6 Foods That Decrease Inflammation

Foods that fight inflammation

Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to decrease inflammation in the body is not through a drug, but in foods.

As you may know, your immune system recognizes and attacks anything that is recognizes as a threat to your body (antigen).  This can be something natural or unnatural.  When it attacks, it involves inflammation.

However, sometimes inflammation lasts days, weeks, even years when the body is irritated with foods that are pesticide ridden or not nutritious.  This is when inflammation occurs, day in and day out, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation is your enemy. Many major diseases that you hear about including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’ have been linked to chronic inflammation.

One of the most powerful tools to decrease inflammation does not come from a drug, but from the grocery store.  There have been many books and research showing that certain foods keep inflammation down in the body.  and now Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard states that “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects.”

Choose the right foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness and disease.   Pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammation in your body and start the disease process.

So what foods inflame the body?  

  • The “bad” carbohydrates, such as white bread, pastries, pasta (anything the body metabolizes as sugar)
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages (again…sugar)
  • red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • margarine, shortening, and lard

Inflammation-promoting foods

So, it should make sense that all of the foods that cause inflammation also are bad for us.

“Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation,” Dr. Hu says. “It’s not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.”

Unhealthy foods also lead to gaining weight as well so people that are obese are also highly inflammed.

Foods that decrease inflammation

Include plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges. Highly acidic fruits like pineapple and mango should be eaten sparingly.

Anti-inflammation foods

On the flip side are foods and beverages that have been found to reduce the risk of inflammation, and with it, chronic disease, says Dr. Hu. He notes in particular fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens that are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols, which play a huge role in the prevention of disease.

Studies have also associated nuts with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Coffee, which contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, may protect against inflammation, as well but make sure it is organic instead of sprayed with pesticides.

“A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life,” Dr. Hu says.

I have to agree.  When I am eating my normal diet of salad, fruits, veggies and lean meats…my mood and energy levels are wonderful

References: Harvard Women’s Health Watch