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We can use diet to help alleviate a variety of things that might be going on in our bodies. One way we can use food to improve our health is to eat foods that can reduce inflammation. So, what foods can do this and how? Keep reading this blog post to find out more!
Foods for Inflammation: What is inflammation?
Inflammation occurs as part of your natural immune response. When a white blood cell recognizes that a substance, such as bacteria, has invaded your body from the outside, the white blood cell will protect you from these invaders by triggering inflammation. However, in certain conditions, referred to as autoimmune diseases, inflammation can occur even when there is no potential threat from outside invaders. Your white blood cells may trigger inflammation as a reaction from your own healthy body tissues.
Inflammation can be either acute, which means it is short-lived, or chronic, which means that it could last a very long time. Acute inflammation may be identified using a number of signs, including pain around the affected area, swelling, loss of function (i.e. if the inflammation is affecting a joint) and heat and redness due to increased blood flow to the area.
Foods for Inflammation: What conditions can cause inflammation?
Conditions that have the potential to cause inflammation include diabetes, cardiovascular disease and psoriasis. Conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis and adenomyosis can also cause chronic inflammation. In adenomyosis, the inflammation and also immune processes that are occurring in the uterus lead to the growth of tissue.
Foods for Inflammation: Foods that reduce inflammation
-Green leafy vegetables
-Fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna and sardines)
-Fruit (such as strawberries, cherries, oranges and grapes)
-Broccoli, peppers and mushrooms
These foods contain a high number of antioxidants that can help fight against inflammation, particularly the fruits and vegetables listed. Nuts are also considered to reduce markers of inflammation and also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, called EPA and DHA. These fatty acids are able to reduce inflammation and reduce inflammatory markers.
Avocados also contain a compound that is capable of reducing inflammatory markers, along with olive oil and grapes. Green tea is a very good option for fighting against inflammation. Green tea contains a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which in turn reduces inflammation.
Foods for Inflammation: Foods that increase inflammation
-Fried foods (such as french fries)
-Sugar-sweetened drinks (such as soda)
-Red meat (such as steaks and burgers)
-Meat that is processed (such as hot dogs)
These are foods that are likely to cause or increase inflammation when they are eaten. The foods listed here are also considered bad for our health and can potentially contribute to the onset of certain diseases including diabetes and heart disease. Inflammation is also a contributing factor to these diseases. Eating a high amount of these foods can also lead to weight gain and weight gain can increase inflammation.
If you are suffering from inflammation, whether it is acute or chronic, it is important to not only increase your intake of the foods that can reduce inflammation, but also limit the foods that are capable of increasing it. The overall aim in creating an anti-inflammatory diet is to eat one that is healthy and balanced. A good option or example to follow is the mediterranean diet, which is based mostly on nuts, fruit, vegetables, healthy oils, fish and whole grains.