7 Foods That Can Help You to Fight Inflammation
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to an infection or an injury and is part of the natural healing process.
The immune cells release hormones such as bradykinin or histamine, which help to increase blood flow by widening the blood vessels and cause swelling. They also irritate nerves and cause pain. Once the inflammation goes down, pain and swelling decrease naturally.
However, chronic inflammation can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease or stroke, weight gain, or autoimmune disorders.
One cause of chronic inflammation is oxidative stress — an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body.
Oxidative stress can be caused by many factors, including diets high in fat, sugar, or processed foods. That’s why certain foods, such as processed meats or refined sugars can promote inflammation.
Antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, etc. can help to protect your body from oxidate stress. Synthetic antioxidants, on the other hand, have recently been reported to be dangerous for human health.
Apart from that, other nutrients such as Omega-3 Fatty acids or fiber have been linked to decreased inflammation markers.
Here’s a list of delicious foods that can help you to fight chronic inflammation:
#1 Green Tea
Green Tea is high in Catechins, such as EGCG (Epigallocatechin-3-gallate). Research suggests that EGCG can inhibit inflammation and prevent oxidative cell damage.
A study by the University of Hongkong shows that the EGCG found in green tea can also prevent cardiovascular diseases by decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation.
Berries contain various antioxidants including, anthocyanins, carotenoids, lycopene, lutein, polysaccharides, and phenolics. Anthocyanins give blue, red, or purple plants their color and have high levels of anti-inflammatory effects.
Research suggests that the anthocyanins found in berries can decrease inflammatory markers in cells and help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, and cancer.
Avocados are not only a good source of healthy fats but also antioxidants. One study has found that eating avocados together with hamburgers can limit the inflammatory effects that had been measured in the participants that ate burgers without avocado.
Many studies have shown that the consumption of fish oil can decrease inflammation. One study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh has found that supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids can be as effective for inflammation and pain reduction as the usage of Ibuprofin while having fewer unwanted side effects.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is a pigment that gives the vegetables or fruits such as pumpkins, carrots, or tomatoes their red or orange color. The antioxidant has been linked to decreased inflammation that might also be helpful in reducing cancer risks.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), ginger is used to treat inflammation-related conditions such as arthritis or muscle pain.
This ancient wisdom seems to hold some truth: a study by the University of Miami found that ginger also helps to reduce pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
Other research suggests that it can also help to improve insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation in patients with Type 2 Diabetes.
Turmeric is a spice that contains many healthy compounds. The most active of them is called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects.
According to a clinical trial with patients suffering from chronic anterior uveitis, the inflammatory effects of curcumin are comparable to anti-inflammatory drugs while presenting significantly fewer lower side-effects. (1)
Black pepper and (fish) oil have proven to increase the absorption of curcumin significantly. Therefore, it’s important to find a supplement that also includes black pepper and to take it together with a meal that contains essential fatty acids or a fish oil supplement*.
*Please check-in with your health care provider before start taking any supplements.
(1) Lal B, Kapoor AK, Asthana OP, et al. Efficacy of curcumin in the management of chronic anterior uveitis. Phytother Res. 1999;13(4):318‐322. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(199906)13:4<318::AID-PTR445>3.0.CO;2-7