Foods to fight Inflammation
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is our body’s form of self-defence and is how the body attempts to heal itself after an injury, defend itself against bacteria and viruses and repair damaged tissue. If we suffer a tiny cut or infection- no problem! Our body’s immune system sends specialized white blood cells to the affected area, which help to prevent the spread of the infection or illness and repair the damage. This whole response is called acute inflammation, and without it, our body would be defenceless!
However, when the body becomes inflamed often this can lead to chronic inflammation.
What causes Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is a long-term condition and can last for several months or years. It is caused by bacteria and viruses that acute inflammation has failed to remove from the body. It also attacks normal healthy tissue, which can cause more serious disease later on in life.
Chronic inflammation can unsurprisingly often be linked to your diet. The following foods are a no-go if you want to try and prevent chronic inflammation in the body:
- Processed foods that are readily available in supermarkets such as sugary snacks and fizzy drinks can have a huge (and negative) impact on your health.
- Foods fried in large amounts of unhealthy oils can cause inflammation and therefore have a negative impact on your immunity.
- Red meat such as burgers and steaks and processed meat such as hot dogs or sausages increase the risk of inflammation.
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- Chronic inflammation can be linked to diseases and conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and heart disease.
One of the most powerful (and delicious) ways to fight inflammation does not come from the pharmacy, but instead our fridges! Keep on reading to discover more about the foods that will help you defeat pesky chronic inflammation.
Containing huge amounts of phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, ginger is a great addition to a healthy and balanced diet. Ginger may also help to lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, which reduces the likelihood of heart disease.
This super spice contains capsaicin, a phytochemical that helps to prevent disease. Capsaicin has antibacterial, anti-diabetic and anti-viral properties that may help to relieve pain as well as keeping your body fighting fit. It is also great for your heart health, as it may help to improve circulation as well as lowering blood pressure.
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines help to fight inflammation due to their many health benefits. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help to keep your heart, brain and skin healthy. These omega-3 fatty acids encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory agents that help to slow, and potentially reverse, signs of ageing such as wrinkles and loss of elasticity. Omega-3s are also great at keeping your heart ticking away, and is thought to help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Greens really are great! Load up on greens such as spinach, collards and kale. These veggies are loaded with folate, which is essential for the creation of red blood cells and helps to release energy from the foods we eat. Folate may also help to protect against certain types of cancer. They also contain the phytochemical lutein, an antioxidant that is great for keeping your eyes healthy.
Perfect for snacking, and perfect for protecting your body from inflammation! Nuts such as almonds and walnuts help to make a strong defence against inflammation. Almonds contain several phytochemicals that may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and are great for boosting your bone and skin health. Walnuts contain the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid, which may help to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing high cholesterol levels and making your blood less likely to clot. Walnuts can also improve your immune system response due to their copper content, which helps your body create white blood cells.
Antioxidant fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries and oranges are great for fighting inflammation. Cherries contain antioxidants that may help to reduce pain from conditions such as gout, arthritis and aches after exercise as well as fending off heart disease and cancers. The phytochemicals found in blueberries may help to boost levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that helps blood to flow more freely through the body. Strawberries contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which may protect your skin from sun damage as well as helping to reduce the breakdown of collagen.