Chronic inflammation can destroy your immune system, leading to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other diseases. The most effective tool against inflammation comes from food. What are the best anti-inflammatory foods to eat? Check out 11 foods that can keep you more protected from diseases.
Inflammation is a normal response of the body to protect itself. When the body is invaded by foreign objects, such as bacteria, allergens or chemical substances, the defense mechanism of the immune system activates and the repair work begins.
However, in many cases, inflammation can be our enemy. Chronic inflammation that exists in the body over a long period of time can seriously threaten health.
Many diseases are related to chronic inflammation, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the most effective tools to fight inflammation is not medicine, but the food you eat. Studies have shown that although certain foods can cause inflammation, many foods also have good anti-inflammatory effects.
Choosing the right anti-inflammatory foods can either minimize the risk of disease or can accelerate the progress of inflammatory diseases.
Here are 11 foods with the most prominent anti-inflammatory effects.
1. Olive oil
Olive oil, especially extra virgin, is one of the healthiest fats. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. It is also the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet, which can be very beneficial to human health.
Oleocanthal, an antioxidant in olive oil, has a similar effect to anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
Some research data has shown that oleic acid, as the main lipid component of virgin olive oil, has a protective effect on the heart. Oleic acid can prevent cardiovascular insulin resistance and improve endothelial dysfunction in response to proinflammatory signals, which may help improve atherosclerosis.
When buying olive oil, remember to choose extra virgin olive oil, which has a much stronger anti-inflammatory effect than refined olive oil.
2. Fatty fish
High-fat fish is an important source of protein and long-chain omega 3. The EPA and DHA in Omega 3 have obvious anti-inflammatory effects.
Although all fish contain some omega-3 fatty acids, the following types of high-fat fish are the best sources.
Reduction or lack of EPA and DHA can lead to inflammatory diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease.
Avocado is a fruit that is very beneficial to health although many people think it is more like a vegetable.
Avocado provides various beneficial compounds that can help to prevent inflammation. In addition, the carotenoids contained in it can reduce the risk of cancer [*]. Avocados are rich in potassium, magnesium, high fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
Moreover, when using a ketogenic diet, avocado is the only “safe” fruit except for a few berries. Although an avocado contains some carbohydrates, it is also rich in high-quality fats. It is an indispensable food of the ketogenic diet where low carbohydrate and high fat is the standard.
Tomatoes have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. They are rich in vitamin C, potassium and the antioxidant Lycopene.
Lycopene is a natural carotenoid found in tomatoes. It prevents cardiovascular diseases and cancer by inhibiting pro-inflammatory mediators, while also activating anti-inflammatory factors in immune cells.
Since lycopene is a carotenoid or fat-soluble nutrient, cooking tomatoes with olive oil can make them better absorbed by the body.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. Other vegetables from the same group are cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale.
Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidants. They are great for having an anti-inflammatory effect and eating large amounts can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Broccoli is one of the best sources of sulforaphane, which is an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
6. Chili and bell peppers
Chili and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. They have a very strong anti-inflammatory effect.
Bell peppers contain the antioxidant quercetin, which can reduce the risk of sarcoidosis (an inflammatory disease).
Chili contains erucic acid and ferulic acid, which can reduce inflammation and delay aging.
Edible mushrooms are very low in calories, rich in selenium, copper and all B vitamins. They also contain phenols and other antioxidants, which provide anti-inflammatory protection.
However, studies have shown that cooking mushrooms significantly reduces the anti-inflammatory compounds, so it is best to eat them raw or just cook them slightly.
Berries are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. The most common berries include cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and red raspberries.
Berries contain polyphenol compounds with anti-inflammatory activity. The most important being the antioxidant anthocyanins, which can improve immunity and reduce the risk of disease.
In particular, red raspberries are high in essential micronutrients, dietary fiber and polyphenols, especially ellagitannins and anthocyanins. Regular consumption of raspberries can prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.
Grapes are rich in anthocyanins, which are some of the best sources of resveratrol. Resveratrol is another compound with many health benefits.
Purple grapes also contain flavonoids. Anthocyanins and flavonoids are very strong antioxidants. They are able to fight against and remove free radicals in the body to help reduce inflammation. Appropriate consumption of grapes and drinking wine is beneficial to cardiovascular health.
10. Green tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages. Green tea contains catechins. These catechins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which can inhibit the production of free radicals.
Long-term intake of catechins can help prevent or reduce obesity, type II diabetes caused by high-fat diets and can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Therefore, green tea is considered a very good dietary supplement to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
11. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate generally refers to a cocoa solids content of between 70% to 99%. Eating dark chocolate in moderation can increase the flavonoids in the blood, thereby improving the body’s antioxidant level.
The flavanols contained in dark chocolate and cocoa have anti-inflammatory effects, which can protect the health of vascular endothelial cells and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Many studies have confirmed that high-concentration dark chocolate is effective in preventing and reducing symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
Even low levels of chronic inflammation can cause disease. The best preventive measures are to adjust your diet, limit (as much as possible) foods that are prone to inflammation and eat more foods rich in antioxidants.
Focusing on the best anti-inflammatory foods can help you control inflammation and minimize the risk of various inflammatory diseases.
The healthiest way to get the best anti-inflammatory benefits is to follow a low-carb diet. This type of diet not only improves the body’s antioxidant capacity but also has a significant weight loss effect, by increasing healthy fats and reducing carbohydrates.
A healthy lifestyle plus reasonable and healthy eating habits are an effective way to ensure that your body reduces chronic inflammation and stays free from diseases.