When we look at the diseases that plague our society — arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — we see that long-term lifestyle changes are needed. What might not be as obvious, is the common denominator tied to all of them and more inflammation is at root of most diseases. By addressing inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods, not only can the symptoms of these diseases be alleviated, but we could even see them cured. Inflammation as a bodily function is not necessarily a bad thing.
GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti inflammatory flavonoids.
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.
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. It’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.
A marker of a food chock-full of antioxidants is its deep colour, and beets are a prime example! In the case of beets, the antioxidant betalain gives them their signature colour and is an excellent anti-inflammatory. When added to the diet, beet benefits include repairing cells and adding high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.
It’s no secret that broccoli is a valuable addition to any diet, and for an anti-inflammatory one, it’s invaluable. Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and its antioxidants are particularly potent anti-inflammatory substances in their own right. 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.
The Quercetin found in blueberries particularly stands out in the antioxidant bunch as an especially strong anti-inflammatory. 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.
Pineapple helps improve heart health because of the effects of powerful bromelain, which can fight blood clotting. Bromelain has been shown to stop blood platelets from sticking together or building up along the walls of blood vessels – both known causes of heart attacks or strokes. 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. Phytonutrients can help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. Bonus: some phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in any other foods.
So much can be written about the way herbs and oils work together to form anti-inflammatory partnerships. Lipids (fats) and spices create strong anti-inflammatory compounds, especially coconut oil and the components of turmeric. In a study in India, the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil reduced inflammation and healed arthritis more effectively than leading medications.
Bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.
Chia are an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory powerhouse, containing essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine. Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health.
An excellent source of omega-3s and phytonutrients, and are packed with antioxidants. Lignans are unique fibre-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. Before you use them alongside your other new antiinflammatory foods, consider grinding them in a coffee grinder to ensure the digestive tract has easy access to their many benefits.
Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active antiinflammatory component. Documented for its affects against inflammation in numerous circumstances, prove invaluable in an anti-inflammatory diet. Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is highly effective at helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Used fresh, dried, or in supplement form and extracts, ginger is another immune modulator that helps reduce inflammation caused by overactive immune responses. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system.