Inflammation is a positive action our body takes; however, it can sometimes have negative consequences such as serious illness and disease. Many people suffer with inflammation, and thankfully doctors, scientists and healers have discovered ways of reducing it. One of the best ways is through anti-inflammatory foods, so it’s important to know how we can structure our diets to fight inflammation. Read on to learn more about what inflammation is, foods that make it worse and a diet and natural remedies that can make it better.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s way of responding to illness or injury, but it can also contribute to chronic diseases. Without inflammation providing a signal to our immune system, it wouldn’t know when to repair damages or defend itself against viruses and bacteria.
However, sometimes the inflammatory process can go on for too long or occur in areas of the body where it isn’t needed. This can become a problem and lead to chronic inflammation which is linked to heart disease, strokes and autoimmune disorders like lupus.
A healthy lifestyle can keep inflammation under control, and the foods we eat are instrumental in the process.
What foods cause inflammation?
Typically, in order to stay healthy, we should avoid processed foods and diets that are high in saturated fats and sugar. The main foods that people should avoid when trying to maintain an anti-inflammatory diet are:
Sugar – sugary drinks, snacks and desserts
Trans fats – usually found in fried foods
White bread and pasta
Soybean oil and vegetable oil
An anti-inflammatory diet
People are recommended anti-inflammatory diets when they suffer from inflammation. The diet may work on its own or it may work alongside certain medications and supplements. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is easy if you already live a relatively healthy lifestyle, but it may challenge those that don’t. The best anti-inflammatory foods are:
Fruits: Deep coloured fruits like grapes and cherries are especially good for inflammation, but it’s important to eat a variety of fruits for a balanced diet. Fruits like avocados and olives are high in good fats, which also helps.
Vegetables: All vegetables, especially leafy greens, are recommended on an anti-inflammatory diet. These include brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc. Peppers and bell peppers also have high anti-inflammatory properties.
Olive oil and coconut oil: As mentioned, avoid soybean and vegetable oil and stick to these instead.
Nuts: Almonds and walnuts are especially good.
Luxuries: There are some “luxury” foods that when consumed in moderation, are recommended on an anti-inflammatory diet. Examples are dark chocolate and red wine (140ml per day for women and 280ml for men). Remember though if they’re excessively consumed then they’ll have more negative effects than positive.
Spices: Turmeric, fenugreek, cinnamon, and more.
Tea: Green tea is an anti-inflammatory. Chaga Life tea contains many anti-inflammatory properties due to the formation of beneficial cytokines - proteins that stimulate white blood cells. Learn more about the benefits of the Chaga mushroom.
Natural remedies for inflammation
As well as adopting the diets recommended above, there are certain lifestyle changes that can help with inflammation.
Yoga: New research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine discusses how practicing yoga can boost the immune system and decrease inflammation. Researchers discovered that in their study groups, yoga increased levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines (the same protein that is contained in Chaga).
General lifestyle: It’s easier said than done to cut out every unhealthy aspect from your life. But working towards a healthier lifestyle overall will help with inflammation. This includes controlling any stress (whether that’s through medication or practising yoga or meditation), stopping smoking, doing regular exercise, limiting the amount of alcohol in your diet and getting enough sleep.
Supplements: Certain supplements can help reduce inflammation; they should be discussed with a medical professional beforehand to ensure they’re safe and will have a positive effect.
*If you suffer with any illnesses due to inflammation, discuss with your doctor first if you are considering Chaga Life tea.
- Falkenberg R, Eising C & Peters ML, (2018), “Yoga and immune system functioning: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” J Behav Med. 2018