Eat Healthier with Anti-inflammatory Food

Inflammatory Response

Swelling is an inflammatory response when our bodies suffer from an injury or from certain diseases. It is the body's natural response to irritants and injury. This is the natural way the body heals. As an example, breaking a bone causes a biochemical response, which improves blood flow to the area. The body sends more white blood cells to ward off infection. Most of us have sprained an ankle or a wrist, so we know exactly what inflammation is, as these injuries swell.

Low-grade, systemic and chronic inflammation is a different situation. Medical conditions that are longer lasting can cause long-term body changes. Asthma, Autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma are common types of a chronic medical conditions that last long term.

What Happens to the Body

Inflammable Response Textbook Picture
Inflammable Response Textbook Picture

How Does Pain Work?

Pain from injuries or chronic illness is actually the result of an electric signal sent from the nerves to the brain and the damaged tissue also releases chemicals (prostaglandins) that cause tissue swelling. Since they also amplify the electrical signal, the pain is also increased.

Inflammation with Ashtma

Asthma airway Constricted
Asthma airway Constricted

Chronic Diseases

Many diseases are associated with inflammation, which include:

  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Bowel diseases, inflammatory bowel disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Gum disease
  • Some types of cancers

Common Irritants that Cause Inflammation

Irritants include smoking, excessive alcohol intake, high-fat diets or perhaps not receiving enough healthy nutrients. A great deal of research is ongoing to fully understand the role of chronic inflammation and how to control it. Certainly cholesterol lowering drugs are one way doctors try to control the risk of heart disease and strokes, but what about all the other diseases connected to inflammation?

Time to Make a Change?

If you are suffering from any chronic disease, it may be very helpful to eat anti-inflammatory foods. This is not a cure, but they may decrease the inflammation, thus the pain. Searching the internet will show you many sites that list foods which aggravate the inflammatory process and also foods that reduce inflammation in the body.

There is no such thing as an anti-inflammatory diet, but there are foods believed to decrease inflammation. If we shun foods that we know cause increased inflammation and eat the healthier choices, it stands to reason that we will probably live a healthier life.

Foods Causing Inflammation

The Western diet tends to be high in beef, pork, butter, dairy products, soft drinks and chips, just to name a few foods that are thought to cause inflammation. Some clinicians believe people have food sensitivities (allergens) to particular foods, which also cause inflammation. The most common allergic foods are milk, dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, beef, yeast and soy.

Processed foods may also be a problem, such as processed meats. Sandwich meats, weiners, sausages and some other foods contain nitrites, which are linked to chronic illnesses and inflammation. Foods with high sugar content cause oxidative stress in the cells, which also causes inflammation.

The Mediterrean diet is thought to be a healthier choice if you choose to follow an anti-inflammatorty diet.

Anti-inflammatory- How to Eat Healthier

You might be thinking at this point, what is left to eat? If you have a chronic illness or just want to eat a healthier diet there are some good choices left. Changing the way you cook and eat may take time, but it can be done.

Anti-inflammatory foods include fish, particularly oily fish like salmon or trout that is high in omega vitamins. Other foods include, lean poultry, seafood, legumes, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Other foods that are considered to be anti-inflammatory choices are fresh fruits, berries, beans and legumes, soy products, spices and herbs and whole grains. These include barley, bulgur, wild rice, millet, quinoa, rye, wheat berries, buckwheat and whole wheat. Use canola or olive oil for salad dressings or cooking. Many spices like ginger and cinnamon are also very healthy.

Healthy Vegetables


Daily Supplements to Reduce Inflammation

  • Fish oil supplements – the Omegas
  • Vitamin C 200 mg. daily
  • Vitamin 400 IU
  • Selenium 200 micrograms (organic)
  • Vitamin D
  • Mixed Carotenoids 10,000 – 15,000 IU
  • Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) –may improve rheumatoid arthritis pain
  • Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) – Used extensively in Europe for osteoarthritic pain
  • Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) – Has several functions that include anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory
  • Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) – Protect the liver

Anti-inflammatory Medications

Nonsteroidial anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are often prescribed for chronic inflammation. Greater than 30 million Americans use these medications for arthritis, sprains, headaches and many other discomforts. They reduce swelling and lower fevers.

Some of the most common anti-inflammatory drugs are aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve and Naprosyn. These medications are irritating to the stomach, so they are not really a long term solution. They should be taken with food.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips From Dr. Andrew Weil

Summary – Anti-inflammatory Diet

If you are inspired to eat an anti-inflammatory type diet, it is relatively simple.

