What is inflammation?
Inflammation is an essential part of everybody´s immune system. It´s the response of our immune system to any kind of injuries. The defense mechanism is against any kind of bacteria, viruses and it repairs the affected areas. Any infection would result in death if inflammation would not heal it. It is believed that chronic inflammation plays a huge role in a lot of chronic diseases. This includes for example heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer´s and other degenerative conditions.
Anything that can help with these conditions is worth taking a look at and trying it.
But on the other hand, inflammation can also be a problem. It can be a part of some chronic diseases.
Signs of inflammation:
Imagine the following scenario: You hit your toe really hard on the doorframe. The instant pain will take your breath away. The biochemical process that now runs in your toe is an “emergency reaction”.
Proteins (cytokines) are released.
To fix the problem they transport nutrients, hormones, and immune cells to the affected area.
White blood cells come for help and grab broken or even dead cell material.
Hormones create blood clots in order to fix the damaged area.
The swelling you will see is based on the fluid that comes with the transportation of the nutrients, blood cells, and hormones. The liquid then spreads and results in the swelling.
There are 2 types of inflammation
|Acute Inflammation||Chronic Inflammation|
If you experience any kind of inflammation it will be good to take a closer look at your diet.
Let´s say you suffer from rheumatic arthritis then you probably have to take medication. The change of food won´t replace the medication, but it will definitely make the overall situation better.
The food you should be eating is mostly the Mediterranean diet. It consists of fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. Eating omega 3 fatty acids is important. They are anti-inflammatory and help to protect our body from injuries that come from inflammation.
What should you eat?
- Fruits and vegetables
Choose the colorful fruits and vegetables. The colors indicate the presence of secondary plant substances. They are known to be inflammatory.
The most popular ones are carotenoids (in red, yellow, orange, green leafy vegetables) and flavonoids (in yellow, red, blue-violet fruits and veggies). They are found in the outer layers. That means if you peel an apple, the secondary plant substances get lost.
Spinach, kale, broccoli, sweet potato, carrots, cabbage (the red one), blackberries, strawberries
- Whole grains
The fiber in whole grain helps to lower inflammation. It also helps with weight loss, that´s also a bonus.
Whole wheat bread, quinoa, bulgur, brown rice, oatmeal, buckwheat
- Cold water fish
You should consider eating fish at least 2 times a week. The omega 3 fatty acids will help to protect your body from damage.
Salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines
- Avocados & Nuts
They are both a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. But keep in mind that they are high in fat and too much of them will show on the scale.
Besides a nice flavor, they add antioxidants.
Turmeric, garlic, oregano, cayenne, cloves
What foods cause inflammation?
Sugary foods are low in nutrients. Because we tend to overeat them they easily lead to weight gain and high blood sugar levels.
Soda, sweet drinks, all foods with added sugars
- Processed, high-fat foods
Eating a lot of high-fat meals will increase your level of saturated fat. It´s known to cause inflammation.
Chips, Hot Dogs, french fries, fried chicken
- Trans fat foods
Trans fat raises LDL cholesterol (the bad one). Cholesterol is a cause of inflammation.
Margarine, coffee creamer, everything with partially hydrogenated oils