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5 of the best anti-inflammatory foods to protect your immune system

Written by Fiona

April 06 2020

Do you know how your immune system works? Put simply, the immune system becomes activated when your body recognises anything that is foreign, for example viruses, plant pollen etc. This then triggers a process called inflammation. The inflammation works to see off the invasion and to protect your health. 

However, sometimes inflammation persists and it can even happen without these foreign invaders. What’s more, diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and depression, have been linked to chronic inflammation. In some cases, people may need to seek medical advice or professional care, such as at Guys & St Thomas Private Healthcare.

So what can we do to battle inflammation in our day to day lives? Research shows that it is a good to include a range of so-called anti-inflammatory foods in our diet. 

5 great anti-inflammatory foods

To reduce levels of inflammation, you should follow a generally healthy diet that is low in complex carbohydrates and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy oils. Think about the traditional Mediterranean diet and you will be on the right lines.

1 Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that is said can help to boost the immune system.In particular, studies show that flavonoids play a role in the respiratory tract’s immune defence system.

2 The yellow spice, turmeric, is thought to improve our immune response. This is due to curcumin, a compound that is found in turmeric. Research has shown that curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

3 Tomatoes are well known to be high in vitamin C, potassium and lycopene, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

4 Leafy greens, such as kale, spinach and arugula are packed with fibre and phytonutrients, as well as calcium and vitamins A, C and K. That means you have the bonus of anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as antioxidants that are thought to lower cholesterol levels, prevent cancer and heart disease.

5 Bananas are rich in a variety of compounds, many of which are antioxidants. Bananas include rutin, which is said to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Other foods to include in your healthier, immune system boosting diet are nuts, which have reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as coffee and even dark chocolate.

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