Nutrition

Anti-inflammatory diet

overview.

Inflammation helps the body fight illness and can protect it from harm. In most cases, it is a necessary part of the healing process.

However, some people have a medical condition in which the immune system does not work as it should. This malfunction can lead to persistent or recurrent low level inflammation.

Chronic inflammation occurs with various diseases, such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. There is evidence that dietary choices may help manage the symptoms.

An anti-inflammatory diet favors fruits and vegetables, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean protein, healthful fats, and spices. It discourages or limits the consumption of processed foods, red meats, and alcohol.

The anti-inflammatory diet is not a specific regimen but rather a style of eating. The Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet are examples of anti-inflammatory diets.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s normal response to infections, diseases, injuries, and anything it considers harmful. After the harm is neutralized, the inflammation is stopped and the body has time to heal itself.

Chronic inflammation is inflammation that persists for a long period of time. When this happens, it causes changes at the site of the inflammation and elsewhere in the body that can lead to a host of health problems.

There are many reasons why a person may have chronic inflammation. One example is obesity, in which excess fat tissue causes hormonal and immune system changes that create inflammation that affects the entire body.

Other causes of chronic inflammation include:

▪️Smoking.

▪️Alcohol abuse.

▪️Chronic infections, like HIV or hepatitis B.

▪️Autoimmune diseases, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

▪️Ongoing exposure to toxic substances, such as industrial chemicals.

▪️Chronic stress.

Over time, chronic inflammation can increase the risk of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though these diseases can occur without chronic inflammation, severe chronic inflammation can cause them to develop 10 or more years earlier than would generally be expected.

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

Some foods contain ingredients that can trigger or worsen inflammation. Sugary or processed foods may do this, while fresh, whole foods are less likely to have this effect.

An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables. Many plant-based foods are good sources of antioxidants. Some foods, however, can trigger the formation of free radicals. Examples include foods that people fry in repeatedly heated cooking oil.

Dietary antioxidants are molecules in food that help remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the natural byproducts of some bodily processes, including metabolism. However, external factors, such as stress and smoking, can increase the number of free radicals in the body.

Free radicals can lead to cell damage. This damage increases the risk of inflammation and can contribute to a range of diseases.

The body creates some antioxidants that help it remove these toxic substances, but dietary antioxidants also help.

An anti-inflammatory diet favors foods that are rich in antioxidants over those that increase the production of free radicals.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are present in oily fish, may help reduce the levels of inflammatory proteins in the body.Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet.

Certain foods are known to cause inflammation in the body. One example is red meat, which contains a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fat is one of the substances, along with trans fat and refined sugar, that cause certain immune cells to release inflammatory proteins into the bloodstream.

Other foods do not trigger this effect and, in some cases, can reduce inflammation. This includes foods that are rich in substances called antioxidants. Antioxidants fight chemicals known as free radicals that cause long-term damage to cells and can increase inflammation,Since our food choices influence the level of inflammation in our bodies, the anti-inflammatory diet is thought to curb chronic inflammation and help prevent conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. However, how much the diet can help is still unknown.

There is some evidence of a benefit. According to a 2016 study in the journal Endocrine, an anti-inflammatory diet led to a 37% decrease in inflammatory substances, such as C-reactive protein, in people with type 2 diabetes after just one year.

Other studies exploring variations of the anti-inflammatory diet, such as vegetable-rich diets or seafood-rich diets, have shown similar benefits, particularly in people with heart disease.

Foods to Eat.

Research suggests that people who eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and fish have a reduced risk for inflammation-related diseases. Substances found in certain foods, especially antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, may also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Foods high in antioxidants include:

▪️Apples.

▪️Artichokes.

▪️Avocados.

▪️Beans (such as red beans, pinto beans, and black beans).

▪️Berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries).

▪️Broccoli.

▪️Cherries.

▪️Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa).

▪️Dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens).

▪️Nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts).

▪️Sweet potatoes.

▪️Whole grains.

Omega-3 fatty acids are “good fats” that may help protect against heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other conditions.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

▪️Flaxseed.

▪️Oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies).

▪️Omega-3-fortified foods (including eggs and milk).

▪️Walnuts.There is also evidence that certain herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic, can help alleviate inflammation.

Foods to Avoid.

Foods that increase inflammation include those that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Although these fats are important to bone health, brain function, and metabolism (the conversion of food to energy), consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation.

Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids include:

▪️Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream).

▪️Margarine.

▪️Meats.

▪️Peanuts.

▪️Vegetable oils (such as corn, safflower, soybean, peanut, and cottonseed oil).

To keep inflammation under control, it is important to balance your omega-6 fatty acids with your omega-3 fatty acids.

Food with a high glycemic index (GI) can also increase inflammation. These are foods like sugar and refined grains that raise your blood glucose (sugar) level too much and too quickly.

To help rein in inflammation, avoid sugary drinks, white bread, desserts, and processed foods. Instead, eat low-GI foods like chicken, whole grains, leafy greens, and non-starchy vegetables.

Tips and Advice.

There is not one set eating plan for the anti-inflammatory diet. You can mix it up and even tailor it to your family’s tastes and needs. But there are certain guidelines that can help you make healthy choices. Among them:

▪️Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day.

▪️Limit your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids, while increasing your consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

▪️Replace red meat with lean poultry, fish, beans, and lentils.

▪️Swap margarine and vegetable oils for healthier fats like olive oil.

▪️Replace refined grains like white bread, saltines, and pastries with fiber-rich whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, and pasta.

▪️Rather than seasoning your meals with salt, use anti-inflammatory herbs like garlic, ginger, and turmeric.

Other Helpful Tips.

Once you have your healthy menu organized, make sure you incorporate these other good habits of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle:

▪️Supplements: Certain supplements can reduce inflammation, including fish oil and curcumin.

▪️Regular exercise: Exercise can decrease inflammatory markers and your risk of chronic disease .

▪️Sleep: Getting enough sleep is extremely important. Researchers have found that a poor night’s sleep increases inflammation.

Reference:

Anti-inflammatory diet: What to know/https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/32023

Foods to Eat on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet/https://www.verywellhealth.com/anti-inflammatory-diet-88752

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101: How to Reduce Inflammation Naturally/https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-101#what-it-is

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