Inflammation is a natural response to injury and infection by your immune system. However, when it lasts too long or becomes chronic, inflammation can lead to various health issues. Typical signs of short-term inflammation include redness, pain, and swelling, while long-term inflammation usually occurs without noticeable signs inside your body.
Incorporating certain foods regularly into your diet can help to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health. Yahoo Life SEA outlines six anti-inflammatory foods that you can easily add to your diet to help boost your immune system and improve overall health.
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Broccoli is high in a type of plant-based antioxidant called sulforaphane, which helps your body fight inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB. A study concluded that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are associated with a decrease in heart diseases and cancer, and another showed how sulforaphane helped to reduce oxidative stress in one’s body.
Incorporating broccoli into meals is easy. Simply boil the vegetable in water or stir-fry it, and it's easy to go with both your proteins and carbs of choice.
Berries such as blueberry and strawberry contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce your risk of certain diseases. In this study, blueberries are attributed to an increase of natural killer cells (cells responsible for killing tumour cells or cells infected with a virus) after consuming them every day for six weeks.
On top of adding antioxidants to your body, finishing your meals with a cup of blueberries, raspberries or strawberries can also help reach your daily required amounts of vitamins such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
3. Green Tea
Green tea has many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is usually known as the healthiest beverage you can have. Containing Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which helps in inhibiting inflammation, EGCG reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Green tea has been attributed to the reduction of various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and Type II diabetes.
Pair your meal with a cup of green tea or have a cup in the morning to incorporate the drink into your diet. While green tea is low in caffeine, it still contains caffeine and should be avoided near bedtime.
4. Extra virgin olive oil
Rich in monounsaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, an antioxidant that possesses similar properties to anti-inflammatory medication. Other than reducing inflammation, research has also linked extra virgin olive oil to reduced risks of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.
You can substitute your usual salad dressing with extra virgin olive oil to enjoy its benefits, or use it instead of other cooking oils in some of your stir-fry dishes.
Turmeric is a spice and medicinal herb that contains curcumin, which is a strong antioxidant and carries powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients. It is known to reduce inflammation in illnesses related to cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. It is also said that having black pepper with turmeric can significantly increase curcumin absorption.
Being a fragrant spice, you can add turmeric to curry, cauliflower rice, meats and seafood dishes easily to enhance its flavour while reaping the benefits of curcumin.
Apart from being low in calories and containing various nutrients good for your body, mushrooms also contain phenols and other antioxidants that help protect your body. Edible mushrooms such as white button, oyster mushrooms, and lion’s mane have also been studied and proven for their anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce risks of various diseases.
However, it is also noted in a study that cooking mushrooms lowers their anti-inflammatory compounds and hence is best eaten lightly cooked. It is very easy and quick to mix some mushrooms into your soup, pasta, or fried rice to incorporate them into your meals.
Apart from adding anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, cutting down on foods that promote inflammation such as processed foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined carbs will also help in maintaining a healthy diet.