Foods for inflammation: fact or fiction?

There is a lot of information circulating and in talk about foods that are good for inflammation in our body, whether it is related to joints, infections, chronic health conditions, or unknown inflammation, heat, and pain.

Many people struggle from chronic inflammation, which can be a debilitating condition from which medication does not always provide relief. So alternatives are sought. Did you know that there are foods that have proven to reduce inflammation? But there are also a lot of foods out there that do not have evidence to support their use. We will explore some of these options.

Fish oil:

Fish oil has many proven health benefits, which include keeping our hearts healthy, reducing cholesterol, may help eye health and weight status. Fish oil can be taken for conditions that cause inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Some individuals find relief taking these foods, but some others find they do not get the anti-inflammatory benefits. Fish oil should not be taken by those who take blood thinners such as Warafin, as fish oil is a natural blood thinner.

Turmeric:

Turmeric has been used by many Western Asian cultures for centuries as a cooking spice, and has also been known for its inflammatory properties. Turmeric is a vibrant yellow-orange coloured spice, which has a bioactive compound known as curcumin, which provides the anti-inflammatory benefits for those with chronic pain. Curcumin acts at the molecular level, and has been proven to be as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs in several studies. Similarly to fish oil, specific quantities need to be consumed for the anti-inflammatory benefits.

Olive oil:

Olive oil is an all-round amazing product which has so many health benefits – improvement in cholesterol levels, protective against heart damage, benefits for skin and cell function. Adequate intakes of mono- and polyunsaturated with support a healthy body, and olive oil is full of antioxidants which will remove free radicals (compounds which damage cells). A key antioxidant known as oleocanthal, present in olive oil has the same benefits as ibuprofen.

Gelatin:

Gelatine has started popping up in many health food stores and is being touted as a new, wonder food for those who get a lot of arthritis based swelling. It is meant to increase the amount of collagen in the joints to assist with movement. Currently, there is very minimal evidence to support this product, and its safety as not been determined. So from a dietitian’s perspective, it isn’t something we are recommending.

 

There are a variety of other products out there that are promoted to having anti-inflammatory benefits, but there can be some questions asked if you aren’t sure about the reliability of information. Qualified health professionals will always give you reputable information, but you can be sceptical of people who are trying to make a sale at a local store.