Best defense against inflammation may be in your kitchen, not your medicine cabinet

There are many diseases out there linked to chronic inflammation. Researchers say the best medicine may not come from a pharmacy, but from your own pantry.

Swelling, redness, pain; the symptoms of inflammation in your joints can be excruciating. But inflammation doesn’t only happen in your joints.

Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even arthritis; there are a lot of diseases linked to chronic inflammation.

“Inflammation is the basis for many chronic diseases, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, even Alzheimer’s,” said Sampath Parthasarathy, a professor at UCF.

Now researchers say the best medicine may not come from a pharmacy but from your pantry.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, eating a three to four-ounce serving of fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel, at least twice a week can reduce inflammation and protect your heart.

So can eating nuts. A study found that over a 15-year period, people who consumed the most nuts had a 51% lower risk of dying from an inflammatory disease compared to those who eat the fewest nuts.

Some other inflammation-fighting foods include fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, oranges, and cherries; leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collards; and foods like tomatoes and olive oil. Olive oil contains a compound that has properties like ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

“We should consider taking some of these things so that we can possibly prevent, we can reduce inflammation, we can prevent a lot of disease,” said Ajay Goel, the Director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Research Cancer Prevention at Baylor Scott & White Health.

Fried foods, refined carbs, processed meats, and sugar-sweetened drinks can increase inflammation. A recent study from the University of Kentucky found people with heart failure who eat a diet high in foods that cause inflammation are twice as likely to end up in the hospital or die compared to those who eat foods known to reduce inflammation.