Inflammation is a natural process that occurs in the body on a daily basis. It’s necessary to protect your tissues and organs from potential dangers and it can be life-saving in some situations.
However, long-term (chronic) inflammation can be detrimental to our health. It can lead to a variety of health problems that can significantly increase the risk of all-cause mortality.
To take things back to the basics, inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system recognizes a foreign body, such as a pathogen or allergen.
When the immune system spots this ‘invader’ in the bloodstream or bodily tissues, it triggers a series of downstream pathways. Eventually, these pathways result in the affected area becoming sore, swollen, and inflamed due to the increased blood flow into the area.
Following a poor diet and carrying a lot of excess fat on your body can cause the immune system to think that something is persistently wrong. As a result, your body becomes constantly inflamed, even in the absence of a foreign invader.
When you reach the state of constant inflammation, you are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Luckily, a few simple changes to your diet can help to reduce the inflammation in your body and lower your risk of developing these diseases.
There are certain foods that should be removed from your diet to decrease inflammation. You can swap these foods for healthier alternatives. Here are some examples.
- Remove sugar from your diet and swap it for the best healthy sugar substitute
- Cut the refined carbs out of your diet and replace them with whole grains
- Reduce your red meat intake and switch to more lean meats, such as poultry
- Swap the sodas for water, tea, or coffee
Alongside these quick and easy changes, there are certain foods that can help to lower the levels of inflammation in your body due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are four amazing inflammation-fighting foods to include in your diet to boost your overall health and well-being and reduce your risk of disease.
Berries taste great and they’re a refreshing addition to your breakfast pancakes or mid-afternoon yogurt pot. They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as lots of fiber, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties in their own right.
The several different vitamins and minerals in berries have anti-oxidant effects, meaning they fight against oxidative stress in your body’s cells. Oxygen free radicals are produced during normal metabolic processes as well as environmental toxins. This results in oxidative stress that can damage your cell’s DNA.
Fiber can aid the digestive process and helps the food that you’ve ingested to be absorbed more easily. This can lower the risk of inflammation associated with digestive disorders.
Try to eat a range of different berries in your diet, including raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. This will keep your diet varied and interesting, as well as maximize your anti-oxidant intake.
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant Curcuma Longa, which is native to Southeast Asia and India. It has a bitter taste that makes the perfect addition to curries, cheese, and sauces.
You can buy turmeric as the root itself or in powdered form that can be easily added to your dishes to add extra flavor and nutrition. You can also get turmeric supplements to live a healthier life.
This yellow-colored spice contains a polyphenol called curcumin, which is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Curcumin also has some anti-cancer, anti-viral, and nootropic effects.
Turmeric also contains a great range of nutrients that contribute to improved overall health, which can further reduce the inflammation in your body. Generally, turmeric contains around 70% carbohydrates, 13% water, 6% protein, 5% fat, 3% minerals, 3% curcuminoids, and trace amounts of B1, B2, C, niacin.
Studies show that the regular consumption of turmeric can decrease the risk and improve the management of diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
Avocados are full of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-3s and omega-6s. Unsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have a huge range of health benefits. They can be eaten on their own or as part of a larger meal or snack.
In particular, consuming a lot of omega-3 fatty acids can improve cognitive function, heart health, and blood sugar regulation. It can also significantly reduce inflammation.
Avocados also contain lots of potassium and magnesium, as well as phytocompounds known as carotenoids and tocopherols. These minerals and phytocompounds have anti-oxidant effects that can contribute to a reduction in chronic inflammation.
Studies show that regular consumption of avocados can decrease the levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 1 beta (IL-1B).
Matcha can boost heart and liver health, enhance brain function, and decrease inflammation in the body. It contains high amounts of phytocompounds that have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder that is obtained from the same plant as green tea. However, due to the slight differences in its cultivation process, matcha contains more chlorophyll and a wider range of phytonutrients than its green tea counterpart.
Due to the increased chlorophyll, matcha has lots of polyphenols, amino acids, and L-theanine.
Polyphenols can fight against oxidative stress in the cells and may improve digestive health. There is one particular type of polyphenol in matcha called catechins that are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of the plant.
Catechins are found in all types of green tea, but they are especially abundant in matcha. A catechin known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) can significantly reduce inflammatory markers, and may help to decrease your risk of developing a range of health conditions.
L-theanine is an amino acid that can decrease blood pressure and inflammation while producing a calming effect in your brain. When you feel calmer and more relaxed, it can decrease the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your blood, which can further reduce the levels of inflammatory markers.
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