Doctors are becoming more and more vocal about using food to fight inflammation. Instead of reaching for medication, professionals are pushing the idea of focusing on what you are consuming to fight back against the uncomfortable and unhealthy process of inflammation. Using food instead of medication for a range of ailments is growing rapidly in popularity.
It is a thought process that has been used since the dawn of time and is the most natural way of dealing with many health problems, both mentally and physically. The body is very tolerant but also very sensitive. It is important to remember that it will react in some way to almost everything that you eat and drink. What goes in your mouth is so important when it comes to controlling inflammation.
Inflammation occurs when a foreign microbe, plant pollen, or chemical enters the body. The immune system is activated, and inflammation works to protect the body from said foreign intruder. Sometimes though, this inflammation becomes persistent. This is when it turns into a problem.
Many chronic diseases and illness’ have been linked to persistent inflammation. Some of these include cancer, depression, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. This is why it is so important to do all that you can to prevent recurrent inflammation. Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr Frank Hu says that “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects”. It is a great idea to choose foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Foods that trigger inflammation include sugar, refined carbohydrates, red meat, processed meat and fried foods. It is best to avoid all of these foods at all costs if you are experiencing inflammation. As we know, these foods are bad for our health. They also contribute to weight gain, with weight gain being a big player in causing inflammation. Add to this mix stress, lack of sleep and lack of exercise and you will begin to feel very unwell and unhealthy.
Choosing anti-inflammatory foods is paramount to overall health and not just for the sake of avoiding inflammation. These foods are also great for your health in so many other ways. Ten of the best foods to fight inflammation include:
Berries are full to the brim of powerful vitamins and minerals. The best to pick are blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, all of which are easily accessible most times of the year. Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your risk of disease.
Broccoli and Cruciferous Vegetables:
Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables including, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale are very nutritious. Cruciferous vegetables have been linked with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, which has been said to be related to the anti-inflammatory properties that they contain. Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which induce inflammation.
Fatty fish is a great source of quality protein and should be consumed at least twice a week. It includes salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring and mackerel. These fish all contain a long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA work to reduce the inflammation that can cause kidney and heart disease. Studies have proven that people consuming salmon or EPA and DHA supplements had decreases in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein.
Avocados are one of the healthiest foods going. They contain high levels of potassium, magnesium, fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, while also containing a compound that reduces inflammation in young skin cells. Adding avocado to your daily diet is one sure way of reducing inflammation while also reducing your risk of other diseases and cancer.
Mushrooms are so versatile and can be consumed in so many different styles and dishes. They are high in selenium, copper and all of the B vitamins while also protecting against inflammation through phenols and other antioxidants. Get your hands on portobello, shitake and truffles to keep your health up and your level of inflammation low.
Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory due to its level of curcumin. It is effective at reducing the inflammation related to arthritis, diabetes and other diseases. Incorporate it into your diet by adding it to curries, stir-fry’s or by turning it into a turmeric tea blend.
Dark Chocolate and Cocoa:
This is a fun one to have on your anti-inflammatory list. Dark chocolate is a delicious and decadent treat that also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is the flavanols in dark chocolate that give it its anti-inflammatory effects and keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy. The dark chocolate must be at least 70% cocoa though, for it to be healthy instead of a hindrance.
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium and lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant with very high anti-inflammatory properties and works to deter inflammation that is associated with many types of cancer. Cooking tomatoes in olive oil is an even better addition in deterring inflammation as it helps the body to absorb the lycopene in the tomatoes.
Green tea is very high in anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has the ability to reduce your risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and cancer, just to name a few. Green tea contains a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), this substance reduces damage to the fatty acids in your cells while also reducing cytokine production.
Grapes are such a delicious little fruit. They are great for combating inflammation as they contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanins drastically reduce inflammation. Grapes have also been proven to decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, eye disorders and even Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are experiencing constant inflammation, changing your diet could be the answer to combatting this occurrence. Being aware of what you are eating and the effect it has on you is a great way to keep your health in check. Many healthy foods have been proven to prevent and combat inflammation, so add them to your shopping list.