Inflammation is a part of the body’s biological response to harmful pathogens, irritants or damaged cells and the first sign of activation of the immune system. Inflammation can cause a lot of pain, aches, red and itchy skin, infections, allergies, weight gain, fatigue and many more symptoms which have the role of protecting the body from further damage. However, they’re also pretty unpleasant.
What Is Inflammation?
As we already said, inflammation is something like our home security system. Whenever something attacks the body, the white blood cells release compounds which should fight the germ and help you recover from the injury. Inflammation is a necessary process, but if it becomes chronic it can be very unpleasant. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a variety of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, ulcerative colitis, COPD, depression, asthma and even cancer, so stopping the process on time is of vital importance for our wellbeing.
How To Prevent Inflammation?
There are many things you can do to prevent inflammation, each one depending on the trigger. For example, if food triggers it, you need to avoid consuming it anymore.
Here’s a list of foods that have been known to raise inflammation in your body:
Sugar is quite difficult to stay away from, but if you want to prevent inflammation, you must do it. It’s present in almost all the foods we eat nowadays, so make sure to check the labels carefully. Too much sugar in your body can harm your immune system and let inflammation run amok, raising the risk of several serious ailments. Instead of refined sugar, you can use natural sweeteners such as stevia in your drinks or desserts.
French fries, onion rings, fish sticks and fried chicken are all pro-inflammatory foods that can harm your health. Studies have found them to be among the main inflammation triggers, so make sure to avoid them and stick to a healthy diet. You don’t need to skip chicken meat or fish – just make sure to grill them in the oven instead of frying them.
Refined flour can be tricky to spot on a label of ingredients and is just as harmful as sugar. It can lead to insulin resistance and chronic inflammation which will wreak havoc in your body. Instead of rice, chips, crackers, pasta and bread, you should add whole grains, quinoa, brown rice and barley in your diet.
Red and Processed Meat
Studies have shown that red and processed meat can significantly raise inflammation in our bodies and raise the risk of colon cancer as well. Processed meat contains artificial additives and flavorings which the body recognizes as a foreign threat, so instead of these types of meat, you should eat organic fish, meat and poultry.
Vegetable oils such as sunflower oil is full of omega-6 fatty acids which have been known to raise inflammation, especially when they’re not in 1:1 balance with omega-3s. Switch these oils with coconut or olive oil and you’ll definitely protect your health.
Animals raised in CAFO operations are usually fed with soy and corn, which means their meat is full of omega-6 fatty acids. Due to the poor diet, the producers give these animals antibiotics and supplements which significantly lower the quality of meat. Instead of grain-fed beef or pork, stick to free-range meats and lean cuts.
The problem with dairy products nowadays is that they contain a large amount of growth hormones that can instantly raise inflammation in your body. Conventional dairy products can also harm the bacterial balance in your gut. Instead of store-bought cheese, yogurt and milk, consume kefir, coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk and coconut oil as well.
Alcohol has been linked to inflammation and several serious ailments which can be fatal. Alcohol inflammation is usually focused on the liver and esophagus. Furthermore, the process of breakdown of alcohol creates dangerous byproducts which can decimate your immune system. Instead of alcohol, you should drink only water as well as ginger, jasmine and green tea.
The so-called trans fats can be found in margarine and are artificially created fats through a process of hydrogenation. Our bodies can’t break down trans fats properly, which makes the immune system raise inflammation. Make sure to avoid margarine and hydrogenated oils and consume foods with 0 trans fats.
9 Foods That Can Reduce Inflammation
The good news is that you don’t have to completely get the aforementioned foods out of your diet – you just need to consume them less often. Enjoying a burger, fries or dessert every now and then won’t make much difference in your body but eating them constantly can raise the inflammation. Instead of completely getting off the abovementioned foods, eat them less frequently and add the following 9 anti-inflammatory foods into your diet:
Ginger contains a compound known as gingerol that is the source of its anti-inflammatory powers. This compound can shut down certain inflammatory promoting genes and reduce the risk of further problems. The best way to benefit from ginger is to consume it raw or drink it in the form of tea.
Salmon and other types of fatty fish such as tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are needed for proper omega-3-to-omega-6 ratio. Eat them a few times per week to reduce the risk of inflammation.
Beets are rich in pigments such as betalain that can reduce inflammation. Furthermore, the vegetable contains antioxidants as well which can reduce swelling and the risk of chronic inflammation as well. You can consume beets grated raw into salads or add them in soups and smoothies.
Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
Broccoli, kale and collards are full of vitamin C and other compounds that can reduce inflammation and prevent the problems related to it.
Holy basil is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory plants in nature.
Walnuts are a great source of omega-3s which have anti-inflammatory properties. They are also great for your heart and cardiovascular system.
Besides reducing inflammation, olive oil can also protect your heart and help you lose weight.
Turmeric is the most powerful anti-inflammatory spice that can help in cases of arthritis and joint pain.
Peppers are powerful anti-inflammatory agents, but they have also been known to help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and cancer, so make sure to include them in your diet more often.