Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can lead to a range of health problems. On the whole, we are over-fed and under-nourished… which leads to inflammation! Fortunately, there are many foods that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Here are seven anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet.
Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds help to reduce inflammation in the body and protect against chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. Berries are also low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great addition to any diet. Try adding them to your morning smoothie or enjoying them as a snack throughout the day.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. These fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the body and protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and even depression. Aim to eat fatty fish at least twice a week to reap the benefits of these anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and it has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been found to reduce inflammation in the body and may even be as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs. Try adding turmeric to your meals or taking a turmeric supplement to help fight inflammation in your body.
Ginger is another spice with potent anti-inflammatory properties. It contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Ginger can be added to meals, brewed into tea, or taken in supplement form. It's a great addition to any anti-inflammatory diet. Fresh ginger can be enjoyed as tea in hot water, added to smoothies, or cooked in dishes such as stir-fry.
Olive oil contains antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory. In fact, one antioxidant called oleocanthal is as effective as ibuprofen! In addition to its potential anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil has been linked to a variety of other health benefits. Studies have suggested that consuming olive oil may help lower the risk of heart disease, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and improve brain function. It also has antibacterial properties that are especially effective at addressing H. pylori - the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers. Beware of olive oil fraud and look for oil in a darkened glass bottle and third party tested seal.
Good news for all you chocolate lovers out there: the flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known benefits for brain and cardiovascular health. Polyphenols in dark cocoa help keep blood vessels dilated and improve blood flow which reduces blood pressure. It is also an excellent source of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, chromium and copper. Choose +80% chocolate to keep sugar low or opt for no-sugar added cacao powder.
Eating ONE of these foods alone will not be the miracle to your health but there are benefits to include them in ways that make them easy to eat and in ways that you enjoy. To get the most benefit, consume a variety of these foods and more.