When we look at the diseases that plague our society — arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease. By addressing the inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods, not only can the symptoms of these diseases be alleviated, but we could even see them disappear. Let’s dive into the top foods that will combat inflammation.
What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
Inflammation as a bodily function is not necessarily a bad thing. When the body is injured or ill, the lymphatic (immune) system springs into action, bringing the immune system’s army of white blood cells to the area of concern via increased blood flow. With the increased attention to the area, there might also be swelling, redness, heat, and pain or discomfort. This inflammatory response in action, as a cut or scrape becomes hot and puffy around the wound while the extra blood runs. Inflammation, in a healthy body, is the normal and effective response that facilitates healing.
Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
The produce drawer is the first spot in your refrigerator or pantry to fill when fighting inflammation. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids. If you struggle to consume added portions of green leafy vegetables, try this delicious anti-inflammatory juice that incorporates greens alongside some of the strongest anti-inflammatory foods in the list.
For example, is extremely high in the antioxidants vitamin A and C, as well as vitamin K, which can protect your brain against oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. Eating chard can also protect you against the common vitamin K deficiency.
Benefits of celery include both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent heart disease. Celery seeds — which can be found either in whole seed form, extract form or ground-up — have impressive health benefits on their own, as they help to lower inflammation and to fight bacterial infections. It’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.
Also, balance is the key to a healthy body free of inflammation. A good example of mineral balance tied to inflammation is the proper mix of sodium foods and potassium-rich foods. Sodium brings in fluid and nutrients, while potassium flushes toxins. We know that processed foods are high in sodium, but our SAD diets aren’t as rich in potassium. Without this pairing, toxins can build up in the body, once again inviting inflammation. One of the benefits of celery is that it’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.
A marker of a food chock-full of antioxidants is its deep color, and beets are a prime example! They fight to repair the cell damage caused by inflammation. In the case of beets, the antioxidant betalain gives them their signature color and is an excellent anti-inflammatory. When added to the diet, beet benefits include repairing cells and adding high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium. Beets also contain quite a bit of magnesium, and a magnesium deficiency is strongly linked with inflammatory conditions. Calcium, while a vital nutrient, is not processed well within the body without magnesium. When calcium builds up in the body, it becomes unwanted — this unpleasant buildup, such as calcified kidney stones, then invites inflammation. But when a balanced diet is consumed, with anti-inflammatory foods rich in calcium as well as magnesium, the body better processes what’s consumed.
Vegetable for healthy eating, it’s no secret that broccoli is a valuable addition to any diet. For an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s invaluable. Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and its antioxidants are particularly potent anti-inflammatory substances in their own right. Broccoli is an antioxidant powerhouse, with key vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids, and thus a perfect anti-inflammatory food. These work together to lower oxidative stress in the body and help battle both chronic inflammation and the risk of developing cancer.
Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory component. Documented for its affects against inflammation in numerous circumstances, turmeric health benefits prove invaluable in an anti-inflammatory diet. It found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least potent, while curcumin is among the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world. Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is highly effective at helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis . A recent study out of Japan evaluated its relationship with interleukin the inflammatory cytokine known to be involved in the RA process, and discovered that curcumin “significantly reduced” these inflammatory markers.
One antioxidant in particular stands out as an especially strong anti-inflammatory, and that’s quercetin. Found in citrus, olive oil and dark-colored berries, quercetin is a flavonoid that fights inflammation and even cancer. The presence of quercetin as well as the fellow phytonutrient anthocyanins (so-called water-soluble vacuolar pigments that usually appear red, purple or blue) explains why there are so many health benefits of blueberries. (Both quercetin and anthocyanins are also naturally occurring in cherries.)
Pineapple also helps improve heart health because of the effects of powerful bromelain. which can fight blood clotting and is nature’s answer to those taking an aspirin a day to lower the risk of heart attack. Bromelain has been shown to stop blood platelets from sticking together or building up along the walls of blood vessels – both known causes of heart attacks or strokes. The benefits of pineapple are due to its high supply of vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium and manganese, in addition to other special antioxidants that help prevent disease formation. Pineapple is filled with phytonutrients that work as well as many medicines do to reduce symptoms of some of the most common illnesses and conditions we see today.
8. Chia seeds
Fatty acids found in nature are more balanced than the fats we typically consume in our typical diets. Chia seeds benefits offer both omega-3 and omega-6, which should be consumed in balance with one another. Chia are an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory powerhouse, containing essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including Sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine. Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health. Also oxidative stress, someone is less likely to develop atherosclerosis when they’re regularly consuming chia seeds.
An excellent source of omega-3s and phytonutrients, flaxseeds benefits include being packed with antioxidants. Lignin are unique fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health. Polyphenols support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body
Used fresh, dried, or in supplement form and extracts, ginger is another immune modulator that helps reduce inflammation caused by overactive immune responses. Ayurvedic medicine has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system. Ginger health benefits may even include treating inflammation in allergic and asthmatic disorders.
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
With anti-inflammatory foods filling the diet, naturally begin to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods and substances. The duo of saturated and trans fatty acids (trans fat). Found in processed foods, these fats cause inflammation and increase risk factors for obesity (such as increased belly fat), diabetes and heart conditions. The same foods are also likely to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary but only to an extent. In excess and without the balance of omega-3s, omega-6 fats actually create inflammation in the body.
Refined sugars and carbohydrates are more inflammation-causing culprits. Limiting refined grains is an important factor in an anti-inflammatory diet. Whole grains should replace the refined carbohydrates, as truly whole grains are important sources of nutrition. Sourcing these grains as fermented sourdough allows the nutrients to be broken down and better available to the body.
Finally, establishing a regular routine of physical activity can help prevent systemic inflammation from building up or returning. An active life fueled by fresh, whole anti-inflammatory foods and unrestricted by processed, toxic compounds can set you on the path toward freedom from inflammation.