Changing Your Diet To Reduce Inflammation | Stephen Coleclough
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Changing Your Diet To Reduce Inflammation

Changing Your Diet To Reduce Inflammation

Everyone will occasionally experience inflammation at some point in their lives.

It is a natural biological response to injury, infection, illness, or overtraining.

However, if you suffer from chronic inflammation, your body will remain inflamed for many months or even years.

This can increase your risk of certain chronic illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

In this article, we’ll provide a quick overview of inflammation and its causes.

We’ll also share a few of the foods that can eat to reduce inflammation.

Why does inflammation occur?

Inflammation is a complex biological response that is triggered by harmful stimuli.

It is designed to protect the body from various pathogens, irritants, and damaged cells.

The body will use inflammation to clear out dead cells, drive more white and red blood cells to the damaged part of the body, and initiate tissue repair.

Inflammation can also be used to drive additional hormones and nutrients to the site of an injury.

The inflammatory response involves the immune system, blood vessels and a variety of different molecules.

The symptoms of inflammation typically include redness, heat, pain, swelling, and loss of function.

However, it may be difficult to diagnose chronic inflammation affecting internal tissue.

Inflammation can be acute or chronic.

Acute inflammation occurs in response to specific stimuli.

This form of inflammation is most often caused by injuries, infections, and exposure to toxins.

Acute inflammation is temporary and occurs to help the body recover from a specific injury.

Chronic inflammation occurs when the type of cells present at the site of inflammation change over time.

This inflammatory response simultaneously causes the destruction and healing of tissue.

Many different diseases and illnesses can cause chronic inflammation including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and arthritis.

Some of the major causes of inflammation include:

  • Drug or alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet
  • Stress
  • Physical injuries including burns, broken bones, bruising, cuts
  • Foreign bodies becoming lodge under the skinExposure to radiation
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Immune system reactions due to hypersensitivity
  • Diseases and viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection – including illnesses like bronchitis, tonsillitis, appendicitis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat).

High intensity exercise will also trigger inflammation as your body sends blood cells, hormones, and nutrients to repair your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Inflammation is a part of the reason why you will feel sore after an intense workout.

When is inflammation bad?

Having persistent chronic inflammation can be bad for your health.

If the body is constantly inflamed, white blood cells will be produced in greater numbers.

They will roam around the body, looking around for a disease to attack or injury to fix.

Sometimes, these cells will begin to attack your organs or other tissue, which can cause illness or a chronic disease.

Persistent chronic inflammation has been linked to many illnesses including asthma, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Some people suffer from low-grade chronic inflammation without even realising it.

In many cases, it is caused by a poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, or other lifestyle factors.

Fortunately, this can be addressed by eating foods that naturally reduce inflammation in the body.

Foods that affect inflammation

Before we talk about the foods that can reduce inflammation, we’ll list some foods that can increase inflammation.

You should avoid the following:

Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates like white bread, donuts, cakes, white rice, and pastries can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

This can increase inflammation.

Red meat and processed meat

Researchers have discovered that red meat can trigger an inflammatory response within hours of consuming it.

Fried foods

The fats in fried foods can trigger inflammation in the body.

Sugar sweetened beverages

The high levels of sugar in sweetened beverages will cause a spike in blood sugar levels and inflammatory response.

Margarine and lard

Any products that have trans fat in them should be avoided because of the inflammatory response they create in the body.

The foods that reduce inflammation include:


Avocados contain polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols, phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, and omega 3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation.

Cold water fish

Fish including mackerel, salmon, herring, and tuna contain omega 3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation.


Walnuts and certain types of other nuts contain omega 3 fatty acids


Onions have been a home remedy for the treatment of inflammatory conditions for centuries.

Red Berries

Red berries contain polyphenol compounds which reduce inflammation.


Researchers have found that spices including oregano, turmeric, nutmeg, ginger, rosemary, and cayenne may be able to reduce inflammation.

Whole grains

The fibre in whole grain foods can help to lower inflammation markers.

Olive oil and canola oil

Both high in omega 3 fatty acids

Broccoli, Brussels Sprout, Kale

These vegetables contain sulforaphane, which can block enzymes that cause certain types of chronic inflammation.

Thanks for reading Changing Your Diet to Reduce Inflammation.

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Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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