We continue to see an increase in inflammatory illnesses, including inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or arthritis, through the world. Is this a result of our aging population? Often the first line of defense for managing these chronic issues is a range of lifestyle changes to mitigate the common denominator: inflammation. Addressing the source of the inflammation and incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet could well mitigate the uncomfortable moments that effect daily life.
What is Inflammation?
The body’s inflammatory response is a natural and normal systemic response which brings the immune system’s white blood cells to an injured or ill body part to encourage healing through increased blood flow. When the body is injured, you may notice heat and swelling around the wound as the lymphatic system brings more blood flow to the area.
But sometimes, the body’s immune system overreacts by attacking healthy tissues. That leads to inflammation in healthy parts of the body which could cause a variety of issues seen with auto immune conditions such as:
- irritable bowel disease (IBD)
- leaky gut
Inflammation can also play a role in non-autoimmune conditions, because the body will work hard to try heal affected areas. An anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce inflammation in the airways, as well as the inflammation that is present in chronic conditions which can affect insulin resistance as a result.
Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods
The first key to an anti-inflammatory diet starts with avoiding unbalanced and overly processed foods. Fresh produce and herbs contain many anti-inflammatory components, while essential fatty acids and minerals have also been shown to attack inflammation that can lead to inflammatory diseases.
It’s a great idea to apply dietary changes gradually. Smaller changes are easier on your body and therefore more sustainable. It will restore your body’s cells and kick off the natural healing process. Healing foods will become more satisfying when you start noticing the rejuvenation and you will not feel deprived.
These are the best anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet:
- Ginger – Use it dried, fresh or in supplement to boost your immune system and cleanse your lymphatic system.
- Turmeric – It’s primary compound, curcumin, is a powerful anti-proliferative agent and anti-inflammatory that has been shown to significantly reduce inflammatory markers.
- Flax seeds – Antioxidant rich flax seeds help balance hormones, promote anti-aging and support the growth of probiotics in the gut to help eliminate candida and yeast.
- Chia seeds – Rich in omega-3 and -6, chia seeds offer a potent mix of essential fatty acids, linoleic acid, strontium, A, B, E and D vitamins and thiamine, niacin, manganese, magnesium, iodine, iron and sulfur to lower blood pressure, regulate cholesterol and reverse oxidative stress.
- Coconut oil – Lipids and herbs work in harmony to fight inflammation. Coconut oil and turmeric form an especially powerful partnership, based on an Indian study that found that virgin coconut oil’s antioxidants have been more effective at healing arthritis than leading medications.
- Walnuts – High in protein, walnuts are packed with protein as well as omega-3 EFAs. It’s not only delicious as a snack or in salads, but it can help protect your body against diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
- Bone broth – Rich in collagen as well as amino acids glycine and proline, bone broth is nutrient packed. If you suffer from joint pain, arthritis, inflammation, leaky gut or any other inflammatory issue, consume plenty bone broth to get your daily dose of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfates, and essential minerals sulfur, silicon, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium.
- Salmon – The omega-3s in the most nutritious fatty fish, salmon, provide potent anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Pineapple – Rich in quercetin, pineapple helps fight blood clotting. Quercetin supplements are typically combined with bromelain, which is contained in pineapple, to help regulate the body’s immune response. Additionally, pineapple is rich in vitamin B1, vitamin C manganese and potassium.
- Blueberries – Another great source of quercetin, blueberries can help fight inflammation, slow cognitive decline, improve motor function and memory.
- Broccoli – This antioxidant powerhouse vegetable is loaded with carotenoids, flavonoids and key vitamins to help lower oxidative stress that can lead to chronic inflammation and cancer.
- Beets – Packed with antioxidants, magnesium, and calcium, beets are key to a balanced diet full of anti-inflammatory properties.
- Celery – Not only is it a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant food, but celery also shows promise in terms of preventing heart disease and improving cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It is rich in potassium and sodium, a range of vitamins and antioxidants.
- Bok Choy – Chinese cabbage contains more than 70 antioxidant phenolic substances, including free radical scavenging hydroxycinnamic acids.
- Leafy Greens – Antioxidants in leafy green vegetables help restore cellular health. Used in smoothies, juices or salads, it can help prevent vitamin K deficiency.