Anti inflammatory foods Part 2, the anti-inflammatory superfoods
Spices, foods, plants and dressing can help us counteract inflammations that, if become chronic, promote aging and illnesses.
Inflammations are an amazing tools used by our body to counteract a threat to our health such as virus, bacteria, damaged cells or toxins. However, there is a form of inflammation that isn’t so beneficial, the chronic inflammation works silent, subtle, it doesn’t show external signs but creates the ideal environment for aging and connected illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer, cardiovascular diseases. It seems that, in order to grow old healthy and young, chronic inflammations should be counteracted. In the previous post we have seen that there are unhealthy habits that can promote the inflammation process, such as smoking, a sedentary life, eating too fast and not antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables but junk food, refined carbohydrates and sugars. These habits should be avoided for an anti inflammatory lifestyle. And what are the nutrients and foods that on the contrary should be taken? Before seeing some pieces of advice about diet there are some foods that, if introduced in our daily diet, can really be very helpful to fight inflammations (Monica Reinagel, The Inflammation-free diet plan, McGraw Hill, 2006). For example, you can consider fish oil, a source of omega 3 fatty acids with anti inflammatory action. Fish oil can be taken in the form of supplements, in pearls, but be careful if you are already taken medicines, in this case it is always better to ask your doctor in order to avoid interactions. Also eating fish, such as sardine or salmon, twice a week is a healthy anti inflammatory habit that brings omega 3 fatty acids. And don’t forget turmeric! Turmeric has an active substance, the curcumin, with anti inflammatory and anti cancer action demonstrated by scientific studies (Goel et al, Cancer Letters, 2001 or also Jurenka et al, ALtern Med Rev, 2009). However, curcumin is absorbed with difficulty, for this reason, in order to overcome the stomach barrier, it is better to mix turmeric with a fat, such as extra virgin olive oil, and black pepper that promotes its absorption (Shoba et al, Plant Med, 1998). If you add a teaspoon of turmeric to a small cup, pour a little olive oil and some ground black pepper you can get a special and healthy dressing for salads. Other spices with anti inflammatory properties are cinnamon (Gunawardena et al, Food Funct, 2015), ginger, pepper, garlic and chili pepper, but also some substances that can be found in vegetables and fruits, such as bromelain, that can be found in fresh pineapple, and then ginkgo biloba, able to counteract inflammations and to increase blood circulation, especially that of brain, or also stinging nettle, useful against allergies and prostatic inflammations (Monica Reinagel, The Inflammation-free diet plan, McGraw Hill, 200). Finally, extra virgin olive oil should be used very often, in fact, it has proven anti inflammatory properties (Luca et al, Curr Pharm Des, 2011). In the next post we will see the foods that should be avoided or limited and the foods to prefer in order to counteract inflammations.