What are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Inflammation can be reduced by consuming anti-inflammatory foods. Unfortunately, the majority of foods consumed today are pro-inflammation in nature, which promotes inflammation in the body. Inflammation of the body is linked to various health aliments. The proceeding information will help you understand what anti-inflammatory foods are and what negative immune system mechanisms the foods help to prevent.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Not all foods contribute to inflammation in the human body. As the name suggests, anti-inflammatory foods help to reduce the effects of the body’s inflammatory response. Anti-inflammatory agents in these foods tend to contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are key to fighting inflammation, can be found in fish and flax seed food sources.

Unlike anti-inflammation foods, pro-inflammation foods contain high amounts of polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as sunflower and peanut, and increase the amount of gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which is an omega-6 fatty acid. At increased and disproportionate levels, GLA can lead to increased susceptibility to inflammation in certain chronic conditions.

Consuming anti-inflammatory foods regularly will help to balance the levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Anti-inflammatory foods are not only beneficial for the reduction of inflammation but the improvement of cholesterol, digestion and weight management. Below is a list of some anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Fish: Mackerel, Salmon, Cod, Halibut and Herring
  • Vegetables: Squash, Spinach, Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts
  • Fruit: Papaya, Blueberries, Oranges and Apples
  • Nuts, Grains and Seeds: Almonds, Walnuts, Brown Rice, Oatmeal and Flax Seed
  • Oils: Virgin Olive Oil and Avocado Oil

Inflammatory Response

To better understand what role anti-inflammatory foods play in reducing inflammation in the body, the inflammatory response must first be understood. Inflammation in the body occurs when tissue is injured. The most common causes of injury to tissues are bacteria, heat, toxins and trauma. Depending on the type of injury, the injured cells produce specific reactionary substances, such as histamine and prostaglandins (PG-E2). In order to protect and isolate other cells from damage, the reactionary substances activate a process that makes the affected tissues retain fluid, which causes swelling or inflammation.

Inflammation comes in two forms: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is a short lived response to tissue injury. Constant or chronic inflammation causes tissue and cell damage. Chronic inflammation is prolonged, lasting weeks to years. Chronic inflammation can lead to cardiovascular and auto-immune conditions such as Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Anti-Inflammatory Food Agents

Foods with high glycemic content create unfavorable conditions in the body. The higher the glycemic content of foods, the greater the immune system reaction will be. To counter the effect of increased blood sugar from high glycemic foods, more insulin is released. Some studies seem to indicate a relationship between increased amounts of insulin and prostaglandin (PG-E2) production, which is a pro-inflammatory agent.

Increased amounts of insulin can also contribute to a rise of pro-inflammatory arachidonic acids (AA) in the blood. Anti-inflammatory foods contain agents that counter the synthesis of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin (PG-E2) production. Anti-inflammatory foods also contain agents that neutralize the excessive pro-inflammatory arachidonic acids (AA) in the blood, which reduces overall inflammation.

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