August 14 2021
When the body is attacked by foreign invaders which include microbes, pollens from plants, or chemical compounds, the immune system of the body gets activated which triggers an immune response known as inflammation and thus protects our health. But the continued presence of inflammation in the body even in the absence of foreign substances is harmful to our body and maybe the causative factor for various health diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Some of the most natural sources in combating inflammation are derived from food. Including food components that have anti-inflammatory effects is essential for reducing the risk of developing illnesses.
The health risk of inflammatory foods
Foods such as refined carbohydrates and processed meat as well as beverages like sodas are considered bad for the health as they contain substances that trigger inflammation. Research shows that foods that are known to cause chronic health problems such as diabetes and heart disease are also responsible for the excessive stimulation of inflammation in the body. These foods are a major causative factor for developing weight gain which is in turn a risk factor for inflammation.
Benefits of anti-inflammatory foods
A diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, fish, and consumption of food cooked in healthy oil is usually known to reduce inflammation. These foods also have beneficial effects on the overall physical and mental well being of the individual by improving not only the mood but also the overall quality of life. Some of the anti-inflammatory foods include:
Berries are a type of fruit that is loaded with various essential vitamins and minerals along with fibre. Some of the most widely consumed berries include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. The presence of antioxidant properties in berries is due to the presence of anthocyanins which have anti-inflammatory activity thereby reducing the risk of developing various health conditions. It also helps in activating the natural killer cells (NK cells) which ensure the smooth functioning of the body’s immune system. Studies also have shown that the regular intake of berries is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers that are indicative of cardiovascular disease.
The major sources of omega -3 fatty acids and protein are fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies. The EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which is abundantly found in omega 3 fatty acids play a major role in reducing inflammation which can lead to various health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.
These omega 3 fatty acids are metabolized by the body and converted into compounds known as resolvins and protectins which are also associated with profound anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that those individuals who regularly consume supplements rich in (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) such as Alvizia salmon fish oil capsules supplements have significantly reduced amounts of the potent inflammatory marker C reactive protein ( CRP).
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the compound known as sulforaphane which is a potent antioxidant that plays an important role in fighting off inflammation by its ability to decrease the amounts of cytokines and NF - kB which promote inflammation. Studies show that individuals who regularly consume broccoli have a lower risk of developing health disorders such as heart disease.
Green tea is considered to be an extremely healthy drink as its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, excessive weight gain, and other health disorders due to the presence of a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which blocks the cytokine synthesis which is known as an inflammatory substance and causes the destruction of fatty acids compounds in the body.
Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, bell peppers are known to exhibit potent anti-inflammatory activity by producing quercetin, which is an antioxidant whose major role is found to be in sarcoidosis which is an increased disease where it reduces the production of the inflammatory markers. Bell peppers are also known to contribute to promoting the delayed onset of aging as they reduce inflammation due to the production of chemicals such as sinapic acid and ferulic acid.
Some varieties of mushrooms such as truffles, portobello, and shiitake are very good sources of essential nutrients such as selenium, copper, and vitamin B. Mushroom intake also increases anti-inflammatory activity as they contain phenols and other antioxidants. Lion’s mane is a special variety of mushroom that can decrease the risk of developing obesity-associated inflammation.
Grapes are known to decrease the risk of developing severe health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and eye disorders. Grapes also reduce inflammation as they contain compounds such as anthocyanins. Resveratrol which is a chemical with abundant health benefits is also a derivative from grapes and it helps in reducing inflammatory markers such as NF- kB. The regular consumption of grapes in the diet is also associated with the increasing levels of adiponectin whose deficiency leads to weight gain.
Turmeric is a spice and it is a rich source of Curcumin which is known for its anti-inflammatory effects associated with health disorders such as arthritis, diabetes, and other conditions. Studies show that consumption of Curcumin in individuals suffering from the metabolic syndrome in association with piperine produced from black pepper plays an important role in reducing the inflammatory markers such as C reactive protein.
Rich in vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, the intake of tomatoes has significant anti-inflammatory effects due to its antioxidant activity. In some cases, the consumption of tomatoes may also cause a reduction in pro-inflammatory chemicals due to the presence of lycopene.