Everywhere we turn, we see people suffering from cancer or diabetes. There are countless more articles and medical studies on cancer or diabetes than on any other disease. But don’t worry, I am here to help you with anything I can.
Last week I met a patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis manifests through a chronic inflammatory process, and it predominantly affects joints of the hands and feet, and it is accompanied by morning stiffness and pain. Although it does not yet benefit from curative treatment, there are plenty of foods that can alleviate this inflammatory disease and mitigate its negative impact.
Chronic Inflammation Side Effects
In case you’re wondering, chronic inflammation can also cause conditions like allergies and asthma, or even lead to:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Crohn’s disease
- Coeliac disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Even transplant rejection
The more chronic inflammation is left unhindered in your body, the more you’re increasing your chances of developing chronic diseases, like cancer. Chronic inflammation weakens your body, which leaves the door wide open for a vast array of chronic diseases.
A study conducted by researchers in the UK tracked the impact of the Mediterranean diet on rheumatoid arthritis. The scientists assigned each of the 130 women to an either control or variation group. The women in the control group were asked to continue eating as usual, whereas the women in the variation group were asked to follow some cooking classes to support their new Mediterranean diet.
6 Months Later
The anti-inflammatory diet modification of the women in the variation group – consisting in an increased intake of fruits, vegetables, and monounsaturated fats – led to less painful joints, and morning stiffness. And most important of all, it helped all the patients achieve a state of wellbeing.
So let’s see what are the top anti-inflammatory foods you should be consuming to stay healthy:
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which stimulate inflammation. However, polyunsaturated fats (especially omega 3 fatty acids) help suppress these cytokines and other pro-inflammatory substances.
These healthy fats aid in reducing the cardiovascular risk, by lowering LDL cholesterol and serum triglycerides and decreasing inflammation.
Salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies have the highest content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, but increased attention should be paid to how you prepare them. Do not overdo it because it can destroy up to half the amount of their fatty acid content.
The American Society of Cardiology recommends eating fish twice a week, but if you do not like the taste, then you can try nuts, canola oil, or even soy.
That’s right. Colorful foods are great. Even nutritionists recommend adding a little bit of color to your daily diet. Why?
Well, it’s because they contain flavonoids and carotenoids – they are substances which give these foods their color. So basically, they’re natural dyes, but with a twist… since they also have a powerful antioxidant effect (which plays an important role in fighting the inflammatory process).
Choosing a natural-colored diet will ensure you benefit from a wide variety of foods (fruits, vegetables) and a balanced diet.
The fruits and vegetables with a rich content of antioxidants are:
- Natural fruit juices
- Sweet potatoes
Known in the Greek mythology as the symbol of peace, the olive oil has great anti-inflammatory properties, while also representing a precious and tasty substitute for saturated fats.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlighted the role of an oil component in decreasing the production of certain compounds involved in inflammation (the NSAIDs and the aspirin also help decrease the production on the same inflammatory compounds).
It is recommended to use extra virgin oil (obtained from the first pressing) as it contains a higher amount of anti-inflammatory nutrients.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionrevealed that people who consume larger quantities of whole grain: oatmeal, brown rice and barley manage to decrease the value of the C reactive protein – which is a strong marker of inflammation.
Whole grains and whole bread – which are core elements of the Mediterranean diet – have an increased selenium content (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory).
And get this, patients with rheumatoid arthritis have been found to have low selenium levels.
Scientists discovered that a diet rich in whole grains (versus refined carbohydrates: white bread, white rice) provides better control of body weight. In layman’s terms, by consuming whole grains, you’re able to maintain an optimal weight, which in return, also helps you avoid placing a lot of strain on your joints.
So which of these anti-inflammatory foods do you consume the most?
I look forward to reading your replies and don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE.
To your health!