Foods can help fight inflammation

March 26, 2013 by Nicole Wyatt, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Inflammation is the body's normal response to injury. While it may be a natural defense system, it can lead to disease development if it becomes chronic. A University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) expert says one way to fight inflammation is with food.

"The process has one goal: to respond immediately to detect and destroy the in damaged tissues before it can spread throughout the body," explained Lauren Whitt, Ph.D., UAB Employee Wellness director and adjunct professor of . "The trouble with inflammation occurs when the defense system gets out-of-control and begins to destroy healthy tissue, causing more damage than the original issue."

has even been found to cause inflammation, and it can lead to the development of cardiovascular and , according to the National Council on Strength & Fitness. But weight loss is related to reduction of inflammation, and Whitt says the right anti-inflammatory foods are the answer.

"I encourage people to focus on eating whole foods and foods that are high in fiber," Whitt said.

Anti-inflammatory foods to try:

  • Citrus fruits – Vitamin C and Vitamin E are essential antioxidants
  • Dark, leafy greens – High in Vitamin K
  • Tomatoes – The fruit's red pigment, lycopene, is a potent antioxidant
  • Wild-caught salmon – Contains a rich concentration of omega-3 fatty acids
Whitt added that eating anti-inflammatory foods should not be viewed as daunting.

"Eating to minimize inflammation doesn't have to be an overwhelming task," she said. "Take baby steps by incorporating leafy greens into a salad at lunch, or add a piece of whole fruit to your breakfast."

In addition, Whitt said to consume more foods straight from the farm, as well as fewer processed and fried foods. Doing so may reduce the need for some medications.

"Americans are constantly on the lookout for a quick-fix, so when our immune systems kick into overdrive, we would generally prefer to pop a pill and keep moving," Whitt said. "But if we focus on our diets, we can alleviate the need for the anti-inflammatory medications in many cases."

Explore further: Appetite suppression pills: Good or bad?

Related Stories

Appetite suppression pills: Good or bad?

March 11, 2013
New products are released each year promising to help buyers suppress their appetite to lose weight, but these over-the-counter concoctions may not be as effective as more natural approaches.

Blocking inflammation could lead to tailored medical treatments

September 19, 2011
By using a mouse model of inflammation researchers at the University of Calgary have discovered a new class of molecules that can inhibit the recruitment of some white blood cells to sites of inflammation in the body. A provisional ...

Aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids work together to fight inflammation

February 21, 2013
Experts tout the health benefits of low-dose aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like flax seeds and salmon, but the detailed mechanisms involved in their effects are not fully known. Now researchers reporting ...

Genetic factor controls health-harming inflammation in obese

June 13, 2011
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have discovered a genetic factor that can regulate obesity-induced inflammation that contributes to chronic health problems.

Recommended for you

Chronic inflammation causes loss of muscle mass during aging

January 12, 2018
People start losing muscle mass at the age of 40—about some 10 percent of the total muscle mass for each 10-year period, which may lead to fall-related injuries, slowing metabolism and reduced quality of life. Today, very ...

Breathing exercises help asthma patients with quality of life

December 13, 2017
A study led by the University of Southampton has found that people who continue to get problems from their asthma, despite receiving standard treatment, experience an improved quality of life when they are taught breathing ...

Study highlights the need for research into prevention of inflammatory bowel disease

December 7, 2017
Countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America have seen a rise in incidence of inflammatory bowel disease as they have become increasingly industrialised and westernised, a new study has found.

Air pollution can increase asthma risk in adults, even at low levels

November 24, 2017
Living close to a busy road can be bad for your respiratory health if you are middle aged, new Australian research has found.

Evidence found of oral bacteria contributing to bowel disorders

October 20, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests certain types of oral bacteria may cause or exacerbate bowel disorders. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes ...

New compound discovered in fight against inflammatory disease

September 22, 2017
A 10-year study by University of Manchester scientists for a new chemical compound that is able to block a key component in inflammatory illness has ended in success.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.