Adding antioxidants to your diet has been shown to fight inflammation naturally and help protect from disease. Chronic inflammatory diseases are becoming more severe and common and currently contribute to more than half of the deaths worldwide. Inflammation is associated with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases like hypertension and heart disease, lung and airway diseases like asthma, metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, mental illnesses like depression, and some forms of cancer such as colon cancer.
Both for oral health and overall health, it is helpful to regularly take antioxidants and/or natural anti-inflammatory items into your diet to help reduce inflammation systemically.
Not every food (or antioxidant) works for every person but encouraging your patients to include them in their diet could provide them with an extra line of defense.
According to the American Heart Association, the following foods are high in antioxidants or have a high degree of anti-inflammatory effect.
- Fatty fishes high in omega-3 fatty acids are well known for reducing inflammation. They include fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. Some of these can be high in mercury, so eating them more than three times per week is generally not recommended.
- Dark leafy greens. Generally, the darker or more colorful the vegetable, the higher the antioxidative effect. Remember, patients on certain anticoagulants and those with a specific type of kidney stone disease need to limit their intake of some dark leafy greens.
- Tea is well known for containing many types of antioxidants. Green tea has been shown to have a higher level of antioxidants, but they are present in black and white teas also.
- Whole grains. One current diet fad is to go “gluten-free.” Unless you have celiac disease or a medically confirmed gluten intolerance whole grains are an important source of protein and fiber in addition to their anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Examples of healthy whole grains include whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and popcorn (with minimal salt and butter).
- Nuts are full of antioxidants and reduce inflammation. In addition, they are high in fiber which makes you feel full.
- Ginger. In addition to its anti-inflammatory effect, ginger helps to settle an upset stomach, reduce the effects of motion sickness, and reduces muscle soreness.
Source: Dr. Robert Winter, Spear Digest