So what exactly are anti-inflammatory foods?
They are foods that have been well studied to reduce inflammation in the body. Good oral health and how we take care of our mouths will help reduce inflammation, but what we put in our mouths is equally important. Boosting your immune system with foods will improve your overall wellness and help you feel good long term. It has been proven people who cook for themselves are healthier usually because they are starting out with higher quality ingredients. I get it eating out is convent fast and easy. I have been guilty of eating out a lot and paying for it later in how I feel. If you are going to eat out it is better to find a restaurant that has good quality ingredients and skip the fast-food options.
Water is essential for life and for our bodies to function properly. If you drink water in the morning it will increase your mental clarity, level of alertness and will jump-start your metabolism. So before you grab coffee or tea in the morning, start a large glass of room temperature water first, then make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day with water.
Let’s talk berries, whether they’re blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries, acai berries, goji berries all berries purple and reddish color, are great sources of antioxidants. While all fruits are generally high in antioxidants berries are the superstars because they have so many different chemical compounds that are great at fighting inflammation cancer and cardiovascular disease. Now here’s the cool part, not only do berries reduce existing inflammation, but they help our body to respond better to episodes of future inflammation as well. And that’s why eating them regularly is always a smart idea. A few of my favorite combinations with berries include blueberry smoothie, berry spinach salad, strawberry banana smoothie. I like smoothies in the morning.
Leafy Green Vegetables
I’m sure you know that leafy greens are good for you, like spinach, kale, swiss chard dandelion greens, and other greens are not only full of antioxidants but they’re alkalizing to the body, they’re packed with nutrients including full weight, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K and a variety of minerals. My daughter refers to leafy greens is rabbit food and my green my smoothies as grass smoothies. Leafy greens nourish our bodies on a cellular level, they are microbiome in tip-top shape, and they reduce overall body inflammation.
Bok choy and Brussel sprouts are jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and phytochemicals broccoli is rich in vitamin K vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, but it’s the sulforaphane that makes broccoli extra special.
Sulforaphane is one of the most studied compounds in broccoli and studies show that it has protective effects against cancer, and can detoxify harmful chemicals in the environment that would otherwise trigger inflammation in our body. Some of my favorite broccoli and cruciferous veggie recipes include broccoli salad, my steamed broccoli. Whole 30’s Chicken broccoli casserole.
These are essential because your body can’t make them. You have to get them from your diet.
Omegas are one of the most well-studied nutrients and studies show the massive anti-inflammatory effects that they have on the body. If you have an autoimmune condition, omega threes are even more important, because studies have proven them very beneficial for a wide range of autoimmune conditions, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis type one diabetes, psoriasis ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, and so many others.
Omega 3’s are also critical for brain health and interestingly enough, those who consume fatty fish regularly are less likely to be depressed or anxious. Salmon, sardines, mackerel are also great options for Omega 3’s.
Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts contain omega-3s, almonds and macadamias contain oleic acid, and nearly all nuts contain antioxidants key ingredients in helping the body fight inflammation.
Many nuts and their oils are also considered healthy fats.
Brazil nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They’re particularly high in selenium, a mineral with potent antioxidant properties. Eating Brazil nuts may reduce inflammation, support brain function, and improve your thyroid function and heart health. You only need one a day to get your daily dose of goodness from them.
Chia seeds are known as a superfood today. In ancient times, they were a dietary staple most known for providing energy, and in the ancient Mayan language, the word chia actually translated to the word strength. In addition to all of the vitamins and nutrients and chia seeds, they also pack a hefty dose of fiber. In fact, they’re one of the world’s best sources of fiber, and all of that fiber is great for helping to balance blood sugar and of course, good gut health chia seeds, along with flax seeds are loaded with antioxidants and omega threes and the antioxidants fight free radicals and the omega threes, reduce inflammation, just as I mentioned with the salmon. Some of my favorite chia seed recipes include chia seed pudding chia seed jam, I have also been known to throw Chia seeds in my smoothies.
When most think of avocados they think of healthy fats, and that’s good because avocados are full of monounsaturated fat which are the good fat that helps to reduce cholesterol and reduce inflammation of the joints, healthy fats from avocado are needed for energy, blood clotting, brain development, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins and limiting inflammation. The various nutrients in avocados have also proven beneficial in preventing <span style=”font-weight: 400;”>neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,
Three of my favorites are tuna stuffed avocados, adding avocado to egg salad, and avocado to my morning smoothie.
Garlic and onions: Besides being delicious, garlic and onions contain anti-inflammatory chemicals like the antioxidant quercetin, which naturally inhibits histamine.
Garlic has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties and numerous studies show that it has both cancer preventative and immune-boosting effects of course garlic adds enormous flavor to any recipe. It’s wide-ranging health benefits is where garlic truly shines. Garlic contains anti-inflammatory chemicals that naturally inhibit histamine and sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease. If you have arthritis garlic maybe your best friend as well because garlic has proven to reduce the damage associated with arthritis.
It’s hard to pick garlic recipes. Some of my favorites mashed cauliflower with garlic and herbs, my garlic sauteed swiss chard, my sweet potato fries with garlic aioli. Although it is good for you I can not eat a lot of garlic I start to feel bad.
Ginger and turmeric
These two species are often found in Indian food and have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains curcumin, a particularly potent anti-inflammatory compound.
Ginger just like garlic has been used for centuries around the world for its healing properties. It’s well known to help reduce motion sickness, reduce pain and reduce nausea, Ginger contains substances known as ginger owls, that reduce inflammation and turn off the pain-causing compounds in the body.
Ginger supports digestion and helps with motility, which just means that it moves things more quickly through our intestines, and in fact, it’s been shown that ginger can move things through twice as fast which is key.
If you struggle with constipation, because of these digestive benefits, Ginger has been proven to help reduce colorectal cancer and boost the immune system. Now, remember that about 75 to 80% of our immune system comes from our guts. So anything that helps the gut, like ginger, obviously is going to help our immune system as well.
Dark chocolate and cocoa
Dark Chocolate is delicious, rich, and satisfying. It’s also packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. These may reduce your risk of disease and lead to healthier aging Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy. In one study, smokers experienced significant improvements in blood vessel functions within 2 hours of eating high-flavanol chocolate. However, make sure to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa — a greater percentage is even better — to reap these anti-inflammatory benefits.
White, green, and oolong tea in particular contain phytonutrients and flavonoids which help reduce inflammation. Green tea beside water these teas are among the healthiest beverages you can drink. Green tea reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and other conditions.
Foods that cause inflammation
Here are some examples of foods that have been linked to increased levels of inflammation:
- Junk foods: fast food, convenience meals, potato chips, pretzels
- Refined carbohydrates: white bread, pasta, white rice, crackers, flour tortillas, biscuits
- Fried foods: french fries, donuts, fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, egg rolls
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, sweet tea, energy drinks, sports drinks
- Processed meats: bacon, beef jerky, canned meat, salami, hot dogs, smoked meat
- Trans fats: shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine
Now there are many more anti-inflammatory foods than the ones I mentioned here. These just happened to be the ones that I eat most frequently. You can find recipes that tend to mix and match all of these ingredients.. It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits and to improve your overall wellness.
What are some of your favorite anti-inflammatory foods or recipes? Leave in the comment below.