Our body performs an unimaginably huge number of functions every second. New compounds are created and others are metabolized to simpler, building blocks.
Such machinery is too complex and delicate.
In addition, the body is constantly attacked by various harmful factors from the environment, and fortunately, it has several mechanisms to protect itself.
One of these mechanisms is inflammation. It is a normal and common response of the body to repair any damage or potential danger.
However, if inflammation lasts longer, it can also be harmful to health. Therefore, through the diet, you can help the body deal with such situations.
Further, you will be able to read more about inflammation, why and how it occurs, and which foods are so-called anti-inflammatory.
Table of Contents
What are inflammations?
Inflammation is a natural process, a part of the body’s defense mechanism and it plays a key role in the healing process.
When an “intruder” appears in the body, a response occurs in order to remove it. An intruder can be a bacterium, a virus, or just an inorganic object — a thorn, a dust mite, or an irritant.
There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is caused by some type of injury or disease and as the name implies, it is acute or short-lived.
It is accompanied by symptoms such as
- redness of the injured area,
- a feeling of heat, etc.
However, such symptoms are not always present, so inflammation may be present without any symptoms. Acute inflammation usually lasts for several days. Subacute inflammation may last 2 to 6 weeks.
The other type of inflammation, chronic, can last for months or even years.
It is most often associated with other diseases such as
- cardiovascular disease,
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- psoriasis and so on.
This type of inflammation is far more harmful and dangerous because it can last longer and cause many problems such as weight gain and several diseases – diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and the like.
The most common way to measure the degree of inflammation is by measuring the so-called biomarkers or inflammatory markers.
What are the most common causes and risk factors for inflammation?
For the occurrence of acute inflammation is considered that the most common reasons are:
- Exposure to an external substance or object
Symptoms of acute inflammation can occur for hours or days, depending on the cause. In some cases, they can become serious.
In terms of chronic inflammation, it can occur for similar reasons as acute, but it becomes chronic if the condition is long-term and the body fails to deal with it. Conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, etc. are also associated with chronic inflammation.
Risk factors for chronic inflammation are:
- Age – the risk increases with age
- A diet rich in unhealthy fats and excessive amounts of added refined sugar
- Sleep problems
- Hormonal imbalance, etc.
What foods can help with inflammation?
Forest or so-called berry fruit
This type of fruit includes strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.
They are fruits that are extremely rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. The most common type of antioxidant in this type of fruit is anthocyanins. In addition to antioxidant activity, these compounds have a strong anti-inflammatory effect and can act preventively for several diseases.
Foods that are a source of omega-3 fatty acids
As a food of this type, it is best to single out fish, especially fatty fish that are rich in omega-3 fats. This category includes salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, etc.
Long-chain types of omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA, are thought to reduce inflammation that can lead to disease (heart, diabetes, kidney disease, etc.).
In the body, such fatty acids are metabolized to compounds called resolvins and proteins. , which have proven anti-inflammatory effects.
In addition to fish, seeds (chia seeds and flaxseed), as well as nuts (especially walnuts), are considered good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks. Studies show that it reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, overweight and more.
This impressive profile is mainly due to the range of compounds present that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The compound with the abbreviation EGCG stands out in particular.
This compound is thought to inhibit inflammation by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Mushrooms are considered a food that is extremely nutritious and contains very few calories. They are rich in selenium, copper and contain all B vitamins. They also contain phenols – compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The process of heat treatment of mushrooms is considered to alter their anti-inflammatory potential, so very little heat treatment is recommended.
Peppers and bell peppers are an extremely good sources of vitamin C and a host of other antioxidants. Peppers contain the antioxidant compound quercetin, which is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce levels of inflammatory markers. Chili peppers are also a great source of anti-inflammatory compounds.
In addition to these types of foods, excellent anti-inflammatory types of foods are considered to be:
- Cold-pressed olive oil
- Dark chocolate and cocoa
Foods that should be avoided and can initiate or exacerbate inflammatory processes are:
- Fast food
- Foods rich in added refined sugar (sweets, cakes, ice cream, etc.)
- Highly processed foods
- Fried food
- Soft drinks (carbonated juices, iced tea, energy drinks)
- Foods that contain trans fats
- Meat processing
Such foods are primarily a source of unhealthy fats. They contain large amounts of salt and sugar, as well as several harmful compounds that occur during their preparation. They are thought to increase inflammatory markers in the body and worsen the condition of chronic inflammation in the body.