Inflammation may play a role in premature aging, periodontal disease, obesity, skin aging, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, among many other chronic health concerns.
Antioxidant-rich diets appear to protect against stroke by preventing the circulation of oxidized fats in the bloodstream that may damage the sensitive walls of small blood vessels in the brain. They can also help decrease artery stiffness, prevent blood clots from forming, and lower blood pressure and inflammation. Whereas all whole plant foods may have anti-inflammatory effects, some plants are better than others. High-antioxidant fruits and vegetables, such as berries and greens, have been found to douse systemic inflammation significantly better than the same number of servings of more common low-antioxidant fruits and veggies, such as bananas and lettuce.
Research dating back half a century suggests tart cherries are so anti-inflammatory that they can be used to successfully treat a painful type of arthritis called gout. Cherries can reduce the level of inflammation among healthy people too (as measured by a drop in C-reactive protein levels). A note of caution: For the same reason that high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin should be avoided during the third trimester of pregnancy, cocoa, berries, and other foods high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols should only be eaten in moderation in late pregnancy.
Studies have shown that consuming more fruits and vegetables may not only halt progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but appears to improve lung function, and risks of suffering from allergic asthma may be halved by eating two or more servings of vegetables a day.
What about our mental health? Components in certain foods may increase the risk of depression, such as arachidonic acid, that is blamed for potentially impairing mood by inflaming the brain. The top-five sources of this inflammation-promoting compound in the American diet are chicken, eggs, beef, pork, and fish, although chicken and eggs alone contribute more than the other top sources combined. There are data suggesting that people with higher levels of arachidonic acid in their blood may end up at significantly higher risk of suicide and episodes of major depression. Overall, those eating the Standard American Diet may consume about nine times more arachidonic acid than those eating plant-based diets.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Image Credit: Vonschonertagen / Thinkstock. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Inflammation
All Videos for Inflammation
Medicinal Mushrooms for Cancer Survival
Did the five randomized controlled trials of reishi mushrooms in cancer patients show benefits in terms of tumor response rate, survival time, or quality of life?
Fasting for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
More than half of IBS sufferers appear to have a form of atypical food allergy.
Who Should Take Statins?
How can you calculate your own personal heart disease risk and use it to determine if you should start on a cholesterol-lowering statin drug?
Are Emulsifiers Like Carboxymethylcellulose and Polysorbate 80 Safe?
Emulsifiers are the most widely used food additive. What are they doing to our gut microbiome?
Cannabis for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Even though cannabis smoking may help with IBD symptoms in the short-term, it may make the long-term prognosis worse.
The Best Diet for Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
Is the apparent protection of plant-based diets for thyroid health due to the exclusion of animal foods, the benefits of plant foods, or both?
The Best Diet for Crohn’s Disease Treatment
Switching to a plant-based diet has been shown to achieve far better outcomes than those reported on conventional treatments in both active and quiescent stages in both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The Best Diet for Ulcerative Colitis Treatment
Plant-based diets can be 98 percent effective in keeping ulcerative colitis patients in remission, blowing away other treatments.
Preventing Inflammatory Bowel Disease with Diet
Eating a diet filled with animal products can disrupt your microbiome faster than taking an antibiotic.
Why Angioplasty Heart Stents Don’t Work Better
Most heart attacks are caused by nonobstructive plaques that infiltrate the entire coronary artery tree. There is no such thing as “1-vessel disease,” “2-vessel disease,” or “left main disease.” Atherosclerotic plaque is continuous throughout the coronary arteries of heart attack victims.
The Effects of Processed Meat on Lung Function
If the nitrites in foods like ham and bacon cause lung damage, what about “uncured” meat with “no nitrites added”?
The Effects of Obesity on the Immune System and Kidney and Liver Diseases
What are the effects of weight loss on natural killer cell function, our first line of immune defense against cancer, as well as kidney function and fatty liver disease?