Foods to Reduce Acute and Chronic Inflammation

doctor holding red stethoscope

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Treatment and Prevention

A person experiences acute inflammation in the body in response to injury, infection, or allergic reaction. Inflammation triggers an immune response. Chronic inflammation and increased immune activity can contribute to or result from conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s), and various auto-immune disorders (type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus), as well as heart disease, some cancers, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases.

Although stress, lack of exercise, and genetic factors can promote inflammation, according to Dr. Andrew Weil’s “Anti Inflammatory Diet Tips,” a poor diet plays a significant role in influencing inflammation in the body. An anti-inflammatory diet can reduce symptoms of inflammation and prevent the development of complications and advanced diseases related to chronic inflammation.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Include plenty of raw plant foods in the diet, as well as beans, whole grains, and fatty fish. Minimize or avoid red meats, dairy products, and foods cooked at high temperatures, which synthesize hormones that promote inflammation.

  • Raw fruits and vegetables (antioxidants, flavonoids, and enzymes)
  • Fish (omega-3)
  • Beans and dark chocolate (flavonoids)
  • Pineapple (bromelain) and papaya (papain)

Choose omega-3 rich foods, specifically salmon, sardines, herring, black cod, omega-3 fortified eggs, and freshly ground flaxseeds and hemp seeds. Choose a variety of fresh, preferably organic, fruits and vegetables spanning the color spectrum, particularly red and blue berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, dark leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage.

Choose lower carbohydrate foods to maintain stable blood sugar levels. High-carbohydrate foods react with proteins to create inflammatory compounds in the body. Choose whole grains over refined and avoid highly-processed foods such as crackers, cookies, breads, and other flour products.

Substitute tea, especially green, white, and oolong, for coffee. Choose red wine over other alcohols. Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Substitute fish for other meats. The Pescetarian Diet, based on fish and plant foods, conforms with anti-inflammatory diet recommendations.

Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

For additional anti-inflammatory support, antioxidant supplements, fish oil, ginger and turmeric, CoQ10, and alpha-lipoic acid may help. A doctor can supply dosage amounts and instructions. Dr. Weil recommends supplementation or food sources of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, carotenoids, folic acid, and calcium. His website provides detailed information about anti-inflammatory supplement dosages and usage instructions.

Reduction of chronic inflammation reduces a person’s chances of developing inflammation-related diseases, such as heart disease and some cancers. Diet significantly influences inflammation. In general, a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in animal proteins and cooked foods reduces inflammation in the body and promotes general good health.