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Managing inflammation

Can diet be used to manage inflammation?
Mother and daughter unpacking groceries in kitchen
© Deakin University

Current evidence shows that inflammation can be managed by diet.

In Week 1 we discussed how poor diets are the key contributing factor to premature mortality worldwide.

Western-style diets have a pro-inflammatory impact on the body. They are high in processed meats and foods with added sugar, salt and fat; these types of diets are consistently linked to an increased risk for many diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, common mental disorders, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

How can diet help inflammation?

Diets high in fibre from whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, seeds and nuts have been shown to support immune functioning, at least partly, through their beneficial impact on gut mucosal immunity that regulates responses to all ingested substances. The diverse types of fibre ingested with plant foods are used by the gut microbiota to produce metabolites such as short chain fatty acids that play a significant role in regulating inflammation.

Other important foods are fish and other seafood – a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids – can also reduce inflammation. Other sources include canola, linseed / flaxseed, chia, walnuts, soybean and soy products, omega-3 enriched eggs and seaweed.

Mediterranean diets to decrease inflammation

Notably, Mediterranean-style diets are associated with decreased inflammation. The common components of such diets are:

  • high intake of grains, vegetables, fruit, and legumes
  • use of olive oil as main source of added fat (eg in cooking)
  • increased consumption of fish
  • moderate consumption of dairy
  • low consumption of red and processed meat
  • low to moderate consumption of red wine.

Your task

Compare and contrast the similarity and differences between the dietary guidelines in your country that we discussed as part of your task in Step 1.11 and common characteristics of anti-inflammatory diets.

Share your thoughts in the comments.

© Deakin University
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