Anti inflammatory diet: what to eat to fight inflammation ?
It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the number one cause of many serious diseases, including heart disease, many cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
We all know inflammation that appears on the surface of the body as local redness, heat, swelling or pain. It is the cornerstone of the body’s healing response, bringing more nutrients and strengthening immune defenses to a wounded or infected place.
But when the inflammation persists or is useless, it damages the body and causes accelerated aging, inflammatory diseases, cancers, etc. Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition and exposure to toxins (such as tobacco smoke) can all contribute to this chronic inflammation, but dietary choices also play an important role. Indeed, Western modern food rich in sugar is the first cause of inflammation.
“Learning and understanding which specific foods influence the inflammatory process is the best strategy for controlling and reducing the risk of long-term chronic inflammation-related illness. ”
What is inflammation?
The inflammation is a reaction that the body uses to protect against infection, disease or injury.
In response to an inflammatory reaction, the body increases its production of white blood cells, immune cells and substances called cytokines that help fight infections.
Classic signs of acute (short-term) inflammation include redness, pain, heat, and edema.
Namely, chronic (long-term) inflammation is often silent and occurs inside the body without any noticeable symptoms.
This type of inflammation can lead to diseases such as diabetes , cardiovascular disease , fatty liver disease and cancers .
In the joints, it causes swelling and pain, from osteoarthritis to rheumatoid arthritis. In the intestine, inflammation disrupts the balance of useful bacteria and directly damages the intestinal mucosa.
This could contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, autoimmune diseases (such as Crohn’s disease).
Chronic inflammation also occurs in obese people or stressed .
Air pollution and environmental toxins also activate the immune system in this way, but most of the chronic and excessive inflammation of our body is diet-related.
When doctors want to assess the level of inflammation in a person, they look for some markers in the blood, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), homocysteine, TNF alpha and IL-6.
An unhealthy lifestyle triggers inflammation
Some lifestyle factors may promote inflammation, especially when they are present on a regular basis.
- The consumption of sugar is particularly harmful. It can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity.
- Carbohydrate consumption such as bread can also contribute to inflammation, decreased insulin sensitivity and obesity .
- It has also been shown that the consumption of processed and packaged foodscontaining trans fatty acids promotes inflammation and damages the endothelial cells lining the arteries .
- Transformed vegetable oils are another culprit. Their regular consumption leads to an imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which leads to inflammation .
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and processed meat may also have inflammatory effects on the body .
- A sedentary lifestyle in which one is often seated is a major non-food factor that can also promote inflammation .
How to reduce inflammation with this diet?
If you want to reduce inflammation, simply eat less inflammatory foods and more natural anti-inflammatory foods.
Base your diet with nutritious foods that contain antioxidants and avoid processed products.
The antioxidants act by reducing the amount of free radicals. These reactive molecules are metabolic and can cause inflammation when they become uncontrollable.
Your anti inflammatory diet should also provide an optimal balance between protein , fat and carbohydrate at each meal. Also be sure to meet your body’s needs for vitamins, minerals, fiber and water.
Foods to avoid
Some foods are reputed to promote inflammation.
It is advisable to minimize them or remove them completely.
- Sweet drinks : soda and fruit juice.
- Refined carbohydrates : bread, pasta, etc.
- Desserts : cookies, sweets, cakes and ice creams.
- Processed meats : hot dogs, mortadella, sausages, etc.
- Processed products : chips, pretzels, etc.
- Some vegetable oils (rapeseed oil, sunflower, peanut, etc.)
- Trans fats or “hydrogenated” fats
Foods to consume
Consumes many of these foods with anti-inflammatory properties , rich in antioxidant substances.
- Vegetables : broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, Shanghai cabbage, cauliflower, etc.
- Fruits : berries such as blueberries, currants, cherries, raspberries.
- Fatty fruits : avocados and olives.
- Healthy fats : olive oil and coconut oil .
- Fat fish : salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies.
- Nuts : macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pecans.
- Peppers : peppers and hot peppers (rich in capsaicin)
- Chocolate : dark chocolate.
- Spices : turmeric , fenugreek, cinnamon, curry.
Because it’s easier to follow a diet when you have a plan. Here is a typical menu to start with a full day of anti-inflammatory dishes.
- Omelette with 3 eggs, 1 serving of mushrooms and 1 serving of kale cabbage, cooked with coconut oil.
- 1 portion of cherries.
- Salmon grilled on a bed of greenery with olive oil and vinegar.
- 1 serving of raspberries to garnish a natural Greek yogurt with some pecans.
- Some slices peppers with guacamole
- Some olives
- Curry chicken with cauliflower and broccoli.
- Dark chocolate (preferably at least 90% cocoa).
Other tips to reduce inflammation
When you have established good eating habits, make sure you also take these other good anti-inflammatory lifestyle habits.
Supplements : Certain dietary supplements may stimulate the anti-inflammatory effects of foods, such as krill oil and curcumin .
Regular Physical Activities : Sport Can Reduce Inflammatory Markers and the Risk of Chronic Disease .
Sleeping : It is extremely important to get enough sleep. Researchers have found that a bad night’s sleep increases inflammation .
The benefits of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle
An anti inflammatory diet, combined with regular physical exercise and good sleep, can offer many benefits.
- Decreased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer and other serious illnesses.
- Reduction of inflammatory markers in the blood.
- Better blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Increased energy and mood
- Improved symptoms of arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, lupus and other autoimmune diseases.