What exactly are anti-inflammatory foods?
They’re just ones that have been well-studied to reduce inflammation in the body. They are the items that nutritionists and doctors all agree we need to get more of because not only do they reduce inflammation, but they have a whole heck of a lot of other health benefits.
All right, let’s dive in.
Whether they’re blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries all contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins and it’s the anthocyanins that give berries their vibrant, blue, purple, and reddish color.
While all fruits are generally high in antioxidants, berries really are 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 to train us to respond better to episodes of future inflammation. That’s why eating them regularly is always a smart idea.
Other anti-inflammatory foods: Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, and other greens are not only full of antioxidants but their alkalizing to the body. They’re packed with nutrients including folate, fiber, vitamins, A, C, E, and K, and a variety of minerals. While some jokingly refer to leafy greens as rabbit food… There’s a reason why all animals in the animal kingdom prioritize leafy greens and that’s they nourish our bodies on a cellular level.
Leafy greens prevent cognitive decline, keep our microbiome in tip-top shape, and reduce overall body inflammation.
Another anti-inflammatory food?
Salmon and other fatty fish such as trout, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel are all high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, and these are essential because your body can’t make them.
You have to get them from your diet. If you have an autoimmune condition, omega-3s 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, all sorts of colitis, multiple sclerosis and so many others.
Omega-3s are also critical for brain health, and interestingly enough, those who consume fatty fish regularly are less likely to be depressed or anxious.
In short, omega-3s are one of the most well-studied nutrients, and studies time and again show the massive anti-inflammatory effects that they have on the body.
When most think of avocados, they think of healthy fats and that’s good because avocados are full of monounsaturated fat which is the good fat that helps reduce cholesterol and it reduces inflammation of the joints.
Healthy fats like those from avocado are needed for energy, blood clotting, brain development, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, and limiting inflammation.
As well, the various nutrients in avocados have also proven beneficial in preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. A fun fact about avocados is that they actually have more potassium than bananas.
Get this, For a three-and-a-half-ounce serving of bananas, you would get 10% of the recommended daily allowance of potassium and in the same serving size of an avocado, you would get 14%.
Love your Broccoli?
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, bok-choy, and Brussels 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 bodies.
What about Garlic?
Garlic has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties and numerous studies time and again show that it has both cancer prevention and immune-boosting effects. Of course, Garlic adds enormous flavor to any recipe, but it’s, it’s wide-ranging health benefits where garlic truly shines.
Garlic contains anti-inflammatory chemicals such as quercetin, which naturally inhibits histamine, and sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease.
If you have arthritis garlic may be your best friend as well because garlic has been proven to reduce the inflammation, pain, and cartilage damage associated with arthritis.
One of our favorites… Ginger!
So 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 gingerols that reduce inflammation and turn off the pain-causing compounds in the body.
In terms of digestion, 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 to boost the immune system. Now, remember that about 75 to 80% of our immune system comes from our gut so anything that helps the gut like the ginger, obviously, is going to help our immune system as well. A happy gut is one that has little inflammation and is well-balanced.
So you probably know of chia seeds as a superfood today. And, 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.
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