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A Guide to Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Better Health: Power Up Your Plate

MuscleMecca Crew

MuscleMecca Crew

MuscleMecca Crew
May 11, 2012
Inflammation in our body is not new. It may bring benefits to the body. But most of the time, inflammation may lead to chronic diseases. As a benefit, inflammation is our body's natural defense against infections and injuries. Because the food we eat plays a massive role in our health, there are anti-inflammatory foods that may improve our overall well-being.
Making lifestyle changes, including anti-inflammatory foods, may contribute to your body's line of defense against chronic diseases and inflammation. But foods may also be the cause of the inflammation in your body.

How Anti-Inflammatory Foods Work​

Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties are rich in antioxidants and immune-boosting compounds. Some of these foods reduce the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals, protect cells from damage, and promote healthy gut microbiomes.
Creating an anti-inflammatory diet means your body needs more daily fruits and vegetables than red meat and dairy. In replacement of red meat, you can eat fatty fish instead. Avoiding processed foods will help you maximize the potential benefits of the anti-inflammatory properties of these foods.
Aside from taking medicines, anti-inflammatory foods also contribute to your body's defense against inflammation. These include almost all types of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. However, there are specific ones that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Changing what's on your plate can significantly change your body. These foods can lessen or eliminate the pain you constantly feel when taking medicines.

Examples of Specific Anti-Inflammatory Foods and Their Properties​

Deep-Colored Fruits​

You can find the anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidants in dark-colored fruits. These substances may aid in neutralizing free radicals, which are unstable chemicals that can harm cells and cause inflammation in the body.
Pomegranates can protect your body against oxidative stress contributing to chronic diseases. Cherries contain anthocyanins and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce arthritis and improve the recovery of your joints. Grapes have resveratrol that blocks certain enzymes that creates inflammation.
Berries are fruits known for excellent anti-inflammatory properties. It not only blocks the creation of inflammation, but it also promotes activities in your body that reduce inflammation.

Whole Grains​

We know that whole grains are rich in fiber. Consuming these types of foods regulate your digestive system. Because of this, you can prevent inflammation in your guts, which keeps your immune system functioning.
Phytochemicals in flaxseed and whole wheat contain lignans, which reduce inflammation and protect you against certain cancers. Other examples of whole grains are quinoa, oats, and barley, which keep your C-reactive protein levels low. CRP may indicate that you have inflammation in your body.

Fish Rich in Omega-3​

Fatty and oily fish contain high levels of omega-3, a nutrient needed for cardiovascular health. However, many of us don't know these fishes' anti-inflammatory contributions to our bodies. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to block processes in the body that may cause inflammation.
In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, certain fish, like salmon and mackerel, are high in vitamin D, which has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin D aids in immune system regulation and may lower the generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Fish is a high-quality protein source of calcium, vitamin D, probiotics, and unsaturated fat.
If consuming fish is not your thing, you can still have these nutrients by taking fish oil supplements. Taking these supplements is as effective as consuming fish.

Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds​

Aside from fish, you can also have a good amount of omega-3 from different nuts and seeds. You can mix nuts, such as pistachios, almonds, and cashews, for a satisfying snack. On the other hand, you may also consume pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds as a variety. Like nuts and seeds, legumes such as chickpeas and lentils are also good sources of omega-3.
Aside from omega-3, these foods also contain vitamin E and tannin. These nutrients also promote a healthy gut by producing an anti-inflammatory butyrate.

Cruciferous Veggies​

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can help decrease heart disease and cancer. These vegetables contain a high amount of antioxidants, which lowers the chances of having and creating inflammations in our bodies.
Cruciferous vegetables also contain vitamin K, flavonoids, and carotenoids, all essential nutrients to reduce inflammation.