  • Consume generous portions of vegetables and fruits
  • Use healthy fats, such as canola and olive oil
  • Snack on nuts and seeds
  • Eat fish regularly, at least once a week
  • Consume small amounts of red meat
  • Enjoy a glass of red wine occasionally

It just may be that eating a healthier diet will give you more energy, since it should reduce inflammation and pain. In addition, the healthier diet may prevent a heart attack or a stroke.

© 2013 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 51 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Very important information, Pamela! I've reached the age where I really need to follow your advice. :)

epbooks profile image

epbooks 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Great information! I'd much rather eat a healthier food than take NSAIDs for pain if I could. Thanks for posting!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

epbooks, That is certainly a better choice. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Billy, I;ve reached that age also. If it tastes good spit it out! Thanks for your comments.

Curiad profile image

Curiad 3 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

Excellent information Pamela, thank you for sharing this here!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Curiad, Thank you so much for your comments.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Pam....Excellent topic to write about! There is much truth to this info. Lately I have looked further into how vital it is to alkalize the body. So many (nearly all) bacteria and viruses, which cause "inflammation," simply cannot survive in an alkaline environment.

I think you would seriously appreciate this book: "The pH Miracle," balance your diet, reclaim your health. Robert O. Young, Ph.D and Shelley Reford Young......Up & sharing

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Very comprehensive hub here. I was surprised to see that we eat the anti-inflammatory foods for the most part!!!

Excellent hub.

Voted up ++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper

always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

Very important information Pam. Since finally finding out i had celiac disease, i have drastically changed my diet and incorporate many of your suggestions daily. Thank you for sharing again......

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Paula, I believe you are right and that is a healthy choice. Thanks for sharing that information and your other comments.

Faith, I found that I was doing better than I tought also. I appreciate your comments.

Ruby, Celiac disease certainly requires a diet change and I hope you are feeling better now. My brother has that disease also, but he still has bad days. I'm not sure he always follows the diet as well as he should. Thanks for your comments.

LLambie profile image

LLambie 3 years ago from UK

Really interesting. I'd kind of heard about anti-inflammatory diets before but didn't really know too much about it. This was a useful explanation.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

LLambie, I am glad you found this hub helpful, and I appreciate your comments.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

A friend decided to go on a gluten-free diet 3 weeks ago and was quite surprised when the aches and pains of arthritis (an inflammatory condition) completely disappeared practically overnight. She eliminated all bread, cakes, cookies, pasta AND all processed foods, which still leaves plenty of things to eat.

I've long believed that eating "healthy" is more beneficial than any pill BigPharma likes to hand out like candy - for conditions that are most likely food-related! - and this hub joins a growing list of articles supporting that theory. Thanks!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

JamaGenee, It is amazing that she had such an immediate reaction to the diet change. I eat very little bread and red meat, but I am beginning to thiink I need to make more changes in my diet. Thanks so much for your comments.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

This hub is one of my favorites to be bookmarked and shared. Excellent video with Dr. Weil. I've followed him for years. I drink ginger tea every day for chronic inflammation and it does wonders. I also take milk thistle and am a vegetarian so avoid red meat, chicken etc. I stick with salmon.

Thanks Pamela for this helpful and well written hub. Voted up and across and pinning. ~ Audrey

CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

Hi Pamela! I suffer from arthritis pain in my neck. I also have asthma. I take about 10 different vitamins a day after suffering from relentless health issues for the past two years. Cod Fish Oil (I'm allergic to salmon unfortunately) is one of the vitamins I have found that really works well. I do take alieve to get me through the day, otherwise it's too painful to sit at a computer, but the vitamins really do help.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Audry. It sure sound like you are doing all the healthy things with your diet. I have been moving in that direction to see if it will help my overall health. I was a vegan for a while but found it difficult to adhere to that diet, especially when I had two others to cook for in the house. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for sharing the useful information, Pamela. Techniques for reducing inflammation are important!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Alcia, I think doctors are realizing that more also. Thanks for your comments.

Elisha Jachetti profile image

Elisha Jachetti 3 years ago

Thanks for this. I had asthma and was able to manage my symptoms and get off medication by changing my diet and eating more anti-inflammatory foods. I'm happy to see you sharing and spreading this knowledge.

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

From your description of anti-inflammatory foods, Pamela, it appears that the Mediterranean diet would be a good choice for those wishing to reduce inflammation. Thanks for all this important information.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Elisha, I am so glad to hear that this diet change helped you to that degree. I am moving in the right direction, but comments like your really make me know I need to embrace this diet fully. Thank you so much.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

drbj, It seems we hear more about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet all the time. It seems to be primarily an anti-inflammatory diet also. I appreciate your comments.

Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

According to some 'experts' I should eat a gluten free, alkaline, anti-inflammatory diet as I have hashimoto' s and am hypothyroid. I also have type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. I do sometimes wonder what would be left to eat if I followed all the advice! With multiple health conditions to contend with; including breast cancer 3 years ago and a stressful family life, eating appetizing food and things I enjoy feels like my only pleasure.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Sue, You have really have had a bad time. I relate to your feelings very well. I have had multiple health problems and when I am frustrated I want that bite of chocolate or whatever sounds good. In my first marriage I was abused and recovery has taken a long time. I ate food for the wrong reasons, but overtime I have managed to get help. I hope things get better for you. I imagine the doctor's are right about the diet, but I also understand how you feel. I wish you the best. I would like to keep in touch with you.

Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

It's not the doctors Pamela. Here in the UK they aren't that well informed about what is good for hypothyroidism and what is not. They simply pop you a synthetic thyroid hormone pill and that is it! There is much much more to it than that according thyroid website 'experts'. I will continue to have my bit of chocolate like you and aim for happiness with a bit of good health thrown in. Good hub! I'm following you so keep in touch..

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Sue, My step-daughter had part of her thyroid removed, and it had a tiny amount of cancer. She has had a difficutl time controlling all the effects of her thyroid problem, and I am glad she has a good doctor. It does not sound like she would do well if she was in England. It sounds like you are staying informed, so at least you can make choices about food if you think it will help. Do they check you blood level to see if you are on the right dosage? I hope so. I hope the hub helps, but I will keep in touch for sure.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

My diet consists of many of the foods you mention here and it may be why I have no digestion problems and inflammation. Thank you for the information. I know those of us who are reaching our golden years would benefit from following your advice. Voted up++ because it well deserves it!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Dianna, It is great that you are already eating in such a healthy way and I think that means you will live a long healthy life. Thanks so much for your comments.

MarthaACheves profile image

MarthaACheves 3 years ago

I have back problems as well as ulcers so I'm limited as to what I can used to help the back pain. This gives me hope. Thank you.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Martha, I hope this diet helps your pain. Thanks so much for your comments.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Great information Pamela. I too am a Celiac on a restricted diet but even more importantly my husband just had a mini stroke. Lots of changes to be made to his diet now too.

We can't be reminded enough how important our diet is!

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared.

Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Great information and valuable tips to lead a healthy life. Thank you for sharing. Voted up.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Mary, My husband had a stroke also and we have also been going through diet changes for the better. I wish you both better health in the future. Thanks for your comments.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Vellur, I appreciate your comments and the share.

Conservative Lady profile image

Conservative Lady 3 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

I am so glad I found this Hub - I have been curious about this topic lately and I haven't had time to research - thank you for doing the research for me! Great information.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Sheila, I am so glad this hub was helpful for your and I appreciate your comments.

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 3 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

This information is great! I never really know what causes inflammation but do know how much it affects everyday life. Glad to have some pointers now as to what may trigger and/or contribute to it!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Alecia, I hope this new information will help you feel better. Thank you for your comments.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 3 years ago

Great information. Glad there are many types of foods to eat to keep inflammation away. Taken note of that list. Thanks for sharing and rated up.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Anginwu, It has been helpful for me and I hope for you. I appreciate your comments.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

My kind of hub Pamela and we can't have too many reminded people they could be their own worst enemy by what they put in their stomachs. Voted up and sharing!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Jackie, Your statement is so true and many people are just uninformed, yet unhealthy. Thanks for your comments and the share.

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

I must have missed this one, very informative....important information we need to take on board. Excellent article.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

So very useful! Thank you!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Jo, If you have an immune system disease particularly, the diet is so important. Thanks for your comments.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Audrey, I'm glad you found the hub useful and I appreciate your comments.

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan

Hi Pamela, Great informational hub. I try to stear clear of foods that cause inflammation. Sugar is my worst enemy causing pain and exhaustion soon after eating ... Ugh!

Learning to eat to live rather than live to eat .. not so much fun but it is treating the body well and has long term benefits.

Voted Up, shared here and on my FB Mekenzie's World page +++ :)

Thanks for another great health hub!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Mekenzie, Learning to eat to live is indeed the goal, but as you said not always easy. I am going to check out your webpage as I don't think I've seen it before. Thanks so much for the comments and the share.

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan

Pamela, the FB page Mekenzie's World can be found on my profile page link to Facebook. Thanks - your article is up and people are viewing it on my page. Hopefully they are clicking over to your article and you see the results in your traffic. Have a great day my friend! :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Mekenzie, Thank you for posting it on your page. I looked at your FB page right after I read your last comment and was impressed. I love the Christian atmosphere and all the unique articles. Again, thank you so much for posting my hub. God Bless.

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