Experts list anti-inflammation foods that reduce risk of cancer and dementia

By Staff 6 Min Read

Chronic inflammation can lead to a number of serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s. But eating the right foods can help

Harvard Health experts have prescribed a menu of anti-inflammatory foods that could significantly reduce your odds of developing cancer, diabetes and dementia.

When intrusive elements such as chemicals or microbes expose your immune system, it can cause inflammation. This defensive mechanism looks out for your wellbeing by battling incoming threats. In line with NHS information, inflammation acts as your immune system’s innate response to wounds or infections. It prompts swelling and aids the body combat invading bacteria.

Inflammation becomes dangerous if provoked excessively. Prof Howard E. LeWine, from Harvard School of Public Health warns: “Many major diseases that plague us – including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s – have been linked to chronic inflammation.”

Nevertheless, good nutrition can be one of the most potent weapons against inflammation, reports Bristol Live. “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” stated Dr Frank Hu. “Choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.”

Foods that cause inflammation

The health guru explained: “Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation. It’s not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.”

  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • Margarine, shortening and lard

Anti-inflammation food

“A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life,” Dr Hu advises.

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
  • Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries and oranges

Tomatoes get their bright red colour from an antioxidant called lycopene. Studies show that lycopene has the potential to fight prostate cancer. Some evidence even shows it is stronger in processed tomato products, such as tomato sauce.

Blueberries are among the most powerful sources of antioxidants. They contain a cancer fighting chemical called anthocyanosides.

According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, anthocyanosides are one of the most potent antioxidants. They have been found to have a number of anticancer properties including radical scavenging activity, stimulation of phase II detoxifying enzymes, and reduced cell proliferation and inflammation.

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