Benefits of Incorporating Anti-Inflammatory Foods Into The Diet​

Improved Cardiovascular Health​

Because these foods are high in omega-3, there is no wonder why anti-inflammatory foods help in our cardiovascular health. They can lower the causes of inflammation, promote healthy blood lipid levels, and may keep your blood pressure low.
These anti-inflammatory foods also contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation in blood vessels. Because of this, you can have improved blood flow and a lower risk of having atherosclerosis. As we know, too much red meat frequently increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. Anti-inflammatory foods contain omega-3, the most effective nutrient in keeping your heart healthy. These foods also contribute to keeping cholesterol levels low, which may cause heart diseases.
Having at least a few cups of lentils weekly, a hot cup of tea daily, slices of avocado, or up to eight ounces of salmon can help your heart function properly. These foods cannot keep your heart healthy if you only consume them at times you like. It should be included in your daily diet to get the maximum benefits in the long run.

Reduced Risks of Chronic Diseases​

People who follow anti-inflammatory diets are less likely to acquire most chronic illnesses. If you already have a chronic disease, an anti-inflammatory diet may help prevent it from worsening. It may also assist you in managing the symptoms of that chronic ailment, especially oxidative stress.
Chronic diseases, especially if you are in the last stage, are pretty stressful. It can lower your quality of living, including your family caregivers. Thankfully, plenty of anti-inflammatory foods are available to help manage your symptoms and prevent inflammation. There are many reasons why a person suffers from chronic diseases. What's worse is we see its symptoms during the final stages. It means we can no longer control it and need lifetime treatments to stay healthy. However, you can still delay and reduce the risks of having chronic diseases if you regularly consume anti-inflammatory foods.
You can start by filling your grocery list with fruits and vegetables and fatty fish. Instead of buying hotdogs and too much red meat, you can replace them with tuna or salmon. Consider buying healthier options rather than those full of preservatives and processed items.

Better Immune System​

Inflammation happens to our bodies when they try to fight injuries or infections. However, it turns bad if it leads to chronic inflammation. Medicine can help, but a better source of natural remedies is including the right foods in your diet.
Many anti-inflammatory foods also contain probiotics that promote healthy gut bacteria, which can improve immune function. It also boosts the antioxidants in your body to support your immune system. Vitamin C, present in foods like citrus fruits, bell peppers, and broccoli, for example, may assist in maintaining the immune system by encouraging the creation of white blood cells. Aside from anti-inflammatory properties, colorful fruits, and vegetables also contain numerous vitamins and minerals essential for your immune system. When antioxidants and essential nutrients work together, your body can have its first line of defense against illnesses and diseases.

How Anti-Inflammatory Foods Can Help Prevent Chronic Diseases​

Anti-inflammatory foods high in healthy fats, such as fatty fish, almonds, and olive oil, may help support healthy blood lipid levels. These foods may reduce the likelihood of acquiring heart disease and other cardiovascular disorders.
These foods are your best sources of nutrients to help minimize stressors, block immune-mediated inflammatory signals, support healthy guts, and delay digestion to reduce blood glucose spikes.
Consider a plant-based or balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Some experts also recommend adding fatty fish to maximize the anti-inflammatory properties.

Tips for Incorporating Anti-Inflammatory Foods Into The Diet​

Some experts say, "Make your plate colorful." This means foods that provide anti-inflammatory benefits may come in different forms and colors, such as dark-colored fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, or salmon. A plant-based diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Unhealthy foods are the usual causes of inflammation. Sometimes, these foods are high in sugar, dairy, gluten, and processed meats. Consuming these should be in limited quantity only. It is much better to avoid these foods.
Also, cooking techniques such as grilling, frying, and broiling may release inflammatory chemicals. Instead, consider steaming, baking, or poaching your meals.

The Bottom Line​

Examples of anti-inflammatory foods may not look pleasing to someone who loves eating. However, these foods are best to take when you are in the early stage of chronic disease.
These foods are rich in omega-3 and antioxidants to reduce inflammation and delay chronic disease. Though these foods are all good for your health, it is better to consult your medical practitioner first to understand which nutrients are best for your body. Our bodies can benefit from inflammation. However, if it is already severe, it can harm us. Our diets can speak a lot about our health. What we can do for our bodies is to consume the right foods to be healthy. These anti-inflammatory foods can create barriers in our bodies to block and reduce inflammation. Because of this, we may have reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases, injuries, pains, and chronic illnesses.
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