Spices, green tea, fatty fish among key foods that help fight inflammation naturally in the body
Excessive inflammation and organ damage are also suggested to be one of the many reasons for death in COVID-19 patients.
Inflammation is your body’s response to injury or infection. Any time your body is exposed to irritants like dirt or pathogenic organisms like bacteria, fungi or viruses, your immune system starts to produce a set of molecules and biological compounds to eliminate the threat, cart away dead cells and repair the damaged tissue.
If you have ever noticed pain, redness and swelling at a cut or a wound then you know what inflammation looks like on the outside. In such cases, inflammation is good for the body. However, excessive or long term (chronic) inflammation can do more harm than good. Over time, it can start damaging healthy cells and lead to various health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, asthma and cancer. Excessive inflammation and organ damage are also suggested to be one of the many reasons for death in COVID-19 patients.
Experts say that you don’t always (or only) need to rely on pills to deal with inflammation though - the answer to the condition lies right in your kitchen. Here are four foods that you can add in your diet to keep a check on inflammation:
Spices not only make your food flavourful, but they also make it healthier. Whether it is the humble turmeric, the pungent garlic or the sizzling pepper - all spices have anti-inflammatory compounds in them that can help reduce inflammation.
A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggested that adding 6g of a particular spice blend to a high fat, high carb meal can significantly reduce inflammation markers in the body. The blend they used included turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, coriander, cumin, red pepper, basil, parsley, rosemary, bay leaf, black pepper and thyme. However, you don’t necessarily have to add that many spices in every dish, just a few of them would do.
2. Fatty fish
Fatty fish, like salmon, herring and sardines, is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods. This type of fish contains omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA which reduce the production of inflammatory mediators and put a stop on inflammation.
There are various studies that ascertain the link between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and reduction in inflammation.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, USA, you can eat about 85-170 grams serving of fatty fish twice or four times a week to reduce inflammation.
Berries are loaded with anti-inflammatory polyphenols, particularly anthocyanins - the pigments that give them their blue, red and purple shades.
A study published in the journal Pharmacognosy Research indicated that the anti-inflammatory effects of goji berries, cranberries and blueberries are due to the antioxidants present in these berries. They reduce oxidative stress, which, in turn, helps manage inflammation.
Another study found that regular consumption of strawberries can reduce the risk of inflammation as well.
4. Green tea
Green tea contains a compound called epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) which has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Studies show that EGCG targets various components of the inflammation pathway. Green tea supplementation has been found to reduce inflammatory markers in animal models.
However, excess green tea can damage your liver, so it is best to have it in moderation and not drink more than two cups of green tea in a day.
For more information, read our article on Inflammatory disease.
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