Inflammation is very famous nowadays and it is thought as the cause for acne, Alzheimer’s and many other digestive problems and obesity as well. Many researches support that theory and it very important to remember that in some cases inflammation can be a good thing.

If your body detects illness or injury, the immune system will jump in high gear; send T cells, lymphatic fluid and white blood cells to the scene. Blood and water also flood in to eliminate toxins and flush out the area. This assault of antibodies will cause increased swelling, circulation and even pain—all of them will actually help the body to defend itself against infection and illness.

Inflammation will happen externally, in response to bruises, bumps, scratches and scrapes and internally as well to fight diseases and infections.

This type of inflammation which is also known as acute inflammation is actually a quick immune response which ends when the injury has healed. So why is food important? Research says that if you eat the wrong types of foods you can also trigger inflammation, maybe not the acute variety, but the chronic kind which won’t go away.

As the time passes by, the tissues and organs that are chronically inflamed will degenerate, the toxins will build up and the organs will be depleted of essential nutrients. In the end all of this will take its toll and it will damage the heart, intestines, pancreas, kidneys, skin, joints and bones.

“A diet which contains many inflammatory foods will cause a continuous, low inflammation in your body,” says Elson Haas, MD, author of The False Fat Diet (Ballantine Books, 2001). “If your immune system is constantly preoccupied to fight the constant inflammation, it will not be able to protect the body against different things that can appear, including abnormal cells in prostate or breast tissue.”

He also says that modern diseases are just symptoms of the underlying problem of inflammation, that is just the body trying to heal; but the question is, ‘from what?”

The Diet which will make a bad body

The food choices we make actually dictate if our bodies will be healthy or remain in a constant state of disease. Because we are too busy to cook we eat packaged foods and fast foods that do not have any nutrients and they contain a lot of pro-inflammatory ingredients, such as sugars, trans fats, refined starches, artificial sweeteners and processed meats.

It is very important to eat healthy foods and avoid foods which can provoke inflammation, spike the blood sugar level and foods which make the body unable to respond to hormones which regulate fat.

Barbara Rowe, MPH, RD, the author of the book Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health (Fair Winds Press, 2008), says that modern convenience foods can confuse our bodies. “Since all these foods are very new to our diet — most of them were introduced only in the last 60 – 70 years and a natural response to deal with them is inflammation.”

However, even those who do not eat unhealthy fats and junk food have to be careful and pay attention to the ratio of the good fats they eat. We’ve all heard about omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 predominate, while omega-3 fatty fats are the under consumed fats in the American society.

Actually, because of the packaged convenience foods we consume —even the all-natural and organic varieties—most people get around 30-to-1 ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. Omega-6 fatty acids are actually pro-inflammatory and eating too much of them can trigger low-grade inflammation in the body.

Haas says that this type of inflammation causes oxidation of the bad cholesterol (LDL), that makes it stickier and it is more likely that it will to adhere to the walls of the arteries and cause a heart disease. Eating omega-3 fatty acids can help you to counteract the damage that is done by the omega-6 fatty acids and can prevent the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol.

Additional Inflammation Triggers

Certain allergies to some foods and immune reactions can also cause inflammation or allergy to a number of some foods. “You may think that you eat healthy foods. However, if you are allergic to that food the immune response will cause inflammation and in most cases it is signaled by pain, bloating and gas” says Haas.

For instance, some dietitians think that tomatoes, potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant can actually worsen inflammation, because they contain solanine – an alkaloid which can cause joint pain in some people and especially among those who suffer from arthritis. If you have felt this kind of pain, avoid these vegetables for a couple of weeks and you will see if the symptoms improve.

Another reason for inflammation can be the acid-alkaline imbalance in your body. Many experts agree that an acidic pH will cause toxicity which creates an unfriendly environment for the healing of the inflamed cells. If you want to alkalize your body, you should avoid certain refined foods, black tea, coffee, sugar, alcohol and fruit juice; eat moderate amounts of dairy, meats, dairy, fruits and grains and eat more vegetables, beans and spices.

Foods that can Calm Inflammation

Nowadays we have access to the ideal antidote for inflammation and the answer is very simple: anti-inflammatory foods. All of these foods will reduce chronic inflammation in the body and they will provide the crucial building blocks for maintaining and reaching a healthy weight and you will have more energy. You should include one or even more of these foods in your diet and see which foods you should avoid.

Hot Peppers

Cayenne, jalapeño, serrano and all hot chilies contain capsaicin, which is a natural alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs. It can inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, which is known reason for inflammation in arthritis and many inflammatory diseases in the body.

Onions and Apples

They contain quercetin. It is a natural histamine inhibitor which can help your body to fight against environmental allergies, which can cause inflammation. Remember that the skin of the apple contains quercetin, so always buy organic apples and eat them whole.

Pineapple

It is sweet tropical fruit and it contains brimelain – an anti-inflammatory compound that contains enzymes which are able to suppress pain and inflammation in the body by minimizing swelling. By heating it the bromelain will lose the anti-inflammatory value and that is why you should eat fresh and whole pineapple. Do not choose the canned variety.

Dark, Leafy Green Vegetables

All of them are amazing and they contain alpha-linolenic acid – omega-3 fatty acid which contains anti-inflammatory benefits that are similar to the omega-3s found in fish.

Walnuts, flaxseeds or Pumpkin seeds

Just like dark, leafy greens, all of these nuts and seeds are full of important omega 3 fatty acids. Go for raw nuts; do not toast them, because by roasting them you will destroy the omega-3 fatty acids. If you want to get a “toasted” taste, you should soak the nuts in water overnight and afterwards use a dehydrator in order to get a crunchy bite.

Oily, Cold-Water Fish

Mackerel, salmon and sardines contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that reduce production of pro-inflammatory hormones in our body. It is important to choose Alaskan salmon or wild Pacific, or sustainably and organically farm-raised varieties. They contain the lowest levels of mercury.

Remember that the “brown fat” that is neat the skin actually contains the most omega-3 fatty acids. Use a fork and scrape it or eat the entire fish, with skin and all. The best method for keeping the omega 3 fatty acids intact is quick searing or gentle poaching.

Olive Oil and Olives

Olive oil and olives contain oleic acid, which contains omega-9 fatty acids. Omega 9 fatty acids help the omega-3 fatty acids to perform their anti-inflammatory job. Do not use the “light” olive oil. Instead use green, strong and unrefined varieties. Remember that raw olive oil actually has the most anti-inflammatory properties; if you heat it you can reduce its nutritional benefits.

Foods to Steer Clear of:

• Baked Goods
• Fried Foods
• Bagels
• Pastries
• Margarine
• Hard Cheeses
• Sugar
• Jams
• Snack Foods
• Soda