Inflammation occurs in the body for a variety of reasons. It can be from an injury, or from a foreign invader, such as germs, bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Your immune system sees a threat and initiates the release of specific chemicals from your white blood cells into your blood or the affected tissue. This then draws more blood to the area in question which results in swelling, warmth and sometimes discomfort.
Though it isn’t just injury, germs or parasites that initiate an immune response, some foods can also be recognized as potentially harmful. In some people this displays in the form of severe allergies, however, most people experience milder inflammation from foods they eat on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this inflammatory response to foods has been linked to some more serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancers.
The good news is that though some foods are known to be the cause of inflammatory response, others are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
What types of food cause inflammation?
- Dairy (with the exception of natural yogurts)
- Bad fats
- Processed meats
- Refined grains
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial flavours
What foods help reduce inflammation?
There are loads of delicious and healthy food choices that provide anti-inflammatory properties, including:
- Onions: Onions contain quercetin, which is an anti-inflammatory property.
- Garlic: Garlic contains organosulfur, which is believed to lower the substances in the blood that cause inflammation.
- Berries: It is the active antioxidant flavonoids, anthocyanins, that give berries their bright colours as well as their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Fish: Fatty fish, such as salmon, are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which work to reduce inflammation.
- Nuts: Nuts are rich in antioxidants and many nuts, such as almonds, contain alpha-linolenic acid which is an anti-inflammatory property.
- Olive oil: Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which is believed to have a similar anti-inflammatory effect as ibuprofen.
- Ginger: Ginger is believed to reduce inflammation in the gut, which is why it is often recommended for people with stomach ache.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is believed to help reduce inflammation by switching off the NF-Kappa B which is plays a key role in the inflammatory response.
The bottom line is that though you cannot hope to avoid all foods that may initiate an inflammatory response, you can make sure you balance your diet out by enjoying lots of healthy fresh foods that boast anti-inflammatory properties too!