What are anti-inflammation foods and how can I eat more of the foods. I am going to share in this article how you can do yourself and your family a lot of good by increasing the intake of anti-inflammation foods.
Inflammation refers to swelling, soreness, or irritation. In this context, inflammation refers to the swelling that occurs in the body tissues. Inflammation usually manifests in four ways – redness heat, swelling, and pain. The foods you eat directly influence what happens in your body and in turn impacts your health. Inflammation and oxidative stress are major role players in the onset of chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, certain cancers, etc. While several other factors play different roles in oxidative stress and inflammation that the body tissues experience at one time or the other, your foods and eating habits are factors that cannot be ignored.
My first counsel would be to follow the healthy eating recommendation by nutrition experts which emphasises varied foods in an as natural state as possible.
Inflammation could be good in the short term as it sometimes is a way your immune system naturally responds to self-heal in an injury or to fight infections. However, it becomes a problem if the situation is prolonged.
Many of the foods in their natural forms contain substances that help the body to fight inflammation. These substances include vitamins C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and phytonutrients namely polyphenols, carotenoids, antioxidants, anthocyanins, flavonoids, alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, and terpenes. Fruits and vegetables are generally rich in vitamins and minerals as well as phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are also found in many herbs and spices. Therefore, it is encouraged that you eat your foods in an as natural state as possible. Some of the anti-inflammation foods are as follows:
Grapes contain anthocyanins, which are known to help in reducing inflammation. Furthermore, regular intake can help to reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and eye conditions. Also, grapes are one of the rich sources of resveratrol, a polyphenol that helps in protecting the body against damages that could increase your risk for certain cancers and heart diseases.
The wide variety of peppers such as chili pepper, bell pepper, cayenne pepper, green/yellow pepper, cubanelle pepper, scotch bonnet pepper, jalapeno pepper, etc. are packed with powerful antioxidants that provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.
Tomatoes have a lot of nutritional benefits being rich in vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with strong anti-inflammation properties which may play a role in reducing pro-inflammatory compounds that are linked to certain types of cancer. Cooking tomatoes helps to increase absorption of its lycopene in the body. Cooking tomatoes with healthy oils would increase their absorption because lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient.
Green tea is regarded as one of the healthy beverages that you can drink due to its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is especially high in epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a powerful flavonoid that imparts anti-inflammatory benefits by preventing the production of pro-inflammatory substances and damage to the beneficial fatty acids in the cells. EGCG is also shown to contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
Beans provide superb antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection through the rich content of polyphenols. Also, beans are a low-cost source of protein, rich in fiber, folic acid, and important minerals including iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. Nutrition experts recommend that you eat at least one cup of cooked beans twice a week. There are a wide variety of beans to choose from and they include red speckled beans, black beans, lentils, peas, pinto beans, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, etc.
Broccoli and cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables that are extremely nutritious. They are rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that helps to fight inflammation by reducing levels of cytokines, a substance that drives inflammation. Including lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower in your diet could help to reduce your risk for heart disease and cancer.
Fatty fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid contributes to reducing inflammation that is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. Fatty fish in this category include mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herring, and salmon.
Avocados are packed with lots of important nutrients including potassium, magnesium, monounsaturated fats, and fibre. Anti-inflammatory substances in avocados are carotenoids and tocopherols, which are associated with reduced cancer risk and improved lipid profiles
Turmeric is a spice with a strong flavour, often used in curries and many dishes. The phytonutrient of importance in turmeric is curcumin which has powerful anti-inflammation properties. It has been documented how curcumin helps in reducing inflammation in arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases. However, the use of turmeric as spices alone may not furnish enough curcumin to provide the desired benefit. However, the use of a combination of spices such as turmeric with black pepper (piperine) could increase the bioavailability of the curcumin
Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which provides many health benefits. The important anti-inflammation substance in extra virgin olive oil is oleocanthal, a powerful antioxidant that is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other diseases. More on the benefits of extra virgin olive oil.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
Dark chocolate (not less than 70% cocoa) and cocoa powder are rich in flavanol which has a powerful anti-inflammation effect. Because dark chocolate is also high in fat, you may want to consider using cocoa powder as a hot or cold chocolate beverage.
Celery is a vegetable that is rich in anti-inflammatory substances. It contains a compound called apigenin, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial agent. Because of its richness in fiber and other nutrients, it can help in preventing constipation and promote overall health in many ways.
Other anti-inflammatory foods and spices that you can use in your meals include leeks, onion, ginger, garlic, kale, spinach, cherries, walnuts, almond, cinnamon, and many herbal spices.
Foods that promote inflammation
The following foods contain substances that promote inflammation and therefore should be taken sparingly if you cannot avoid them.
- Fried foods such as fried meats (including fish, chicken, beef) potato chips, donuts, chin-chin, fried buns, fat cake or puff-puff, etc.
- Processed meats such as bacon, canned meat (corned beef), salami, hot dogs, smoked meat
- Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, regular macaroni/spaghetti, white rice, white flour tortillas, etc.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages such as fizzy drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks
- Sugar-sweetened foods such as cakes, cookies, biscuits, sweet pastries, and certain breakfast cereals.
- Trans fats such as hydrogenated fat, margarine, commercial mayonnaise, etc.
Many of the foods in their natural forms contain substances that help the body to fight inflammation. Therefore, it is encouraged that you eat your foods in an as natural state as possible to access anti-inflammation foods and their benefits. Contrariwise, highly processed foods contain substances that promote inflammation. It is just wise to eat these foods in moderation.