Unhealthy eating habits can trigger chronic inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods can help – here’s how.
Frankfurt – Whether it is rheumatism, osteoarthritis, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis or neurodermatitis, no matter how different the diseases are, they often rely on inflammatory reactions in the body. “Inflammatory processes play a role in an astonishing number of diseases,” nutritionist Matthias Riedl explained to the NDR.
Basically, inflammation is considered an important defense reaction to tissue damage. The goal is to remove the harmful influence. Inflammation usually occurs in the form of red skin, warmth in the inflamed area, and swelling. This is often accompanied by pain and function is usually limited. Inflammation in the body, on the other hand, initially goes unnoticed and is expressed, for example, with fever, general malaise and pain.
Prevent inflammation in the body: avoid unhealthy foods
If there is long-lasting irritation of some parts of the body, chronic inflammatory diseases can develop. These are usually evident through recurring 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 much fat, too much sugar, insufficient nutrients, and too many empty calories: Due to overeating in Western countries today, many people tend to lead unhealthy lifestyles. “Sweets, grain-based products and excessive consumption of meat, especially pork, which contains a particularly large number of pro-inflammatory substances,” promote inflammation in the body, informed rheumatologist Anne Fleck NDR. The 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 and balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential. Basically, a healthy lifestyle starts with enough fluids in the form of water or unsweetened tea. The German Nutrition Society recommends at least 1.5 liters per day. More when traveling 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 per day. Two handfuls of low-sugar fruit are recommended. A special anti-inflammatory effect is attributed to these types of fruits and vegetables:
- Vegetables, leeks and onions: many vitamins (A, B, C, E) and a high amount of minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus
- Broccoli: provides phytochemicals such as glucosinolates
- Paprika: lots of vitamin C and lots of fiber
- Cherries and red berries: a lot of vitamin C and phytochemicals such as anthocyanins
- Spinach: rich in vitamins (C, E) and minerals such as beta-carotene, zinc and selenium
Healthy Diet: 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 essential for an anti-inflammatory diet to only eat certain foods. As a rule, it is sufficient to include healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables in the meal plan and to cut down on pro-inflammatory foods such as alcohol, meat or sweets. Anyone already suffering from chronic inflammation such as rheumatism, osteoarthritis and the like should constantly avoid pro-inflammatory foods. This also includes highly processed products, such as ready meals, sausages, cheeses, and foods that contain particularly gluten.
A high consumption of animal products can not only lead to chronic inflammation in the body, but also increase the risk of depression.
“A predominantly vegetarian and plant-based diet guarantees an adequate intake of anti-inflammatory substances,” wrote the Association for Independent Health Advice. “The more varied and colorful the food, the better.” Stress reduction, sufficient sleep, and sufficient exercise in everyday life are also key. (cheese)