Anti-inflammatory diets for joint pain

Last modified: December 11, 2019

There is lot of talk about anti-inflammatory diets in connection with many different conditions and diseases. One of the ailments that is said to be relieved by this type of diet is osteoarthritis. However, there are still a lot of questions to examine before it can be clearly stated that anti-inflammatory foods actually work.

Which type of inflammation can be relieved with an anti-inflammatory diet?

To understand what an anti-inflammatory diet means and whether it will help, we first need to understand what is meant by “inflammation”. During an inflammatory reaction, several signaling substances are released by the body’s immune system, including cytokines. Cytokines are a part of our immune system and help protect us from different diseases. It has been shown that fat tissue can produce increased levels of the building blocks for cytokines, so-called pro-inflammatory cytokines, and therefore there is a connection between obesity and inflammatory diseases.

The idea behind an anti-inflammatory diet is that it can help reduce excess weight and thereby reduce this type of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods also contain substances that strengthen the immune system. Research indicates that there is a link between inflammation and our intestinal flora. However, these studies are currently being conducted primarily on animals, so it is still difficult to know whether the connection is true for humans.

What an anti-inflammatory diet is

There are many different guidelines about what one should eat – and what to avoid – to reduce inflammation. Oftentimes, specific foods are recommended, such as sweet potatoes, seaweed, sauerkraut, turmeric and green tea. At the same time, dairy products, red meat, coffee, alcohol and sugar should be avoided. However, when you compare different types of anti-inflammatory diets, there are a number of guidelines that provide conflicting information. Some recommend consuming foods that are considered off-limits by others. There is simply no general guideline regarding anti-inflammatory diets.

Anti-inflammatory diets from a scientific perspective

The research indicates that there is no such thing as anti-inflammatory foods. This means that it is not possible to scientifically demonstrate that certain foods can increase or decrease an inflammatory process that is already occurring in the body. When it comes to dietary advice in general, we know that there are certain things that are good for our health, such as fruits and vegetables. However, there is no evidence to show that certain vegetables or fruits are better for our health than others.

If you want to reduce inflammation, the recommendation is to reduce the amount of fat in the body. To achieve this, a varied diet that is based on natural, unprocessed foods is the best approach. For the best effect, this should be combined with physical activity. Activity can help to maintain muscle mass, which affects the metabolism positively. At the same time, the risk of common, lifestyle-related diseases decreases. Stronger muscles also reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Continue reading about the health benefits of a mediterranean diet.