Your overall diet and lifestyle choices, if healthy, can help to keep inflammation under control. Recent researches shows that there are certain foods that possesses anti-inflammatory compounds in which when added to our diet, can help manage or prevent inflammation. Likewise, there are some foods that are capable of promoting and escalating inflammation. In this article, I will highlight some of foods that are recommended for mitigating inflammation.
Inflammation is a protective biological mechanism. It is a type of innate immunity, whereby the body’s immune system reacts to foreign agents such as pathogens, irritants, or damaged cells, in a manner, so as to protect us. Inflammation aims to eliminate the cause of injury, clear dead or damaged cells and tissues away from the site of injury as well as send signals that initiates cell repair. However, in many cases, inflammation may be harmful to you if the process continues for a long while and your body begins to reacts against itself (not foreign agents), causing damage to its own tissues. Inflammation when out of control, can lead to chronic health problems.
The cardinal symptoms of inflammation includes; Redness, Pain, Heat, Loss of function and Swelling. Acute inflammation occurs after a bruise on the knee, when there is a fever cough or an infection. It is usually short-term and localized. Chronic inflammation is long-term, persistent and has an effect on the whole body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to several diseases such as; Rheumatoid arthritis, Cancer, Type 2 diabetes Auto-immune disorders, Hepatitis, Asthma, Inflammatory bowel disease.
Anti-inflammatory diet includes avoiding or reducing your intake of foods that aids inflammation. Some of these foods includes; alcohol, red meat, high fats saturated foods, diary. According to research, components of many foods such Omega-3-fatty acids, has the potential to protect the body against inflammation.
Foods that Helps to Reduce Inflammation
- Turmeric: Turmeric can be added to food as spices. The active compound cucurmin present in turmeric is an antioxidant and has strong and proven anti-inflammatory properties.
- Fruits and vegetables: Green vegetables such as; spinach, kale, lettuce, amaranths, eggplant leaf, tomatoes, bitter leaf and fruits such as; strawberries, apple, oranges, cherries, blueberries, watermelons have strong antioxidants and photochemical that helps to reduce cell damage and inflammation.
- High fiber foods: The mechanisms by which fibre reduces inflammation are not entirely understood, but fibre encourages recycling of fats in the body and also encourages “good” bacteria in the intestines that positively affect inflammatory pathways. Also, whole foods rich in fibre contain other important phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory effects. Beans, wheat, oats, barley,
- Nuts: Research shows that nuts may be capable of reducing inflammation almonds and walnuts, cashew nuts, peanuts, hazel nuts all have a good nutrient profile.
- Add more Omega-3-fatty acids to your diet: Foods that contain omega-3-fatty acids such as; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, are helpful. They contain certain anti-inflammatory components such as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA)
- Cooking oil: Your choice of cooking oil should not be high in poly-unsaturated fatty acid. Mono-saturated fats such as fish oil, extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil are beneficial. Olive oil contains beneficial photochemical. Fish oil has omega-3- fatty acids as part of its component. Coconut oil may also be a better substitute to polyunsaturated fats.
Foods to avoid when going for an anti-inflammatory diet
- Red meat
- Fried foods
- Refined carbonhydrates
- High dairy products
- Trans fat containing foods