Unhealthy eating habits can trigger chronic inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods can help: Here’s how.
Frankfurt – Whether rheumatism, arthrosis, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis or neurodermatitis – no matter how different the diseases are, they are often based on inflammatory reactions in the body. “Inflammatory processes play a role in an incredible number of diseases,” explained nutritionist Matthias Riedl to the NDR.
Basically, inflammation is considered an important defense reaction to damage to the tissue. The aim is to remove the damaging influence. Inflammation usually manifests itself in the form of reddened skin, warmth at the inflamed area and swelling. This is often accompanied by pain, and the function is usually restricted. Inflammation in the body, on the other hand, initially goes unnoticed and is expressed, for example, by fever, general malaise and pain.
Preventing inflammation in the body: Avoid unhealthy foods
If there is long-lasting irritation of certain parts of the body, chronic inflammatory diseases can develop. These are usually noticeable through relapsing symptoms, such as arthritis or rheumatism. Many factors work together to create and maintain inflammatory processes, including lack of sleep and exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress and an unhealthy diet.
Too greasy, too much sugar, not enough nutrients and too many empty calories: Due to the oversupply of food in western countries today, many people tend to lead unhealthy lifestyles. “Sweets, wheat products and excessive meat consumption – especially pork, which contains a particularly large number of pro-inflammatory substances,” promote inflammation in the body, rheumatologist Anne Fleck informed NDR. A lack of anti-inflammatory foods in the diet also plays a crucial role.
Chronic inflammation: Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet
To avoid chronic inflammation, a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential. Basically, a healthy lifestyle begins with sufficient fluids in the form of water or unsweetened tea. The German Society for Nutrition recommends at least 1.5 liters per day. More when moving or in summer temperatures.
Fruits and vegetables should also form important parts of the diet. The AOK health insurance company recommends at least three handfuls of raw or cooked vegetables a day. Two handfuls of low-sugar fruit are recommended. A special anti-inflammatory effect is attributed to these types of fruit and vegetables:
- Leek and onion vegetables: many vitamins (A, B, C, E) and high amount of minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus
- Broccoli: supplies phytochemicals such as glucosinolates
- Paprika: lots of vitamin C and lots of fiber
- Cherries and red berries: lots of vitamin C and phytochemicals such as anthocyanins
- Spinach: rich in vitamins (C, E) and minerals such as beta-carotene, zinc and selenium
Nutrition: Nuts, oils and spices have anti-inflammatory effects
Nuts, vegetable oils and spices also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 strengthen the immune system and allow inflammatory processes in the body to subside. Turmeric, ginger and chili are also said to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
It is not crucial for an anti-inflammatory diet to only eat certain foods. As a rule, it is sufficient to incorporate healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables into the eating plan and to reduce pro-inflammatory foods such as alcohol, meat or sweets. Anyone who already suffers from chronic inflammation such as rheumatism, arthrosis and the like should consistently avoid pro-inflammatory foods. This also includes heavily processed products, such as ready meals, sausage, cheese and foods that contain particularly gluten.
A high consumption of animal products can not only lead to chronic inflammation in the body, but also that Increase risk of depression.
“A predominantly vegetarian and plant-based diet ensures an adequate supply of anti-inflammatory substances,” wrote the Association for Independent Health Advice. “The more colorful and varied the food selection, the better.” Stress reduction, sufficient sleep and enough exercise in everyday life are also crucial. (cheese)