5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Fight Chronic Diseases and Aging

Article by SoLongevity Research
Certain foods are associated with lower levels of inflammation, as measured by specific markers such as C Reactive Protein. Here are what these “shield” foods are for our health.

What this article is about

  • Experts from Harvard Medical School have compiled a list of 5 useful foods to defend our health
  • The Italian Society of Andrology suggests 5 antioxidant substances to protect the prostate, some of which are contained in recommended foods
  • Many of these substances are present in the Mediterranean Diet

The link between diet and inflammatory status

There is a link between poor diet and inflammation: some evidence indicates that a poor diet can lead to a state of chronic inflammation, which in turn can contribute to the development of numerous diseases. We still do not fully understand the mechanisms behind this association; on the contrary, several research reports that certain foods are able to reduce the body’s levels of inflammation and, consequently, the risk of various diseases.

5 anti-inflammatory foods

Here are five anti-inflammatory foods recommended by experts at Harvard Medical School in Boston to defend our health.

  1. Bread with olive oil. Instead of a sandwich, roll, or pizza, we simply choose toasted whole grain bread with olive oil. Recent research published in Nutrition Reviews (not the only one on the subject) indicates that whole grains promote the growth of “good” bacteria within our gut flora. The gut microbiome is an important part of our bodies-simply consider that its weight is estimated to be around 1.5-2 kg. “Good” bacteria in turn can play an anti-inflammatory role and defend us against chronic processes that have potentially negative effects.
  2. Green tea. Green tea can have benèficial effects, as it contains substances called catechins – belonging to the flavanols group – compounds of plant origin that possess antioxidant properties. In fact, compounds with antioxidant action counteract the oxidation process, which, if altered and in excess, can damage cells and tissues. Antioxidant-rich foods perform a protective function against cellular damage.
  3. Nuts. Nuts are another food to include in the diet. These contain healthy fats, proteins and organic compounds called phytochemicals. A diet rich in phytochemicals, also found in fruits, has antioxidant properties. Research in the journal Antioxidants shows that a diet high in phytochemicals is associated with lower levels of inflammation, as measured by specific blood markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP).
  4. Fish. Consuming salmon, tuna, or cod, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helps us defend cardiovascular health, and this is likely due to the anti-inflammatory action carried out by these compounds. Some studies, yet to be further investigated, have found a possible link between regular weekly fish consumption and lower levels of molecules that promote inflammation, called inflammatory cytokines.
  5. Fruit. Last but not least, fruit. A fruit salad full of varied fruits, including berries, contains vitamins and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.

It is important to prefer foods rich in antioxidants, such as phytochemicals

Antioxidants that are also good for the prostate

Recently, the Italian Society of Andrology (SIA) also recommended foods that contain 5 particular compounds that have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative action based on a thorough review of the scientific literature. Specifically, the experts identified epigallocatechins (coincidentally derived from green tea), lycopene (contained mainly in tomatoes and best taken up by our bodies when cooked), resveratrol and pterostilbene (contained in several foods, including red grapes, blueberries, peanuts), and ellagic acid (found, for example, in pomegranate, which also contains another substance useful for mitochondria efficiency, urolithin A). Supplementation of these substances, when prescribed by a specialist, has an advantageous balance between efficacy and safety.

Green tea contains antioxidant substances, such as epigallocatechins, which are also useful in protecting the prostate

Among the organs that can be affected by an unhealthy diet is then needless to say, the heart. According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who eat a high-inflammatory diet, which includes more red and processed meats, refined carbohydrates and sugar-rich drinks, have a higher chance of developing cardiovascular problems. On the other hand, the risk is lower for those who follow an anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, containing ample amounts of fruits, vegetables, especially leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, and fish.

Epigallocatechins, lycopene, resveratrol, pterostilbene, and ellagic acid are 5 substances that are also useful for prostate wellness

Watch out for purines

One dietary ingredient to pay attention to, however, are purines, substances naturally produced by our bodies and found in various foods. When the body produces an excess of these or fails to dispose of them, they can lead to increased levels of a molecule called uric acid in the blood, which in turn can be deposited in the joints, leading in some cases to gout. Excessive consumption of purine-rich foods can increase the risks, as research recently published in the journal Nutrients shows, especially in patients already suffering from hyperuricemia. Purines are present in high concentrations in offal and game, in medium concentrations in red meat (beef, pork and lamb), seafood, alcoholic beverages-particularly beer-and fructose-rich beverages, including many carbonated soft drinks. In contrast, fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain little of it: again, the right choice falls on these foods.

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