Inflammation can be a specific symptom (a consequence, for example, of times of excess) or it can be a more serious problem (chronic inflammation). Whatever the cause and the way in which it manifests itself, diet plays a key role, both in preventing it and in alleviating it.

As it explains Leyre López-Iranzunutritionist at the FEMM Clinic, the diet-inflammation link is very close, and occurs in two directions: “The type of foods included in the diet is key in the fight against inflammation since they can reduce or, on the contrary, aggravate your symptoms.”

In relation to this, specialists from the Harvard University School of Medicine (United States) have recently published a report (Fighting Inflammation), in which they analyze why the type of diet is so decisive in cases of inflammation, especially chronic inflammation: “Digestive bacteria release chemicals that can stimulate or suppress inflammation. The types of bacteria that populate the intestine and their chemical byproducts vary depending on the foods we eat, so that some foods promote the growth of bacteria that stimulate inflammation, while others promote the development of microorganisms that help suppress it.

‘Anti-inflammatory diets’: the whole truth

In their report, American experts warn about the current proliferation of anti-inflammatory diets which, despite being very popular, is not based on scientific evidenceand they recommend, as reliable guidelines in this regard, the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

Along the same lines, López-Iranzu tells CuídatePlus that what is meant by an “anti-inflammatory diet” as such has nothing to do with a restrictive and temporary eating regimen, “but rather it is an eating plan (and, also , of a way of life) that It acts effectively against inflammation and, at the same time, provides the extra amount of energy that the body needs and favors its correct functioning.”

According to the nutritionist, This plan is based on foods that improve digestion, reduce bloating and counteract the continuous feeling of tiredness“prioritizing fresh and seasonal products, and including foods rich in antioxidants, fiber, minerals, omega 3 and different vitamins.”

Polyphenols and omega 3 against post-vacation swelling

Although their symptoms are similar, we can talk about different types of inflammation, and One of the most frequent is the one that occurs as a result of specific situations or often happens, for example, in summer, “a time when it is common to abuse certain types/styles of food and drink, which can have a negative impact on health, leading to bloating or fluid retention.” liquids and promoting inflammation,” says López-Iranzu, who recommends, in these cases, giving special prominence to the following foods:

Fruits and vegetables

Opt for fresh and seasonal ones “since they are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that help fight inflammation,” says the nutritionist.

In this sense, Harvard experts highlight the role of foods rich in polyphenols, and refer to a review published in the British Journal of Nutrition which summarizes a series of studies that support the potential of these nutrients in reducing body inflammation and improving the function of the cells that line blood vessels, among other properties. “Among the foods rich in this nutrient are onions, turmeric, red grapes, green tea, cherries, plums and dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale…),” the authors of the report point out. .


Both López-Iranzu and American researchers agree that one of the best options for this problem is blue fish (salmon, tuna, sardines and trout) since it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which, as noted in the Harvard document, have extensive and powerful scientific evidence on their anti-inflammatory properties. Olive and linseed oil are also a good option, due to their high content of this nutrient.

Whole grains

The nutritionist especially recommends quinoa, brown rice and oats: “They are rich in fiber and have a lower glycemic index compared to refined carbohydrates.”

Nuts and seeds

Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds They are sources of healthy fats and also provide anti-inflammatory properties..


The best choices are turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper “given their recognized anti-inflammatory properties, which are very useful in the process of eliminating swelling.”

Green Tea

This modality contains antioxidant compounds – including polyphenols – that can help reduce body inflammation”.

Correctly and effectively following an anti-inflammatory diet also involves avoiding a series of products, since as López-Iranzu explains, “Some foods include components that they shoot the inflammation. This is the case of sugary drinks, ultra-processed products and pre-cooked dishes. All of them contain high doses of trans fats, as well as refined flours and sugars, which enhance the body’s inflammatory response and make it difficult to prevent inflammation, especially chronic inflammation.”

Type menus to ‘deflate’

The nutritionist at the FEMM Clinic offers two typical menu guidelines for cases of specific swelling:

Guideline 1:

  • Breakfast: Kefir with chia seeds, red fruits and almonds.
  • Meal: Quinoa with chicken and wild asparagus.
  • Dinner: Grilled salmon salad with avocado, tomato and seeds.

