When you get hurt, your body's first defense is to expand or swell the tissue, around the infected area. This swelling or inflammation starts the healing process and protects that part from the stimuli, that attacked it. If the wound did not inflame, it would never heal. But if the infected area remains swollen and shows no signs of subsiding, this is a sign of transition, from a healing process to one of destruction. Chronic inflammation is when the swelling is prolonged and does not subside for months or even years. It can lead to disorders like allergies, asthma and arthritis. It is important to aid your body in reducing inflammation, before it is too late.
List of Foods that Reduce Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can be caused by your body's slow response to conclude the healing process. And why is your body slow? Because of a poor diet. Food provides nutrients that build cells and tissues, and your diet ensures that your body gets the right food to repair itself. Below is a list of foods that reduce inflammation.
Vegetables are high in fiber, low in fats and good antioxidants, which make them ideal foods that decrease inflammation. Pick green, leafy and brightly colored vegetables, and try to include a vegetable portion in your food everyday. Broccoli, spinach and cauliflower are 3 leafy veggies with a high rate of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Steam or eat them raw in a salad (go easy on the dressings). Mushrooms (enoki, oyster, shiitake) increase immunity levels. Use more onions in your cooking, as onions are a good source of quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant. List of vegetables to reduce inflammation:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green beans
- Spring onions
- Turnip greens
- Sweet potato
Is there anything fruits aren't good for? Fruits are stuffed with antioxidants, vitamins and phyto-nutrients, from skin to seed. So stop peeling your apples. Apple skin contains quercetin which is helps in reducing inflammation. Papayas and pineapples are tropical fruits, filled with proteins and healing properties. The more brightly colored, the better. The bright colors are due to pigments in the fruit, which indicates a high level of useful phyto-chemicals. A good example is berries, like strawberries, which have antioxidants and immunity boosting features. Avoid dried fruits and mixes, which are filled with preservatives. Some inflammation suppressing fruits are:
Herbs and Spices:
These little storehouses of flavor and scent not only enrich your food, but help you healthy in the long run. Herbs and spices are rich in phyto-chemicals, inflammation suppressants, which makes them, one of the top, and often overlooked anti-inflammation foods. Turmeric, an Asian spice, has an anti-inflammatory effect, equivalent to taking a drug like hydrocortisone. Ginger and garlic are also extremely helpful in combating numerous diseases. Herbs and spices to use in your diet: are:
- Black pepper
Not all oils are bad for you. Essential oils are necessary foods that reduce inflammation in the body. Extra virgin olive oil is blessed with beneficial properties for consumption. It reduces inflammation in the heart and blood, as well as reduces arthritis and asthma occurrences. Eucalyptus oil is another pure oil, which helps in fighting chronic inflammation. Substitute vegetable oil for these healthy oils, while cooking. Use them in stir-fry or lightly drizzle over a salad, with herbs. Essential oils are meant for external use only. Do not take orally or undiluted, and do not apply directly on your skin. Essential oils are:
- Avocado oil
- Hemp oil
- Thyme oil
- Rose oil
- Clove oil
- Fennel oil
The benefits of Omega-3 fats are multi-fold and they are also powerful inflammation suppressants. Their best source is oily fish, like salmon and sardines. It is recommended to include fish in your diet, twice a week. In fact, try to decrease your red meat intake and substitute with fish. With fish, do not eat canned or farm-raised. If you cannot eat fish, use good quality fish oil supplements. Fish is one of the best foods that fight inflammation. Some healthy fish breeds are:
Nuts and Seeds:
- Wild Alaskan Salmon
Bite-sized foods such as nuts and seeds are good for satiating your appetite, to avoid unnecessary eating. They are packed with vitamins and omega acids. Soak or roast nuts for consumption. Avoid nut mixes with salts and added oils. Nuts that help curb inflammation are:
- Sesame seeds
- Flax seeds
- Pine seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Before you run to the nearest candy store, remember this: not all chocolate is good chocolate. Cocoa, in the purest form, is the anti-inflammatory element and chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is good for you. Refined sugar, milk fats and waxes, ingredients found in most chocolates, are not. The best chocolate here, is dark chocolate.
Green Tea and Water:
A simple delight for the senses, green tea has many health benefits, and one of them is as an inflammation suppressant. The flavonoids in the tea are natural compounds that reduce inflammation. For the best results, a glass of water, nature's cleanser.
Foods to Avoid
- Cooking oils like sunflower, corn and cottonseed oils.
- Trans fats present in potato chips, peanut butter and other deep-fried snacks.
- Milk, eggs and dairy products like butter and cheese.
- Red meats like beef, lamb and pork, and processed meats like salami or sausages.
- Artificial food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Nightshade plants like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and potatoes.
- Sugar (other names: corn syrup, maltose, sucrose) and sugar rich foods.
- Enriched breads and pastas.
A simple defense mechanism of your body can turn into a life-threatening disease, if proper steps are not taken. Medicines and treatment aside, a proper diet is your step towards recovering. Avoiding certain foods and eating others in a good quantity, can make the difference between a clean bill of health and a disorder.