Inflammation is one of our body's most effective defense mechanisms. It is controlled by our immune system to fight against infection and certain bodily injuries. When inflammation occurs, the body is trying to signal that the damaged tissues need rescue and repair.
However, there are times when our inflammatory response needs help. Some foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, are too strong for the immune system to battle alone. For this reason, inflammation may persist, which can be difficult to control.
And one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to combat persistent and uncontrolled inflammation is eating anti-inflammatory foods.
Top 10 Foods That Fight Swelling And Inflammation
To help your immune system and reduce the risk of illness due to the effects of swelling and inflammation, consider including one or two anti-inflammatory food in your diet.
Here’s a list of the top ten foods that fight swelling and inflammation for you to choose from:
It is not a surprise that a vegetable made it on the list. Besides the fact that vegetables (especially the green leafy ones) are highly nutritious, they are rich in antioxidants. Recent studies also show that consuming cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, etc.) is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. This may be related to the effects of antioxidants in controlling inflammation.
According to research, olive oil contains compounds that have beneficial effects in the body, particularly anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, certain compounds in olive oil show the same anti-inflammatory response as NSAIDs. It may be less potent than NSAIDs, but it has fewer side effects because it is natural and safe for consumption by everyone.
We know that tomatoes are good nutritional sources. Besides vitamin C, they contain potassium, Lycopene, and antioxidants. One important mechanism that tomatoes can do is the down-regulation of the body's inflammatory response. These include inhibition of the mediators responsible for swelling and inflammation in the body. Study shows that the natural carotenoid in tomato called Lycopene may be accountable for these preventive properties.
Omega-3 in seafood, especially fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna, are reported to have anti-arrhythmic, anti-thrombogenic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Although not well understood, fish oil can significantly lower the effect of prostaglandins in the body. These prostaglandins are substances that power up inflammation and cause negative effects in the body.
According to a published article by Harvard Women's Health Watch, nuts have anti-inflammatory effects. These include nuts such as almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, and walnuts.
They contain plenty of Vitamin E, which can protect the body against free radicals and inflammation. That is why, aside from being the perfect snack food, nuts can be an excellent addition to vegetarian burgers, salads, and nut butter.
Fruits are touted for the numerous health benefits they offer. Among these benefits is their ability to reduce inflammation. These include fruits such as strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and oranges.
Green tea has been gaining popularity for a lot of individuals. Not only it has been added in several desert bar menus and coffee shops but as a health drink. Made from medicinal, unfermented tea leaves, green tea contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are compounds that are believed to be potent antioxidants. They fight against free radicals and inflammation. Research says that it limits the molecules in the body that are responsible for triggering joint pain and inflammation.
Mushroom contains phenols and antioxidants that protect the body from excessive infection. In fact, people have started to consume mushroom for its medicinal effects for more than two thousand years ago.
Turmeric, the golden spice commonly used in Asian food, has many preventative and healing benefits. It can boost immunity, balance the levels of hormones in the body, encourage proper digestion, improve brain function, speed up post-workout recovery, and a lot more. You may not know it, but turmeric has many benefits.
Chemical compounds found in turmeric, curcumin, in particular, works alongside various vitamins and minerals. In a study, researchers found that curcumin is very useful in preventing joint inflammation. In fact, curcumin can be as powerful as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. While NSAIDs work to reduce the release of inflammatory mediators in the body, curcumin works against dozens of these compounds. This means that curcumin can attack more substances that cause inflammation and pain.
Dark Chocolate and Cocoa
Last but certainly not the least, chocolates and cocoa. Yes, chocolate and cocoa have anti-inflammatory effects. In one study, researchers found that high flavonol chocolate can help reduce inflammation.
Flavonols are compounds in cocoa and chocolate that are responsible for their anti-inflammatory effects. Aside from that, these compounds help keep certain cells (which line the arteries) healthy.
About the Authors:
Mike Zhang is the founder of the MZF Group. He graduated from the University of Toronto on the dean's list with a Masters Degree in science. Mike was a two time National Muay Thai Champion, and a strength and conditioning coach to several learned athletes. He has over 14 years of experience as a Muay Thai Coach.
Marijune Tiamzon, RN, MHPNP
With nearly 5 years of experience in the medical field, Marijune holds a registered nurse license and a certificate as a mental health nurse practitioner. She is an adventurous young professional, and her hobbies include diving, windsurfing, and saber fencing.
As an avid writer, she is most passionate about sharing acquired knowledge in the medical field and how to apply it to improve the quality of life of our readers.