Food and Inflammation

Dr Thanh-Tam Pham - 15/08/2021

Inflammatory foods:

Food that can increase oxidative stress and inflammation:

1- Sugar: eating lots of sugar can lead to chronic inflammation.

2- Refined starch and processed foods: chips, cookies, cereals, pretzels, donuts…

3- Red meat and processed meat: ham, sausages, salami…

4- Oils: oils that have an increase Omega6: Omega 3 fatty acids ratio: sunflower, corn, sesame, peanut, soybean, canola, walnut

5- Dairy: a diet high in meat and dairy is associated with high in arachidonic acid precursors and pro-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Cheese and cream have high saturated fat can increase inflammation.

6- Gluten in wheat, rye, barley, oats.

Potatoes, sweet potatoes are gluten free.

Coeliac disease is more common in people with autoimmune disease. It can be detected by a blood test. Some people with immune related disease may be gluten sensitive.

7- Nightshades: tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums, potatoes may be problematic with some people with immune related disease due to lectin and saponin content and may cause an overactive immune systematic response.

Anti-inflammatory foods

1- Vegetables are superfoods. They contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients. They strengthen the immune system and mitochondria, improve the nervous system and promote gut microbiome.

-Leafy greens: bok choy, Kale, spinach, lettuce dark green and red, arugula, mustard greens.. They contain vitamins A, C for immune cell function, skin and gums health.

They have Vitamin K, B and folate that are important for the nervous system.

- Coloured vegetables: asparagus, beetroots, capsicums, red cabbage, carrots, zucchini, squash. The deep colour is a sign of the presence of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients that help protect against auto-immune disease.

- Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower.

They are high in sulphur compound, glucosinolate that play an important role in disease prevention, trigger anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory response and contribute to the maintenance of cell balance. They are high in folate, vitamin C,K, selenium, Calcium and phytonutrients.

-Sulfur vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, leeks, garlic, mushrooms, radishes.

How much vegetables : aiming for 8-9 cups /day

Veggie-based smoothies:

-2-3 handfuls leafy green such as spinach, kale

-1-2 carrots

- half a banana

- mangoes or pineapple or berries

- 2 tsp flax seed

- Almond or coconut milk, water

2- Fruits: cherries, strawberries, blue berries, watermelon, apples, pineapple, avocado, oranges, grapes

Fruit juice does contain beneficial vitamins and anti-oxidants but it is also high in sugar (fructose) and low in fibre which can lead to inflammation.

3- Omega 3

- Fatty fish: salmon, Herring, sardines, trout, Mackerel

- Flax seed

- Fish oil – not to exceed 2 g of EPA and DHA daily

4- Nuts and seeds: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, Chia seeds, basil seeds

Most nuts are high in “healthy “ fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) as well as omega 3 fatty acids and fibre.

5- Others:

Dark chocolate, green tea, coffee, eggs

6- Supplements that fight inflammation:

- alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid made by our body

- Curcumin

- Fish oil

- Resveratrol

- Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both salt and fresh water. It may be one of the most nutrient dense foods on earth, fantastic source of anti-oxidants. Spirulina can lower bad LDL and Triglyceride levels, lower blood sugar and reduce blood pressure

- Vitamins A,B, C, D, E, K

Doctors who treat their auto-immune disease by food:

- Brooks Goldner, MD – Lupus

- Terry Wahls , MD- progressive Multiple Sclerosis