Guideline 2:

  • Breakfast: Whole wheat toast with avocado and scrambled eggs and watermelon.
  • Meal: Spinach salad, cherry tomato, cucumber, hard-boiled egg and lemon and olive oil dressing. Turkey with homemade ratatouille.
  • Dinner: Hake in green sauce and seasonal vegetables.

What to eat when the problem is chronic

If the inflammation persists for a prolonged period of time, it is essential to consult a specialist since, as López-Iranzu highlights, Chronic inflammation is dangerous and gives rise to very harmful pathologies: “It is a negative condition that is related to a large number of serious diseases such as metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases.”

The authors of the Harvard Medical School report refer to chronic inflammation as “the silent thief” and emphasize its link with the risk of developing pathologies such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis or depression.

The recommended nutritional guidelines are practically the same as in the case of specific inflammation, although there are options that should be further enhanced in the diet for chronic inflammation. It is the case of the fruits with a low glycemic index whose consumption, according to the nutritionist, is necessary to prioritize, “especially if they are red fruits like raspberries and blueberries. Cherries are also highly recommended, since they contain antioxidants and have a de-inflammatory effect on the body without providing excess glucose and fructose.”

“Quality proteins (organic or free-range eggs; white or blue fish and unprocessed meat) and legumes (a source of vegetable proteins) are also important in the anti-inflammatory diet,” says López-Iranzu, who It also recommends including raw and unsalted nuts, such as walnuts.which have very beneficial nutritional properties against inflammation.

Microbiota and inflammation: there is a relationship

On the other hand, inflammation (especially abdominal swelling) accompanied by gas, slow digestion and a feeling of heaviness can be a clear indication of an imbalance in the microbiota, as commented to CuídatePlus. Mireia Eliasnutritionist at the Centta Institute and course coordinator Digestive health and microbiota, organized by this center: “The microbiota and inflammation have a close relationship. When our body is inflamed, the microbiota suffers alterations, and the same thing happens inversely. Furthermore, the microbiota is closely linked to the immune response because this system (the immune system) at a local level is found in the intestine, and an imbalance in the composition of the microbiota can cause a deregulated immune response, causing the integrity of the intestinal barrier to be compromised or that there is inflammation due to inflammatory bowel diseases.”

As Elías points out, both the factors that alter the microbiota and those that produce inflammation are multiple (and coincident): “EAmong them are insufficient rest; sedentary lifestyle, constant cortisol spikes (stress hormone) associated with a busy lifestyle; a diet that is not very nutritious and low in fiber; the constant snacking between meals; low sun exposure; spending little time in contact with nature and not devoting the necessary time to self-care, among others.”

The importance of digestive rest

To combat both the imbalance of the microbiota and inflammation, there are a series of guidelines that Mireia Elías explains:

“First of all, check that the main food groups are included in the daily diet (fruits, vegetables, legumes, oily fish, nuts and seeds, eggs…) and nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins).”

“In addition,” the expert continues, “you have to maintain balance and stability in your schedules. Our body works best when it is in homeostasis (balance), which promotes the prevention and reduction of inflammation. This is achieved ceating more or less at the same time, avoiding snacking and having regular sleep schedules. Maintaining a stable schedule and avoiding repetitive intakes ensures the rest of the digestive tract, which is absolutely necessary, and gives it time to cleanse and/or regenerate from the inside.”

Prebiotics and probiotics: allies with double effects

As for the specific nutrients and foods that benefit both conditions, the Centta Institute nutritionist recommends the intake of those with a prebiotic effect (food for bacteria) and probiotic (the bacteria themselves)among which the following stand out:

healthy fats

Seeds, nuts, avocado, oily fish, olive oil…

Antioxidants (polyphenols)

Present in fruits and vegetables (the more colors, the better); nuts; roasted cocoa; spices such as oregano, black pepper or ginger.

Highly fermentable fibers

Oats, barley, seaweed, flax and chia seeds, and fruits and vegetables (“especially green bananas and mushrooms”), potatoes, legumes…

Fermented foods

Dairy such as kefir; vegetables such as sauerkraut or sprouts; apple cider vinegar and kombucha.

“Including these specific groups in the daily diet helps reduce inflammation and maintains the balance of the microbiota, but always in the context of basic health guidelines and with a comprehensive approach,” says Elías.

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