Foods to Eat to Help Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Eating to reduce chronic inflammation is one of the most important steps towards controlling long term illnesses like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Many people assume that these illnesses cannot be prevented and adopt a fatalistic attitude about their health. However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 80 per cent of these illnesses can be prevented with lifestyle changes like improving diet and exercising more (Source).
In this article, we will explore how eating some of the better foods can help reduce chronic inflammation for better long term health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in seafood, whole eggs and hemp and help to reduce inflammation. These fatty acids block the steps involved in inflammation and production of excess prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These fatty acids also lower the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma (Source).
You can read more about Omega 3 for athletes here (related article).
Curcumin is a pigment found in turmeric and has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has a protective role against cancer, atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases (Source). Curcumin is a common cooking spice and has cosmetic importance, it helps to reduce acne and redness.
More information about curcumin and turmeric can be found here (related article).
In an experimental study, subjects were asked to take probiotic yoghurt for a month and results were noted. Probiotic yoghurt showed anti-inflammatory function in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Yoghurt has probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR‐1 and L. reuteri RC‐14 and they increase the concentration of CD4+ CD25+ Treg cells (CD4+ CD25 high) in the periphery and decreased inflammatory markers such as IL-12 and tumour necrosis factor (Source).
Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish can increase the level of HDL in your body (Source). Increasing your monounsaturated fat intake from foods like extra virgin olive oil and cold-pressed avocado oil can reduce chronic inflammation and increase your HDL levels too (Source).
Although MCT oil (related article) is a saturated fat, it has a positive effect on your cholesterol profile. Not all saturated fats are created equal.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) is known as good cholesterol because it has a cardio-protective role by transporting excess cholesterol to be metabolized in the liver. HDL also has an anti-inflammatory role and reduces cell proliferation by signalling pathways (Source). HDL is synthesized endogenously and adding in some exercise improves your cholesterol profile as well.
Prebiotics and Dietary Fibre
Butyrate is an important short-chained fatty acid because it fuels the good bacteria we need in our gut. As a metabolite of dietary fibres, butyrate has an anti-inflammatory role to improve our health (Source). Dietary fibre is found in whole grains, leafy green vegetables and fruit. It is important that butyrate helps our gut bacteria and probiotics because they make vitamins, improve insulin sensitivity and protect our gut lining from the pathogens we encounter daily. Complementing our probiotics with prebiotics is an interesting field of research we look forward to reading in the future.