Foods That Fight Inflammation Naturally
Inflammation – you’ve probably heard this word come up alot. It is a normal immune reaction that occurs in response to a threat or danger to the body – everything from a foreign body or a pathogen, to a cut or a bruise.
We need inflammation to survive. However, we are now seeing that many people are walking around with chronic levels of inflammation (measured in the blood through specific markers) when there is no reason for it (no obvious infections or injury).
This is something that should set off alarm bells or at least a gentle nudge to investigate further. The problem is that almost all disease states are linked with inflammation in the body – everything from cancer to obesity to depression. Many don’t know this but the medical literature has emphasised the role of inflammation in mental illness for several years.
And unlike acute inflammation which can be seen obviously as redness or swelling, chronic
inflammation can go unnoticed since many of the symptoms are things like fatigue, mouth sores, low moods and toxicity within the body – a sign your liver is not detoxing properly which often looks like water retention, puffiness and redness.
Your diet (and lifestyle) has a notable and undeniable effect on the levels of inflammation in your body. Many foods are pro-inflammatory (AKA the stuff we don’t want) and these are the usual suspects – processed flours and grains, sugar, vegetable oils, processed meats, trans fats and artificial additives (By the way, environmental toxins and stress also play a major role in this too).
On the other hand, many foods are anti-inflammatory, and this is really what we want to keep ourselves healthy and vibrant and reduce our chances of illness and disease. Luckily, many anti-inflammatory foods are quite easy to come by and nature makes these incredibly powerful plants for us to enjoy. Here is a list of some of the top anti-inflammatory foods you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Often you can tell an anti-inflammatory food by its colour. The human body loves a variety of colours, and a healthy diet incorporates a rainbow of different fruits, vegetables, roots, nuts and herbs.
Turmeric is the best example of this. You may know it as ginger’s cousin with a bright orange colour and notable ability to stain things. Turmeric is a root and is one of the most concentrated sources of curcumin, which is the coloured bioactive substance naturally occurring inside this root.
Curcumin has been repeatedly reported as a powerful anti-inflammatory that can aid in metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety and even help with post exercise muscle recovery. It does this by regulating signalling within the immune system, which involves an array of proteins that allow actions of the immune system to occur, or not occur. Curcumin also prevents the production of pro-inflammatory compounds.
Melrose’s Turmeric Superblend contains 200mg of curcumin with the addition of warming ginger and piperine to increase bioavailability of the curcumin.
Salmon And Flaxseeds
Omega-3 fatty acids, most commonly found in oily fish and flaxseeds, interact with the immune system, and since this is the system that is responsible for inflammation, you can bet dietary omega-3’s (and omega-6s too) are going to make a difference.
It’s likely you already know the power of these fats on cognition, mental health and hormonal health. But did you know that the inflammatory actions of omega-3 fats plays a part in what allows these benefits?
This works through their ability to regulate the immune cell membrane as well as their ability to act as signalling molecules within the human body. Basically, they help keep the immune cells healthy, and with healthy immune cells we have a healthier immune system, which of course allows us to regulate inflammation in the body.
This occurs through production and regulation of immune cells including macrophages, which are responsible for secreting cytokines and chemokines.
EPA and DHA have been shown to suppress inflammatory responses of many proteins that cause inflammation within the body, which gives them a powerful therapeutic effect in conditions rooted in inflammation.
Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines. And flaxseeds are a great plant-based source of omega-3s. For optimal absorption, you may want to try flaxseed oil, as if you didn’t already know, whole flaxseeds can pass through the entire digestive system untouched!
Need the health insurance? Check out Melrose’s range of omega oils.
Bone broth may sound a little strange, but really this is just like a stock that’s been simmered for over 24 hours, and of course including animal bones, most often beef or chicken. This long simmer allows the breakdown of proteins in the bones that we don’t normally have access to, and what results is a broth rich in amino acids that are ready to be absorbed by the body.
While all proteins contain amino acids, bone broth in particular is high in glycine and arginine, two amino acids that have notable anti-inflammatory effects.
Glycine decreases the activation of inflammatory cells like macrophages and neutrophils, that may cause free radicals in the body and other inflammatory compounds.
Agranine is also known to be a powerful anti inflammation and along with glycine is used as a treatment for some conditions.
AdAdditionally, bone broth contains gelatin which nourishes the gut and may help with the health of the intestinal wall. And since the gut is such a central part of the immune system, and therefore of inflammation, bone broth is a triple threat anti-inflammatory food!
Green tea is a popular coffee alternative due to the small amount of caffeine it contains, and the balance of L-theanine which promotes relaxation and stress relief. Green tea has widely been promoted for its health inducing effects.
But that is not all that makes green tea great. There is a major polyphenol component of green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG that has been demonstrated to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Research suggests that this action occurs through the suppression of the gene or protein expression of inflammatory cytokines and inflammation related enzymes.
Just like curcumin is the bioactive component of turmeric, EGCG is that for green tea.
So as you can see, nature has some pretty powerful compounds and there is a lot of chemistry that goes into things as simple as roots, leaves, seeds and fish. And if you need an easy way to ensure you are consuming anti-inflammatory compounds daily, consider a supplement like Melrose Turmeric Superblend and Flaxseed Oil.
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Peairs, A., Dai, R., Gan, L. et al. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) attenuates inflammation in MRL/lpr mouse mesangial cells. Cell Mol Immunol 7, 123–132 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2010.1
Hi Liv, I’ve read your nut milk article which is informative but I wonder if you could advise me on some brands if almond and nut milk that don’t have all the crap ingredients in them so I can buy the best ones? Thanks you
Hey Ronnie, yes – Mandole Orchard unsweetened is my favourite. I also like Almo and Nutty Bruce.