What Is Inflammation?
The word inflammation originates from a Latin word meaning to ignite. It’s part of your body’s inborn immunity response to injury and foreign attacks. It’s useful for repairing damaged tissue, and healing wounds. At times, inflammation has been linked with chronic diseases.
In autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, the immune system causes an inflammatory response even when there is no attacker. This is because it considers normal body tissues abnormal or infected. Anti-inflammatory is the ability of a treatment, food, or drug to decrease inflammation or swelling.
Why An Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
Nutritionists believe that the food you eat plays a drastic role in regulating inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet is a meal plan believed to significantly lower inflammation. One such diet is the Mediterranean diet; a diet that highly recommends fish oils, fresh vegetables and fruits, and high fiber. It restricts animal protein, refined and processed foods, and limits calories.
Autoimmune diseases and inflammation are directly connected in that, the first sign in these diseases, is inflammation. These diseases can affect any area of your body and include autoimmune hepatitis, type 1 diabetes, Alopecia areata, Dermatomyositis, and Graves’ disease. Others are multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus Guillain-Barré, Psoriasis, and Pernicious anemia
Choosing the right natural anti-inflammatory foods can help you significantly reduce risk factors, disease symptoms and complications as well as lose weight. Autoimmune disease patients are advised to combine anti-inflammatory drugs with an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce pain and chances of flare-ups.
Benefits Of An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The many anti-inflammatory foods contained in the diet offer several health benefits including the following.
- Protection against risks of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease
- lose weight
- Slowing down the aging process through increased metabolism and blood sugar stabilization
- Reduction of inflammation effects within your body
- Decrease in pain and management of chronic disease symptoms
- Increase feeling of well-being and joy
- A sense of lightness and clarity
10 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods
The best way to deal with inflammation is to adapt an overall healthy diet. These foods don’t always directly lower inflammation but sometimes they relieve symptoms eventually leading to inflammation. Here is a list of 10 best anti-inflammatory foods included in the diet.
Green Vegetables – Green vegetables such as kale, spinach and collards are anti-inflammatory. They have high antioxidant levels to support the immune system in fighting inflammation. They are also rich in vitamins and carotenoids that help in protecting your body from inflammatory causing cytokines.
Nuts – Rich in DHA and EPA, Almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts are natural anti-inflammatory foods. Walnuts are high in ALA a plant-based, omega-3, anti-inflammatory. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant which protects your cells from oxidation resulting from inflammation.
Hazelnuts are packed with oleic acid an immuno-protective component. In general nuts also contain fiber, protein and monounsaturated fat which is good at fighting inflammation.
Whole Grains – Whole grain foods are full of fiber, which reduces (C-reactive protein) a component in blood that signals inflammation. Carotenoid rich foods are especially efficient at CRP reduction. In general, food lowers CRP more than supplements.
Whole grains, natural anti-inflammatory foods, are high in vitamin B which reduces homocysteine, an inflammatory hormone in your body. They also produce a fatty acid called butyrate, which disables genes related to insulin resistance and inflammation.
Fatty Fish – Salmon, sardines, tuna and anchovies are fatty fish with natural anti-inflammatory properties. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease amounts of inflammatory proteins, interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein. In the cells, omega-3 fatty acids hinder prostaglandins producing enzymes, that initiate inflammation.
Salmon provides your body with an active form of DHA and EPA which increase adiponectin, a hormone that decreases inflammation markers in the body. For best results, take 3-4 ounces minimum, twice a week.
Fruits – Fruits have noticeable anti-inflammatory effects. Berries contain anthocyanins, which disable inflammatory genes, effectively controlling inflammation. Blueberries are high in resveratrol, (polyphenol) and vitamin C, which together stimulate anti-inflammatory effects reducing inflammatory free radicals.
Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, a powerful natural anti-inflammatory responsible for relieving post-exercise inflammation and reducing multiplication of proinflammatory metabolites. Apple peels contain the anti-inflammatory antioxidant quercetin.
Olive Oil – Olive oil contains antioxidants, monounsaturated fat and oleocanthal, a compound responsible for lowering pain and inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil is highly recommended because it’s less refined and has higher levels of oleocanthal plus other nutrients.
Oleocanthal decreases joint cartilage damage, and prevents the production of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes which are pro-inflammatory. Use 2-3 tablespoons in salad dressings or for cooking per day.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes, a natural anti-inflammatory are packed with lycopene, a brain protecting antioxidant that fights depression-causing inflammation. Lycopene is most abundant in tomato skins and processed tomatoes exhibit higher lycopene amounts compared to fresh ones. Combining tomatoes with some olive oil, is believed to increase lycopene absorption because its fat-soluble.
Garlic – Garlic contains allicin, a compound which blocks enzymes responsible for viral and bacterial infections. Garlic extract suppresses inflammatory markers and positively stimulates production of anti-inflammatory proteins. Though fresh garlic provides some benefits, an aged-garlic supplement is best. It offers you bioavailable compounds in the highest concentration. Crush fresh garlic so that the production of allicin is activated.
Ginger – Gingerols, compounds present in ginger are responsible for their anti-disease, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. These compounds block numerous enzymes and genes that increase inflammation. Fresh ginger has the highest amount of gingerol, so get ready to make ginger tea, or chew on the root. Research from University of Arizona indicates that crude ginger extract inhibits inflammation and joint swelling.
Beans – Beans are a source of protein, fiber, folic acid and several minerals. They participate in the production of butyrate, a natural anti-inflammatory fatty acid. Black beans have a high antioxidant and anthocyanin level which decrease inflammation. Consumption of black beans lowers postprandial insulin and raises antioxidant concentrations. An increased level of insulin and postprandial glucose is responsible for an upsurge in oxidative stress and inflammation.
To start out on an anti-inflammatory diet, there are several easy-to-make anti-inflammatory recipes available online. Select the ones you feel most comfortable with and start out this amazing diet experience.
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Author: Esateys Stuchiner
Esateys (pronounced Ee sáh teez) is an International Life Transformational Speaker, Author, Master Facilitator, Life Coach and Expert in the Human condition. She is a Nationally and Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. For over 30 years, she has practiced, taught and lectured extensively in the allopathic and alternative medicine field.
Esateys is known for her groundbreaking work in the areas of personal empowerment and health restoration using mindset and inner connection as the catalyst for all change.
Esateys describes herself as the ‘Architect of the New You’ and has dedicated her life and professional career to helping her clients create “New Beginnings” by facilitating self empowerment, economic freedom and restored health.
For more information, go to esateys.com.