These days, “inflammation” is a major buzzword. Everyone seems to be on a mission to fight it – but why? Well, if you have an autoimmune disease, inflammation is the process behind problematic symptoms. Eating anti-inflammatory foods will keep things under control.
What Is An Autoimmune Disease?
The immune system protects the body by attacking viruses, bacteria, and other harmful pathogens. This keeps infection and sickness at bay. However, an autoimmune disease makes the immune system target the body by mistake, causing harm to perfectly healthy tissue and cells.
Symptoms show up in the form of inflammation. Redness, heat, pain, and swelling are common signs, but specifics depend on the body part affected. Most autoimmune diseases act in more than one area. Examples of autoimmune diseases include the following:1
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Graves’ disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Autoimmune diseases can’t be cured, but proper management will prevent flare-ups. Start by focusing on the diet and eating foods that fight inflammation.
Foods With Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Properties
There’s a reason why avocados are all the rage. Half an avocado offers 6.7 grams of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fatty acids. It also contains antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, along with magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Avocado is also versatile and delicious! Spread it on toast, add it to salads, or make fresh guacamole.2
Even avocado oil combats inflammation. For instance, the Arthritis Foundation recommends avocado oil for its anti-inflammatory effects. Use it in cooking or even as a light dressing.3
2. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is one of the healthiest sources of protein. It’s packed with omega-3 fat, a type of anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acid. Tasty examples include salmon, tuna, and trout. Shellfish like crab and oysters also offer these nutritious fats.4
In fact, eating fatty fish reduces serum C-reactive protein, a biomarker of inflammation. Moreover, long-term intake has been shown to prevent and reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.5 6
Toss it into a salad to bulk up your greens. To control inflammation even more, flavor fatty fish with spices and herbs instead of salt.7
When you’re craving a crunchy snack, reach for nuts. You’ll get a generous dose of anti-inflammatory nutrients like magnesium, fiber, and unsaturated fatty acids. In turn, inflammatory markers like serum C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 will decrease.8
With so many types of nuts out there, there’s something for everyone. Cashews, almonds, and peanuts are delicious choices. Just be sure to buy unsalted nuts to avoid added sodium.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is known for its antioxidant plant chemicals called catechins. But the benefits don’t stop there! Catechins also possess anti-inflammatory properties, making it an awesome drink for autoimmune disease. Black tea also contains some catechins but not as much. The tea can be enjoyed either hot or cold. You can even add a cup of cooled tea to a refreshing smoothie.9
Like salmon, eggs provide high-quality protein, but be sure to eat the whole egg. The yolk is packed with anti-inflammatory lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients related to vitamin A. The unsaturated lipids will also add to the inflammation-fighting action.10 11
From scrambled to boiled, eggs can be enjoyed in countless ways. Try mixing mashed avocado with a hardboiled egg for a delicious anti-inflammatory sandwich.
While you’re at it, avoid pro-inflammatory foods. It’s the best thing you can do for autoimmune disease. Red meat, refined starches, and added sugars are the biggest offenders.12 13
|↑1||Autoimmune Diseases. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.|
|↑2||Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 53, no. 7 (2013): 738-750.|
|↑3||Best Oils for Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation.|
|↑4||Omega-3 Fatty Acids. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.|
|↑5||Pot, Gerda K., Anouk Geelen, Gosia Majsak-Newman, Linda J. Harvey, Fokko M. Nagengast, Ben JM Witteman, Paul C. van de Meeberg et al. “Increased consumption of fatty and lean fish reduces serum C-reactive protein concentrations but not inflammation markers in feces and in colonic biopsies.” The Journal of Nutrition 140, no. 2 (2010): 371-376.|
|↑6||Di Giuseppe, Daniela, Alice Wallin, Matteo Bottai, Johan Askling, and Alicja Wolk. “Long-term intake of dietary long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of rheumatoid arthritis: a prospective cohort study of women.” Annals of the rheumatic diseases 73, no. 11 (2014): 1949-1953.|
|↑7||Anti-Inflammatory Foods. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.|
|↑8||Salas-Salvadó, Jordi, Patricia Casas-Agustench, Michelle M. Murphy, Patricia López-Uriarte, and Monica Bulló. “The effect of nuts on inflammation.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition 17, no. S1 (2008): 333-336.|
|↑9||Chatterjee, Priyanka, Sangita Chandra, Protapaditya Dey, and Sanjib Bhattacharya. “Evaluation of anti-inflammatory effects of green tea and black tea: A comparative in vitro study.” Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research 3, no. 2 (2012): 136.|
|↑10||Andersen, Catherine J. “Bioactive egg components and inflammation.” Nutrients 7, no. 9 (2015): 7889-7913.|
|↑11||Zdrojewicz, Zygmunt, Marta Herman, and Ewa Starostecka. “Hen’s egg as a source of valuable biologically active substances.” Postȩpy higieny i medycyny doświadczalnej (Online) 70 (2016): 751-759.|
|↑12||Samraj, Annie N., Oliver MT Pearce, Heinz Läubli, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Anne K. Bergfeld, Kalyan Banda, Christopher J. Gregg et al. “A red meat-derived glycan promotes inflammation and cancer progression.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 2 (2015): 542-547.|
|↑13||Giugliano, Dario, Antonio Ceriello, and Katherine Esposito. “The effects of diet on inflammation.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 48, no. 4 (2006): 677-685.|