5 anti-inflammatory food exchanges: Harvard Health Blog


Inflammation: If you follow the health news, you’ll probably find out often. When is inflammation useful? How can it be harmful? What steps can you take to reduce it?

What is inflammation and how does it affect your body?

If you are unfamiliar with the term, inflammation refers to a reaction of the immune system to an infection or injury. In these cases, inflammation is a beneficial sign that the body is struggling to repair itself by sending an army of healing white blood cells. As the injury heals or the disease is controlled, the inflammation decreases. You’ve probably seen this happen to a minor Ankle sprain: The initial inflammation disappears within a few days as the lesion heals.

But inflammation also occurs without any healthy purpose, such as when you experience chronic stress, have an autoimmune disorder, or are obese. And instead of solving a problem and going back, inflammation like this can last for a period of time, damaging the body and causing health problems like arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and cancer. .

This is why inflammation has been at the forefront in recent years and why strategies to reduce it are so popular. Many of these anti-inflammatory recommendations relate to your diet.

Can changes in your diet reduce your body’s useless inflammation?

The truth is that there are still many unknowns about diet and its connection to inflammation and disease. What is clear is that having a healthy diet can help improve overall health and longevity. There is also some evidence to support the notion that eating a large amount of nutritious foods can reduce inflammation. For example, people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables tend to have lower levels of a substance called C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation inside the body.

In addition, some research has found a link between heavy diets in foods that promote inflammation and an increased risk of certain health problems. For example, a to study inside Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who consumed pro-inflammatory foods, including red and processed meat, refined carbohydrates, and sugary drinks, were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people who used to look for anti-inflammatory foods, such as green leaves, beans, and has.

It may be too early to establish a direct line between the foods you eat and your body’s inflammation levels. Fortunately, foods that seem to reduce inflammation are also often good for you for other reasons. Therefore, focusing on eating these foods can probably benefit your body in more ways than one.

5 food exchanges to help fight inflammation

A complete overhaul of your diet is a challenge, so experts advise making minor changes over time. Trying a series of simple exchanges can increase long-term health.

Here are five substitutions you can use to help reduce the number of foods that promote inflammation in your diet.

  • Instead of a simple bagel with cream cheese, make one or two slices of whole-grain toast drizzled with olive oil. Whole grains contain substances that help promote the growth of healthy bacteria inside the body. Bacteria can produce compounds that help counteract inflammation. Regular consumption of olive oil also has advantages: along with anti-inflammatory effects, they can also help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
  • Instead of a carbonated soda, try a cup of green tea. Green tea contains substances called catechins, a flavanol designed to fight inflammation. (Just be careful not to load the cup with sugar.)
  • Instead of a cornbread, substitute a handful of mixed nuts and an apple. Nuts provide a number of health benefits, such as providing a dose of healthy fats, proteins, and (depending on the variety of nuts you eat) phytochemicals. These phytochemicals contain antioxidants, which help cleanse harmful substances called free radicals in the body. They are also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Fruits like apples also contain fiber and phytochemicals.
  • Instead of a steak and baked potato, make a salmon ration with a side of broccoli. Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and other types of fish, such as tuna, sardines and mackerel, have been linked to better heart health, possibly due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Broccoli is also a good source of fiber and is rich in vitamins C, E, K and folate. It also contains carotenoids, a phytochemical.
  • Instead of a slice of cake, mix a fruit salad with various types of berries. Fruits like berries are rich in vitamins and phytochemicals that slow down inflammation.

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