Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Help Reduce Systemic Inflammation

Page content

What is Systemic Inflammation?

Our immune systems respond to injury, irritation or infection with inflammation. Chronic systemic inflammation involves blood vessels and various tissues throughout the body, causing damage to many of the body’s systems. The longer the inflammation lasts, the more damage it can do to the body. Some of the causes of systemic inflammation are obesity, especially abdominal fat, insulin resistance, gum disease, parasites, infections, allergies and autoimmune disorders, as well as tobacco and other toxins. If your diet is high in refined flours, sugars, and fat, you probably should make an effort to eat more foods that reduce inflammation.

Foods that Reduce Inflammation

Omega 3 fatty acids fight inflammation. You’ll find them in cold water fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Olive oil, flaxseed oil, and hemp oils are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These oils are an essential part of your diet if you need to reduce inflammation. Include a cold water fish at least once a week for dinner. If you don’t like fish or if you’re a vegetarian, you can get omega 3 fatty acids from a supplement.

Cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower are great anti-inflammatory foods. Try to eat a rainbow assortment of vegetables and fruits. A daily salad that contains an assortment of antioxidant rich veggies can be a good way to reduce inflammation through your diet. Choose fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C to reduce inflammation. Include plenty of citrus fruits, strawberries, and papaya. Fruits and vegetables rich in bioflavenoids and polyphenols are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, and cherries are great choices. Don’t forget to add lots of onions and garlic to all your dishes. They both have many anti-inflammatory properties.

Green tea is a great choice for an anti-inflammatory drink. EGCG, the main catechin in green tea, is known to reduce inflammation. Aim for 3 cups of green tea each day. Other foods you’ll want to add to your diet include spices like ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric.

Foods to Avoid

If your goal is to reduce inflammation, you’ll need to limit certain foods in your diet. Sugar should be the first to go, especially refined sugars. Limit the amount of processed foods you consume. Also lower your intake of corn and potatoes, especially french fries. These vegetables are present in many processed foods, and increase inflammation. Instead, go for more whole foods in their natural state. In addition, lower your intake of refined wheat flours and gluten-containing grains. Studies are showing a growing number of people are developing sensitivities to gluten, and that as many as 45% of the population has some level of sensitivity to gluten. If inflammation is a concern due to food allergies or intolerances, consider an elimination process to remove those foods from your diet. Eating foods you are sensitive to will cause an increased level of systemic inflammation. Since food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent, it’s worth it to consider eliminating any foods of concern. Some foods that commonly cause allergies and intolerances are wheat, nuts, eggs, dairy, corn, and soy.

List of Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Choosing anti-inflammatory foods is easy with this anti-inflammatory foods pocket guide, which you can easily print and take with you the next time you go shopping.

Resources

1. Arthritis Today

2. Nutrition Today

3. Treelight.com