Have you been trying to follow an anti-inflammatory diet but get lost in the advice?
Even though it’s a natural phenomenon, you’ve heard that inflammation can cause cancer….?
Are there certain foods you should be avoiding?
How long does it take to feel better after you start eating anti-inflammatory foods?
Inflammation can be a confusing topic. In this article, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of it so you have a better idea of what to do.
To become an insider, stay with us!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation develops naturally in our bodies when an injury, infection, chronic disease, or unhealthy behavior like smoking causes stress.
It functions as our body’s way of handling that stress and it’s an important part of survival.
Inflammation is needed to remove damaged cells and to start healing whatever is broken
Inflammation is usually accompanied by pain, redness, swelling, and stiffness. These are called cardinal symptoms of inflammation.
They appear after an injury because the immune system releases a large number of little markers to start the healing process.
Although they cause a bit of congestion, it’s a good thing, because now, healing can begin.
Are There Different Types?
There are two main types of inflammation, acute (short lasting), and chronic (long lasting). Both forms can be localized (in an arm or leg), or systemic (spread through the whole body), and mild or serious.
Wow, that’s a handful….but it’s not that complex.
To illustrate, let’s say you cut your finger and within a few hours it gets red, swollen, and pretty painful. Not to worry, it will get better once the finger heals.
What you experienced is an example of mild acute localized inflammation. Although this type of inflammation is painful, it won’t keep anyone up at night.
On the other hand, a disease like rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease may cause a more severe form of chronic inflammation.
This can be very painful and usually require long-term treatment.
Lastly, there’s also something called mild chronic systemic inflammation. This type of inflammation can develop from chronic diseases and unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as:
- High Blood Sugar
- Being Overweight
- Sitting Too Much or Not Exercising Regularly
- Making Bad Food Choices
- Drinking Alcohol
- Smoking Cigarettes
- Leading a Stressful Life
Mild chronic systemic inflammation is particularly bad because it can be hard to detect and can further increase the risk of chronic diseases and cancer.
However, cancer can also cause mild chronic systemic inflammation in its own right, because of the stress on your cells and tissues caused by cancer.
The question is, what caused it in the first place? Harvard Health Publishing calls it the “chicken or the egg.” Was it inflammation that caused arthritis and cancer, or did cancer and arthritis cause inflammation? Maybe it was a little bit of both?
To clarify, when we talk about inflammation from this point on, we mean mild chronic systemic inflammation. This is the worst type of inflammation from a cancer standpoint.
Does It Matter for Chronic Diseases?
The problem is that inflammation constantly causes damage to organs and tissues in the body.
At a certain point, that damage may result in chronic diseases.
Does It Matter for Cancer?
Inflammation makes the environment more favorable for cancer and is involved in all stages of cancer formation.
That is, from initiation to metastasis (spread beyond a local area), and maybe even in resistance to cancer treatment.
In other words, cancer is more likely to grow when there’s inflammation present
From a physiological standpoint, there are several ways in which scientists believe inflammation increases the risk for cancer:
The immune system releases something called free radicals that can damage the genetic code in cells.
Inflammation is also controlled by small messaging markers called cytokines.
- Cytokines can make it more favorable for certain genes that increase cancer growth while suppressing those that slow it down.
Consequently, both of these pathways increase the likelihood of tumor formation, which increases the risk for cancer.
In a nutshell, the problem with inflammation is that it can develop and be maintained by cancer – as such, it isn’t likely to improve until cancer improves
The good thing is that inflammation may be preventable, keep reading to find out how!
What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
Anti-inflammatory foods are foods that have compounds or nutrients in them that have the potential to fight inflammation.
They include things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and herbs.
Is There Any Scientific Evidence That It Works?
The problem with the anti inflammatory diet is that it doesn’t yet exist!
There isn’t enough evidence to say exactly what combination of foods is best or what amount is most beneficial
Since we can’t define it, we don’t have an official diet. What we have is an anti inflammatory foods list in pdf that has anti-inflammatory PROPERTIES.
However, to take a stab at a definition, the closest thing to a diet may be the combination of two diets with good evidence behind them.
The first one prevents cancer and the second reduces cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, and high blood pressure:
– AND –
Printable Anti-Inflammatory Foods List PDF
To clarify things a little, we’ve made a printable anti-inflammatory foods list PDF showing foods with anti-inflammatory properties within these two diets.
What it comes down to is loading up on fruits & berries, and vegetables, adding herbs & spices, whole grains, good fats, and green tea.
Take a look!
Do you want the whole Anti-Inflammatory Foods List PDF for FREE? Follow the prompts and it’s yours!
How Can I Reduce Inflammation in My Body?
