Based on the World Health Organization, chronic diseases pose the greatest threat to global health. Out of 5 deaths, 3 deaths are caused by chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disorders, stroke and cancer.


Did you know that many chronic diseases stem from chronic inflammation? Chronic inflammation is a “silent killer” that lurks in our bodies without noticeable symptoms. It is especially common in the modern society due to sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, sleep deficiency and prolonged stress.  What’s alarming is that it may take up to 30 years before the symptoms appear, and by then, it is too late to reverse the damage inflicted. 


To reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, it is imperative to take the necessary steps to combat inflammation. Here are 5 anti-inflammatory foods you can eat:


1. Berries



Studies have found that the consumption of berries (e.g. strawberries) reduced specific inflammatory markers (linked to heart disease) in overweight individuals.



Berries are rich in fiber, anthocyanins, vitamins and minerals. In particular, fiber has been shown to decrease C-reactive protein, a component in the blood that serves as an inflammatory marker. Anthocyanins responsible for the colours of berries also exhibit anti-inflammatory effect.



As such, you are encouraged to eat more berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. You can put berries in yogurt, cereals, and smoothie or eat them alone.




2. Whole Grains



A meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials has confirmed that consuming whole grains can decrease inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, Interleukin-6, Interleukin-1β and Tumor necrosis factor-α. Researchers have linked the anti-inflammatory effect to the bioactive compounds found in whole grains (e.g. fiber, vitamins B, E, zinc and selenium).



Thus, you are encouraged to replace most refined grains (e.g. white rice and white bread) with whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole-wheat bread.




3. Cruciferous Vegetables



A high intake of cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease, thanks to their anti-inflammatory effect.



Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, brussel sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. The name “cruciferous” is derived from Latin cruciferae meaning “cross bearing,” as the shape of their flowers (four petals) resemble a cross.



Generally, these vegetables contain isothiocyanates and indoles, which decrease inflammation by lowering the level of proinflammatory cytokine and nuclear factor-kappa B activity. Hence, you should incorporate cruciferous vegetables into your diet. They are great in stir-fries, soups and salads.




4. Tomatoes


Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that possess cardiovascular and cancer preventive properties due to its anti-inflammatory benefit. Lycopene suppresses inflammation by inhibiting the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines, lowering the level of reactive oxygen species and modulating signal transduction pathways.



As such, we recommend that you increase your intake of tomatoes. To maximise the absorption of lycopene, cook the tomatoes in camelina oil as lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient.




5. Fatty Fish



Fatty fish (e.g. salmon, sardines and herring) are packed with omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. In the body, these fatty acids are metabolised into compounds known as resolvins and protectins, which confer anti-inflammatory benefits. Such benefits have been demonstrated in clinical studies, where the decrease in the level of inflammatory marker C-reactive protein was observed after ingestion of salmon.



Therefore, you are recommended to eat 2 servings of fatty fish weekly.



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