Updated: Feb 21
What is inflammation? Inflammation is the body’s response to an infection or injury. Lead by your immune system, the process of mending and repairing begins in your body with various biochemicals and white bloods cells fighting the source of the condition.
Research has shown that acute and chronic inflammation is a source of many major diseases and health issues. (1) Food is believed to be a common contributor of inflammation, therefore a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods, consisting of bioactive compounds, will decrease the effects and may reduce or even reverse the symptoms it causes.
The following foods are high in anti-inflammatory compounds:
Berries are rich in fibre, antioxidants and nutrients including Vitamin C, K, B6, copper, potassium, folate and manganese. The antioxidants in berries are known to reduce inflammation and accelerate the clearing out of toxins and damaged cells, whilst promoting a healthy immune system aiding in weight loss and increased metabolism.
Fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are rich in omega-3 fats which reduce inflammation and the risk of chronic disease. They are a favourable source of protein, high in vitamin B12 as well as choline and selenium benefiting weight control, whilst boosting your immune system and metabolism.
Broccoli contains immune strengthening antioxidants and an abundance
of phytochemicals called polyphenols that help to reduce damage to your
body’s cells. It contains the anti-inflammatory compound, quercetin, which
is a natural anti-histamine. Broccoli is also high in fibre and nutrients
including Vitamin C, A, K, selenium, potassium, folate and phosphorus.
Avocados are rich in B vitamins that are known to relieve stress. They are also high in fibre and healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados are rich in immune boosting anti-oxidants, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, containing anti-inflammatory organic compounds such as carotenoids, phytosterols and flavonoids.
Tomatoes contain the phytonutrient, lycopene, which has potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Their many benefits include protection against some cancers, sun damage and heart disease.
Mushrooms contain polysaccharides, terpenoids and phenolic compounds known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They have been found to boost the immune system, decrease blood pressure, fight cancer and lower the effects of radiation.
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants known to fight chronic inflammation. Phenolic compounds contained in olive oil give it its anti-inflammatory benefits. Additional health benefits include reduced risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes, it boosts immunity and can improve bone and brain health.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are high in folate, which is essential for the synthesis of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of satisfaction, pleasure and calm. They contain immune strengthening antioxidants and an abundance of polyphenols that help to clear out oxidants from out cells and there reduce cellular damage.
Green tea contains active polyphenols which induce autophagy, a process which occurs in the body where damaged cells are removed to be replaced by new healthy ones. As a whole, naturally occurring antioxidants in teas influence autophagy by reducing inflammation. They also enhance weight loss by promoting fat burning, accelerating metabolism and improving immune system.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a power antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
compound. It is known to promote digestion, relieve arthritic pain and
improve liver function. Curcumin has also been shown to have a range of
anti-tumour benefits and it is now being extensive trialled alongside
mainstream cancer therapies.
Flaxseed oil is one of the richest plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They contain anti-inflammatory polyphenols known as lignans. Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, flaxseed oil benefits your immune system and metabolism, whilst aiding weight control and digestive health.
Teodoro A. J. (2019). Bioactive Compounds of Food: Their Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Diseases. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2019, 3765986. doi:10.1155/2019/3765986