Anti-Inflammatory Foods Can Transform Your Health
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. You’ve probably seen this immune 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.
When the immune system overreaches and begins attacking healthy body tissues, we’re met with an autoimmune disorder like leaky gut and inflammation in otherwise healthy areas of the body. This is also the case for arthritis and fibromyalgia symptoms, as well as celiac and irritable bowel disease (IBD). For diseases that aren’t autoimmune, inflammation can still play a part as the body continuously tries to heal the tissues in a given area. Asthma creates inflamed airways; inflammation related to diabetes affects insulin resistance; and so on.
Top 15 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.
2. Bok Choy
Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. In fact, recent studies show that there are over 70 antioxidant phenolic substances in bok choy. These include something called hydroxycinnamic acids, which are robust antioxidants that scavenge free radicals.
In recent pharmacological studies, 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.
Beets 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.
Broccoli is an antioxidant powerhouse, with key vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids. These work together to lower oxidative stress in the body and help battle both chronic inflammation and the risk of developing cancer.
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 (a beneficial substance or phytonutrient that’s prevalent in fresh foods) that fights inflammation and even cancer. The presence of quercetin is one of the health benefits of blueberries.
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.
Salmon is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, and considered one of the best omega-3 foods. Omega-3s are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances, showing consistent relief of inflammation and reduction of the need for anti-inflammatory medications.
When following a diet without a lot of meats, nuts and seeds can make up the difference for protein and omega-3s. Add omega-3-rich walnuts to green leafy salads drizzled with olive oil for a satisfying anti-inflammatory meal, or grab a handful for an on-the-go snack.
Phytonutrients can help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. And some phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in any other foods.
11. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”
Its benefits include weight loss, better brain function, skin health and many more.
12. Chia seeds
Fatty acids found in nature are more balanced than the fats we typically consume in our typical diets. Chia seeds benefits, for example, offer both omega-3 and omega-6, which should be consumed in balance with one another.
An excellent source of omega-3s and phytonutrients, flaxseeds benefits include being packed with antioxidants. Lignans 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.
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.
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.