
- Turmeric : contains a substance called curcumin which can offer anti inflammatory properties
- Ginger :
- Cayenne pepper
Adding nuts into your diet has been shown to reduce your inflammatory response due to the high levels of healthy fats and vitamins. One particular antioxidant found in nuts, Vitamin E, protects the human body from free radicals and fights inflammation. You can enjoy nuts as a snack or incorporate whole food nut butter into your diet on porridge, smoothies or toast. Nuts high in vitamin E include:
Not only are tomatoes delicious in many recipes, from bruschetta to Italian tomato sauce, but they are a nutritionally dense fruit. Most notably, tomatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium and the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid found in tomatoes that have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect the body against certain cancers and contribute to good heart health.
9) Green Tea
Green tea gets a lot of press in the health and wellness space for being a health-inducing drink. This is mainly down to its ability to help you reduce your risk of disease through the high levels of antioxidants and catechins, such as EGCG. EGCG has been studied extensively, and many cases have linked this compound with reduced inflammation which can help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Although berries are small, these mighty fruits are packed with antioxidants, fibre and essential nutrients to help your body fight inflammation. The main antioxidant in berries are anthocyanins which give berries their attractive red, blue or purple colour. The antioxidants are not only beautiful to look at, but they can also help reduce your risks of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes.
Cherries are great for fighting inflammation due to their high antioxidant profile. Studies had shown that when participants added almost 300g of sweet cherries per day for one month into their diet, they experienced significantly lower levels of CRP. This suggests that inflammation was reduced when the participants included cherries in the diet over four weeks.
Although your body needs inflammation to fight infection, the presence of chronic inflammation can cause adverse health effects and lead to disease and weight gain over time.
To give your body a fighting chance at reducing inflammation, consider switching up your diet to include more foods that can fight inflammation. You may also wish to consider Chinese medicine techniques such as acupuncture or herbal supplements alongside your dietary change to kick start your body’s ability to fight inflammation.
Bupleurum Root is a herb that is used widely in Chinese Medicine for its detoxification ability. It offers natural anti-inflammatory properties and contains active ingredients which improve the general functioning of the Liver and boosts adrenal glands’ functions.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.