Strengthen Your Defence Against Illnesses with a Hidden Ally



Master’s Student in Clinical Nutrition
Faculty of Health Sciences
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
Dietetic Program
Centre for Healthy Aging and Wellness
Faculty of Health Sciences
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

When we feel a scratchy throat or struggle to breathe, our first thought is usually hospitals. But what if I told
you there’s a simple remedy in your kitchen?

Let’s explore how the anti-inflammatory diet can actually boost our immune system, especially when it comes to respiratory health.


Our body’s immune system is like a superhero that fights off infections and heals injuries, and inflammation is its natural power.

But here’s the twist: if not kept in check, inflammation can turn into a villain that causes chronic diseases. Hence, the foods we consume can either be a superhero sidekick or a troublemaker!

A pro-inflammatory diet influences our immune system’s balance in bad way, increasing the inflammation in our body.

Such a diet, measured by the Adapted Dietary Inflammatory Index (ADII), is associated with systemic inflammation and reduced kidney function in older adults. Chronic low-grade inflammation is believed to be one possible pathway linking this dietary pattern to kidney dysfunction.


  • Red and processed meats
  • Refined sugars
  • Fried foods
  • Margarine or shortening
  • Alcohol
  • Sodas

Researchers found that a higher ADII is related to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, and lower estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR), an indicator of kidney function.

Hence, a proinflammatory diet can lead to both systemic inflammation and reduced kidney function.


Generally, an anti-inflammatory diet should include sources of low-fat protein, colourful no- starchy carbohydrates, healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids, and foods rich in polyphenols.

An anti-inflammatory diet keeps insulin levels stable and cuts down on omega 6-fatty acids, which is crucial for beating silent inflammation.

Found in vibrant non-starchy veggies and fruits, polyphenols included in this diet put the brakes on inflammation by targeting a key player called nuclear factor (NF-κB). These polyphenols activate AMP kinase, a central switch controlling metabolism, including blood sugar levels.

The anti-inflammatory diet goes the extra mile by reducing chronic inflammation at the cellular level and tweaking gene expression. The result is lower risk of chronic diseases like obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

Lean sources of proteins Chicken, fish, or protein-rich vegetarian sources like tofu
or legumes.
Consume approximately the size and thickness of the palm of your
Colourful carbohydrates Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, bell peppers; fruits like guava and dragon fruits. Fill two-thirds of your plate with
non-starchy vegetables and
substantial amounts of fruits
These foods will help maintain a
low glycemic load and provide adequate levels of polyphenols.
Healthy fats Vegetable oils. Use in cooking or drizzle over salads and vegetables.
Omega-3 fatty acids Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Avoid deep frying; omega-3 fatty acids will be lost if you do this.


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