Intestine, joints: the benefit of an anti-inflammatory diet

Before understanding why an anti-inflammatory diet can be helpful and is one of the hottest diets right now, we must first understand what inflammation is. When you hear the word “inflammation,” you may immediately think of the swelling or redness that occurs when you stub your toe. These are two outward signs of inflammation, but that’s not all.

Inflammation occurs naturally as part of the body’s immune response. When your body fights an infection or injury, it sends inflammatory cells to the rescue. This results in the classic signs: swelling, redness and sometimes pain. It is completely normal and natural. As long as the body is in control, of course. The story changes when the inflammation persists and never goes away completely. This chronic inflammation means your body is always on high alert, and it can trigger major health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.

Fortunately, you have some control over your inflammation levels. Factors such as smoking, being overweight or obese, and excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of inflammation. Diet also plays a role, and some experts say adjusting the foods and drinks you consume might be a better way to reduce inflammation levels than relying on medication. Only taking chronic pain medication when needed is probably also a good idea, as many medications have unpleasant side effects, such as haze, drowsiness, and memory loss.

An overview of how an anti-inflammatory diet works

There is no official diet plan outlining exactly what to eat, how much, and when. Instead, the anti-inflammatory diet is about filling your meals with foods that have been shown to fight inflammation and, just as importantly, eliminating foods that have been shown to help with it. An anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan that aims to reduce or minimize low-grade inflammation in our body. Ideally, you should eat eight to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, limit your intake of red meat and dairy products, prefer complex carbohydrates to simple carbohydrates, and forgo processed foods.

What is the difference between good and bad carbohydrates?

It is better to choose foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as anchovies, salmon, halibut and mussels, rather than omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in corn oil, l vegetable oil, mayonnaise, salad dressings and many processed foods. Eating this way is a good idea for everyone, because many foods with the potential to lead to inflammation aren’t healthy anyway.

What the Research Says About Reducing Inflammation in Diet

Many researches show the negative effects of inflammation, in fact, chronic inflammatory diseases are the most important cause of death in the world. (They are associated with health problems such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. It has also been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, people who eat pro-inflammatory foods (such as carbohydrates refined foods and red meat) with twice the risk of developing this cancer, according to a June 2019 study published in Nutrients. What’s more, a pro-inflammatory diet appears to increase the overall risk of death by 23%, according to a meta -analysis published in June 2019 in Clinical Nutrition.

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Several other studies have looked at the effect of a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods on certain health conditions. For example, a November 2017 article in Frontiers in Nutrition shows that choosing anti-inflammatory foods can help people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In particular, the authors write that reducing inflammation in the diet, for example by following a vegan or vegetarian diet, can help delay disease progression, reduce joint damage and potentially reduce addiction. to RA drugs when used as complementary therapy.

Another study, small and prospective, was published in May 2019 in Integrative Cancer Therapies, and found that when people with familial adenomatous polyposis (cancer of the colon and rectum, called colorectal cancer) followed a low-inflammatory diet , they reported having fewer gastrointestinal problems and better overall physical condition. A prospective cohort study of more than 68,000 Swedish adults, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine in September 2018, found that following an anti-inflammatory diet was linked to a 13% lower risk of death from cancer. .

The study authors also observed that smokers following an anti-inflammatory diet had a 31% lower risk of dying from any cause, a 36% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 22% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. % of dying from cancer. Smoking is a habit associated with a higher risk of health problems, and following such a diet will not necessarily cure you of these problems if you continue to smoke. Yet research suggests it may help reduce the impact of the disease, delay its progression, reduce the amount of medication needed, and reduce joint damage.

Other studies have shown that anti-inflammatory foods can help in the following ways:

Recovery during athletic training
Management of pain associated with aging
Heart Protection
Improved quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis

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8 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat

A List of Foods to Eat and Avoid on an Anti-Inflammation Diet Following an anti-inflammatory diet means filling up on foods that research has shown can help reduce inflammation and reduce your consumption of foods that have the opposite effect. One of the benefits of this diet is that it provides lots of food options and a lot of leeway, allowing you to choose the foods you like best.

