Chronic inflammation develops over months to years. A person’s diet plays an important role in causing chronic inflammation. The immune system becomes activated as digestive bacteria releases chemicals that may spur inflammation. The types of bacteria that fill our gut and their chemical byproducts vary according to the foods we consume. Certain foods encourage the growth of bacteria that stimulate inflammation, while others promote the growth of bacteria that help suppress it. In addition to eating foods rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients, it is important to limit the consumption of foods that can promote inflammation. Choosing the right anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce the risk of many diseases in the long run. Here is a list of top food items that help fight inflammation –
- Berries – Berries (like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins that have anti-inflammatory effects that reduce the risk of diseases.
- Broccoli – A cruciferous vegetable, eating broccoli is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. This may be due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidants this vegetable contain. Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane – an antioxidant that reduces inflammation by decreasing the levels of cytokines which are molecules that drive inflammation inside the body.
- Green Tea – Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages that a person can consume. Green tea contains a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and other conditions.
- Fatty Fish – Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA can help reduce inflammation.
- Nuts– Research reports suggest that consuming nuts like almonds and walnuts can lower inflammation and risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – One of the healthiest fats that a person can eat, extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that provide numerous health benefits. In addition, extra virgin olive oil is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions.
- Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and help keep the endothelial cells that line arteries healthy. They may also reduce the risk of disease and promote healthier aging.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant with high anti-inflammatory properties. Lycopene is specifically beneficial for reducing pro-inflammatory compounds related to several types of cancer.
- Pepper – Bell peppers and chili peppers are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory effects.
Chronic inflammation, if untreated, can lead to several diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s have been linked to chronic inflammation. Following a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, including a wide variety of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can help decrease chronic inflammation.