Chronic inflammation can arise from incomplete recovery from an infection that causes acute inflammation (the body’s immune response), autoimmune disorders, pollutants and other irritants and other causes. Certain foods can contribute to inflammation, including sugar, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, processed meat and excessive alcohol.
Research has shown the constant stress of this kind of low-grade inflammation on the body contributes to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other diseases.
While there are many drugs on the market to combat inflammation, you can first take other, more natural approaches such as bringing more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.
These generally contain high levels of at least one important nutrient that fights inflammation, such as fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
Some of the specific foods that fight inflammation with these and other chemical compounds include:
- Cruciferous vegetables — broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collard greens, bok choy, radishes, turnips.
- Other vegetables — sweet potatoes, squash, artichoke, peppers, beets, leafy greens.
- Fruits — pomegranates, tomatoes, berries, cherries, apples, guava, plums and prunes, avocado, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, pineapple.
- Whole grains — whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, farro, popcorn, barley, buckwheat.
- Nuts and seeds — walnuts, almonds, peanuts, flaxseed, chia seeds.
- Proteins — salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, beans, chickpeas, grass-fed animals and dairy, high-quality eggs and cheese.
- Drinks, herbs and spices — coffee, tea (especially green tea), turmeric, ginger, garlic.