Inflammation: Cause of many diseases--The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Inflammation is a necessary part of the body’s healing process. It’s a natural mechanism which our body uses to help fight illness and also protects our body from further damage.
Many diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart diseases, depression, Alzheimer’s as well as acne are linked to chronic inflammation.
Choosing anti-inflammatory foods will help you reduce the risk of illness.
These are certain foods that can cause inflammation in our body.
Number one on our list is Sugar! Sugar is something on which these inflammatory disease feeds on. You can have sugar in tea/ coffee but avoid sugar from packaged foods like biscuits, chips, soda, fruit juices, carbonated beverages or any packet products. Observe your skin when you have too much sugar.
Next is Gluten, foods containing gluten are — wheat, barley, semolina, rye, vermicelli, broken wheat or daliya, bread, pizza, pasta, noodles, all refined carbs. Read food labels. So if you are experiencing inflammatory conditions then avoid gluten containing foods for a while and see the difference.
Then on our list is dairy and dairy products. These day’s cow and buffalo are given hormone injections when they are pregnant to increase their milk production. So, when you consume it, it leads to hormonal imbalance which can trigger inflammation in our body.
Next on our list is “partially hydrogenated” oils or artificial trans fat. Foods high in trans fat are french fries, and other fried fast foods, certain margarine's, packaged cakes and cookies, pastries and all processed food. Again read food labels.
Vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Though omega-6 fatty acids are necessary but our diet provides far more that we need.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation. According to a study, CRP (C-Reactive Protein), an inflammatory marker, increased in people who consumed more alcohol. Individuals who drink a lot may develop gut issues. Bacteria and toxins can move out of the colon and into the body and this condition is called as “leaky gut.” Leaky gut, also called as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to "leak" through the intestinal wall.
Processed meat is linked to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stomach and colon cancer. These processed meat contains more advanced glycation end products (AGEs) than other meats. AGEs are formed due to cooking meat and other foods at high temperature. They can lead to inflammation.
Inflammation can be triggered by many other factors like too much caffeine from tea or coffee, spicy foods or due to certain food allergies.
We saw what we need to avoid to prevent inflammation. Now let’s see which foods can help your body reduce inflammation-
Omega-3 fatty acids: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts like walnuts, fatty fish like salmon/ sardines/ herring/ mackerel/ anchovies, or cod liver oil. You can also take omega-3 capsules 1000-2000 mg per day post meal. But, check if it also has fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A or D. In that case consult someone for the accurate dosage, as we cannot afford to have too much of fat soluble vitamins. Omega-3 fatty acids like EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) found in fish and fish oils, reduce inflammation that can lead to metabolic syndrome, kidney problems, diabetes or heart disease.
Berries: Berries are packed with antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce health risk. Our body produces natural killer cells (NK cells), which help boost our immunity. Few studies show that consuming berries daily promotes the production of NK cells.
Avocados: These are packed with fiber, potassium, magnesium and MUFAs (Monounsaturated fat) which are heart-healthy.
Green tea: You must have heard about the health benefits of consuming green tea. Many of its health benefits are because of its antioxidant content as well as the anti-inflammatory properties, especially the substance known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG inhibits inflammation by decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine production to the fatty acids in our cells. But, make sure you buy green tea leaves and not the sachets.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a spice which is used in curries or other Indian dishes. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and helps in fighting bacterial infections and inflammation in our body. Turmeric alone might not have enough benefits, but if combined with fat like ghee/ oil/ nuts/ seeds/ avocado or black pepper will increase its benefits.
Ginger: It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial as well as anti-cancer properties. Ginger has the ability to treat a number of ailments including degenerative disorders (arthritis and rheumatism), digestive health (indigestion, constipation and ulcer), cardiovascular disorders (atherosclerosis and hypertension), vomiting, diabetes mellitus, and cancer. The antioxidant activity is due to the bioactive molecules of ginger known as gingerol. Ginger also helps to reduce oxidative stress caused by the increased production of free radicals which can lead to DNA damage.
Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, so treat it with anti-inflammatory diet and see your health improving.
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