The Top Eleven Anti-Inflammatory Foods and a Diet Plan from Dr. Andrew Weil
Inflammation, as a bodily process, is not entirely a bad thing. It is actually the body’s attempt at self-protection – to remove harmful compounds such as damaged cells, irritants or pathogens and then set in motion the healing process. However, when inflammation is chronic (long-term), it can lead to several disease states, including some cancers, atherosclerosis, autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis or lupus and arthritis. Some foods have nutritional properties to overcome inflammation, due to antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. The first stage of inflammation is often called irritation, which is then followed by suppuration, and then granulation – ultimately ridding the body of the concerning invader and returning it to a healthy state. Acute inflammation, such as from an infected cut, cold or flu, or dermatitis, starts rapidly and quickly becomes severe. The five signs of acute inflammation are pain, redness, immobility, swelling, and heat. Chronic inflammation, lasting several months or even years, result from the failure of the body to eliminate whatever is causing the problem.
Anti-inflammatory medications are often used to reduce inflammation. However, medicines are not always needed. A change in diet to include more anti-inflammatory foods can be a natural way to manage some symptoms of chronic inflammation.
Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries are among the fruits with the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, which prevent and repair the stress that comes from oxidation. Wild blueberries, for example, contain over 13,000 total antioxidants, in just one cup –about 10 times the USDA’s recommendation in one serving.
Anthocyanins are plant pigments that give berries their rich and deep red, purple and blue colors and, in lab studies, have exerted the potential to prevent such diseases as cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders and inflammation from arthritis and gout. Berries and other antioxidant rich foods also have the ability to enhance the brain’s ability to generate a heat-shock protein known as HSP70 which protects the nervous system from stress.