The best way to reduce inflammation in your body is to eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties, exclude foods from the inflammatory food list, and make good lifestyle choices.
Maybe the anti-inflammatory diet isn’t about a single diet but about a portfolio of good habits that can lower inflammation
Besides choosing foods with anti-inflammatory properties, it’s best to LIMIT or AVOID
- Refined & Processed Foods
- Baked Goods & Fried Foods
- Heavy Cream & Fatty, Red Meat & Processed Meats
- Sugary Drinks & Alcohol
- Being Overweight
- Being Sedentary
- Exercising Every Day
- Getting Good Quality Sleep
- Living with Less Stress
- Keeping Blood Sugars Controlled
What Is the Strongest Anti Inflammatory Food?
Examples of foods with the strongest anti-inflammatory potential, in no particular order, are:
- Fruits & Veggies – Broccoli, Garlic, Mushrooms, Blueberries, Red Pepper
- Whole Grains – Oats, Brown Rice, Quinoa
- Healthy Fats: Fatty Fish, Walnuts, Olive Oil
- Herbs & Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Turmeric
- Green Tea
Why Is a Diet Rich in Them Better for Health and Longevity?
A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is better because they have the potential to reduce chronic inflammation that can cause diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
While foods such as processed meat are more inflammatory in nature and can increase the risk of cancer.
How Long Does It Take Before You Feel the Benefits?
Inflammation is a general term for many different kinds of inflammation. So, the time it takes before you feel the benefits is going to vary.
For mild chronic inflammation, it may be faster but for chronic inflammation, it may take a long time, or it may not get much better at all.
Generally, you could see improvement in a few weeks to a few monthsThe Cleveland Clinic
However, despite your best efforts, you may not notice any effect because:
- These foods only have the POTENTIAL to reduce inflammation.
- Something is causing stress and keeps inflammation going, meaning it may not be treatable.
- You may have individual sensitivities to other foods that may make inflammation worse.
The good news is that even though treating inflammation with foods is not proven scientifically, we know that the foods described in this article will help PREVENT cancer!
Does Balsamic Vinegar Cause Inflammation?
No, balsamic vinegar doesn’t cause inflammation. On the contrary, it has some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This has been established in a laboratory, and whether it has any anti-inflammatory effect on people isn’t known.
Although there’s some evidence that balsamic vinegar has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it doesn’t mean you’ll be less inflamed if you use balsamic vinegar
Are Chickpeas Anti-Inflammatory?
Chickpeas might be anti-inflammatory.
Although they have anti-inflammatory properties, we don’t know if that results in less inflammation in the body.
It’s also unclear what part of the chickpea is anti-inflammatory.
It could be the fiber, vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical content, lack of saturated fat and cholesterol, or all of it put together.
To sum up, chickpeas help to prevent cancer and they MAY be anti-inflammatory
Can I Overdo This, Is There Such a Thing as Too Much?
You could overdo this if you just eat the same foods all the time. Thus, to not miss out on any nutrients, it’s very important to include all food groups in your meals.
A limited repertoire of foods can cause a deficiency, or shortage of vitamins, minerals, or fats. This could in turn lead to inflammation, and in the long run, increase the risk for chronic diseases and cancer.
You could also overdo it if a certain disease requires you to restrict the amount of a food you can eat. It’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider to see what’s best for you.
Inflammation develops naturally in our bodies when an injury, infection, or unhealthy behavior like smoking causes stress.
Inflammation is needed to remove damaged cells and start healing whatever is broken.
It functions as our body’s way of handling that stress and it’s important for survival.
In a nutshell, the problem with inflammation is that it can develop and be maintained by cancer. As such, it isn’t likely to improve until cancer improves.
Although some foods have the POTENTIAL to make inflammation better, while others make it worse, there is no such thing as an official anti-inflammatory diet.
In short, before naming this an anti-inflammatory diet, we’ll need to fill in some missing pieces:
- Does it/how does it work?
- How much does it lower inflammation?
- How often should you eat these foods, and how much is needed?
- Can it be bad for some people?
Maybe the anti-inflammatory diet isn’t about a single diet, but about a portfolio of habits that can lower inflammation.
All and all, it’s a good idea to exercise daily, avoid being sedentary, stay at a healthy weight throughout life, keep blood sugars controlled, get sufficient sleep, reduce stress, and not smoke or drink alcohol.
This anti-inflammatory foods list pdf represent general ideas to try to help lower inflammation and are just for your education. It’s not a meal plan or medical advice, but a food list. You may be sensitive to other foods that can lead to inflammation.
Most importantly, since inflammation can be maintained by a chronic disease, you may not get better. A diet high in some nutrients can be discouraged under certain conditions.
Please work with your health care provider for advice.