Inflammation is a way that the body heals itself. Therefore, acute inflammation is good for our bodies. However, chronic inflammation due to poor diet, over exercising, or chronic emotional stress is not good for our bodies. Research shows a strong correlation between chronic inflammation & disease. Diabetes, periodontal disease, kidney disease and cancer are all linked to inflammation. As a means of prevention, you should be aiming to regularly incorporate foods into your diet that reduce the inflammation in your body. Below is a list of 10 foods that will help put the "fire" out.
1. Wild Alaskan Salmon
Omega 6 & 3 fatty-acids are very important for good health, but what's more important is the ratio of Omega 6: Omega 3. The S.A.D tends to be too high in omega 6 fatty acids due to oils like safflower, sunflower, soybean and canola as well as an increase in the cereal grains used as feed for domestic livestock. Wild Alaskan salmon, high in Omega 3's should be incorporated into your diet twice a week. If you do not like, or do not eat fish, look for a good quality fish oil supplement.
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. It has many health benefits including the reduction in cardiovascular disease, protection again Alzheimer's disease, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, bone health & digestive health. Make sure you are buying good quality olive oil. Check out this list of which olive oil to buy and which to avoid.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cauliflower & broccoli are just a couple of powerhouses in this group of vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables actually contain high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids which help decrease inflammation in the body. They are loaded with antioxidants and are a source of natural detoxification for the body. There are so many great ways to prepare these veggies: stream, roast or just eat them raw!
Most vegetables contain flavonoids but spinach is particularly nutrient dense when it comes to these anti-inflammatory compounds. Researchers have found more than 12 of these special flavonoid compounds that are not only anti-inflammatory but anti-cancer as well.
They may be small but with at least groups of phytonutrients, blueberries pack a real punch. The anthocyanins, which are responsible for the blue, purple and red pigments typically get the spotlight when it comes to blueberries, but other phytonutrients such as hydroxycinnamic acids, hydroxybenzoic acids and flavonols also contribute the to anti-inflammatory properties. Along with their anti-inflammatory properties, they can protect the brain against aging and help prevent cancer.
Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, was once thought to only aid in digestion. However, research is now showing that bromelain may have potential anti-inflammatory benefits. The tough fibrous core is where the greatest concentration of bromelain is found so don’t waste, add it to your morning smoothie!
Walnuts contain a special set of anti-inflammatory compounds: Omega-3 fatty acids, tannins, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients. Don’t fear their high calorie/fat count; their health benefits make them worth eating!
Curcumin, a polyphenol in Turmeric, has incredible anti-inflammatory properties. Research is showing promise for the use of curcumin in digestive health issues such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s.
Ginger is a very powerful herb. It used to be that ginger would only be used for gastrointestinal distress, but research has shown that ginger is also very effective at decreasing inflammation, due to the powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, gingerols.
The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic help to reduce inflammation particularly in our cardiovascular system but research is showing promise for benefits for the musculoskeletal and respiratory systems as well.
Barbara Doan is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Certified Workplace Wellness Ambassador & Stressmastery Associate & Culinary Nutrition Expert. Barbara’s mission is to empower people to be the healthiest versions of themselves and to get people back in the kitchen, one family at a time. Barbara would love for you to connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.