Inflammation is a natural immune response which helps the body protect itself from foreign invaders, like bacteria and viruses. Normal inflammation is usually short-lived, lasting only as long as is necessary to resolve the threat. When inflammation becomes chronic, it can cause all manner of harmful effects throughout the body. Chronic inflammation can last for months — or even years.
Nowadays the vast majority of people suffer from chronic inflammation, brought on by too much stress, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and a poor diet filled with processed foods.
If it persists over time, inflammation can lead to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. In severe cases, chronic inflammation can lead to autoimmune disease. These diseases occur when the immune system becomes so overactive that it attacks your body’s own cells and tissues. Thankfully, chronic inflammation can oftentimes be managed just by adding more of the following anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.
The Connection Between Diet and Inflammation
While most people are aware that anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce inflammation, few people consider the role of their diet. Just like pharmaceutical medications, the food we eat is made up of chemicals and compounds, which have a biological effect on our bodies. This biological effect influences key processes, including inflammation.
Some foods actively down-regulate inflammation, while others kick it into overdrive. While scientists do not understand all the biological mechanisms behind this phenomenon, recent studies have provided some insight.
Research clearly shows that certain foods increase the levels of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein in the blood. This could be an indication that some foods — such as processed sugar — cause a chemical reaction in the gut which stimulates the release of inflammation precursors.
More research into the connection between diet and inflammation is certainly warranted. However, we do know which foods you should eat and which you should avoid to reduce inflammation.