If you need a little more structure, consider adopting the Mediterranean diet. There is a lot of overlap with the anti-inflammatory diet as both emphasize the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Anti-inflammatory foods to eat

Fresh fruits, including grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, bananas, apples, mangoes, peaches, tomatoes and pomegranates.
Dried fruits, including plums (prunes)
Vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and bok choy.
Vegetable proteins, such as chickpeas, seitan and lentils.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, herring, lake trout and mackerel.
Whole grains, including rolled oats, brown rice, barley, and wholemeal bread.
Leafy green vegetables, including kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce.
Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds.
Seeds, such as chia seeds and flax seeds.
Foods filled with omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocado and olive oil
green tea
Dark chocolate (in moderation)
Red wine (in moderation)

Foods to Eat Sparingly or Avoid to Prevent Inflammation

Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pastries and sweets.
Foods and drinks high in sugar, including sodas and other sugary drinks.
Red meat
Dairy products
Processed meat, such as hot dogs and sausages
fried foods

What are the possible health benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet?

Following an anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to help people with:

– autoimmune disorders, including RA and MS
– heart disease
– Cancer, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer
– Alzheimer’s disease
– Diabetes (22)
– Pulmonary Disease
– epilepsy (23)

Are there any downsides to an anti-inflammatory diet?

There are no major downsides associated with the anti-inflammatory diet, although there may be a learning curve in mastering which anti-inflammatory foods to eat and which to avoid. If your diet currently consists of processed foods, meat, and dairy products, you may have a small adjustment period. You’ll need to clear your fridge and pantry of potentially inflammatory foods, and you’ll likely need to spend more time and effort preparing meals, as stopping to eat fast food is prohibited while on this diet. .

What to expect when you start the anti-inflammatory diet?

Once you start eating this way, you’ll probably start to feel better overall. People may feel better, with less bloating, gastrointestinal discomfort, and body aches. You may also see your mood improve as you change your eating habits. But don’t expect to see immediate changes when it comes to any health condition, it will probably take you two or three weeks to see this kind of effect, and maybe up to 12 weeks to know if the results are showing. will maintain.

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In summary, should you change your diet to reduce inflammation?
The anti-inflammatory diet is a healthy approach to eating, whether or not you suffer from chronic inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet is a way of life that will ultimately improve your overall health, well-being, and quality of life. Anyone can benefit from such an eating plan, and I’ve found it especially helpful for populations with chronic inflammation and health issues.


Foods That Fight Inflammation. Harvard Health Publishing. November 7, 2018.

Sears B. Anti-Inflammatory Diets. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2015.

Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. StatPearls. March 2, 2020.

Aggarwal BB, Prasad S, Reuter S, et al. Identification of Novel Anti-Inflammatory Agents From Ayurvedic Medicine for Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Current Drug Treatments. October 1, 2011.

Vasunilashorn S. Retrospective Reports of Weight Change and Inflammation in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of Obesity. February 11, 2013.

Obon-Santacana M, Romaguera D, Gracia-Lavedan E, et al. Dietary Inflammatory Index, Dietary Non-Enzymatic Antioxidant Capacity, and Colorectal and Breast Cancer Risk (MCC-Spain Study). Nutrients. June 21, 2019.

Garcia-Arellano A, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Ramallal R, et al. Dietary Inflammatory Index and All-Cause Mortality in Large Cohorts: The SUN and PREDIMED Studies. ClinicalNutrition. June 2019.

Khanna S, Jaiswal KS, Gupta B. Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis With Dietary Interventions. Frontiers in Nutrition. November 8, 2017.

Pasanisi P, Gariboldi M, Verderio P, et al. A Pilot Low-Inflammatory Dietary Intervention to Reduce Inflammation and Improve Quality of Life in Patients With Familial Adenomatous Polyposis:

Casas R, Sacanella E, Urpi-Sarda M, et al. Long-Term Immunomodulatory Effects of a Mediterranean Diet in Adults at High Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED) Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Nutrition. July 2016.

* The information and services available on in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. []

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