Inflammation is one of those health terms that seems to be getting a lot of press lately and can be both good and bad for us. Inflammation is the process by which the body defends itself against infections, injuries or bacteria to heal itself. When our cells are damaged, the immune system responds by increasing the blood flow to a specific area, releaseing antibodies and proteins. In the event of an injury, the inflammation is acute, and the process subsides after a short time. The challenge is when we have chronic inflammation in our bodies and the immune system response continues for long periods of time or indefinitely. This leaves our body in a constant state of alert and damages tissue and organs. It’s been linked to many issues from allergies, joint pain or stiffness, skin issues like acne, autoimmune disease, diabetes and arthritis.
Our overall lifestyle has an impact on the amount of inflammation in our bodies. One way to control it is by watching what we eat and incorporating foods into our diets that have anti-inflammatory properties. Food is not the only way to help reduce inflammation in our bodies and you should work with your healthcare professional to discuss your specific case.
If you want to give your body a boost and increase its fight against toxins, try incorporating these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet.
Berries such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are a great source of antioxidants called flavonoids, which help reduce free-radical damage to our cells. They are also high in fiber and vitamin C. I love adding berries to oatmeal for natural sweetness or eating them for dessert to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids which boost our brain and heart health. These fish are also high in B vitamins which help our bodies to fight infection and repair cells.
Broccoli and its cruciferous siblings (cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage) are great foods to incorporate into our diet to lower oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body. Not only do they provide potassium and magnesium, they are also a great source of a sulphur-rich compound called sulforaphane, which is an antioxidant that fights inflammation.
Leafy greens such as arugula, kale and spinach are high in antioxidants and flavonoids that work to repair our cells. These foods are also a great source of vitamins A, C, K and potassium. A good rule to follow is the darker the leaf, the better they are for you. I try to eat a salad every day to incorporate leafy greens into my diet.
Mushrooms are typically known to contain anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Some of the most common mushrooms are Shitake, Cremini and Portobello; which are high in B vitamins, copper and selenium. If you don’t like the taste of mushrooms, try this Magic Mushroom latte powder from Your Super.
Check out our previous post on The Immune Boosting Power of Mushrooms for more information on this common; yet powerful food.
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which as noted above to promote brain and heart health. Nuts are a great anti-inflammatory snack. They are high in fat and calories, so watch how many you consume. A little goes a long way.
Spices such as ginger, garlic, turmeric and cinnamon all have antioxidant properties that are beneficial to the body. Try adding these to your cooking to change the flavor and to reap big health benefits. If you’re looking to add Turmeric to your diet, try this golden latte blend from Your Super.
Not only is it important to fuel our bodies with nutritious whole foods that contain antioxidants, we should limit foods that increase inflammation such as processed foods, refined carbohydrates and red meat. Take control of how you fuel your body and look at using food as medicine. Remember – “We are what we eat”.
“Food isn’t like medicine, it is medicine, and it’s our number one tool for creating the vibrant health we deserve.”Dr. Mark Hyman M.D.
Dr. Josh Axe, “Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods and How to Follow This Diet”, https://draxe.com/nutrition/anti-inflammatory-foods/
Franziska Spritzler, “The 13 Most Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Can Eat”, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-anti-inflammatory-foods
“Foods that fight inflammation”, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation