Anti-Inflammatory Diet-Part 2: Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Food is medicine.
This may sound strange coming from a traditionally trained RN like myself, but I would prefer to avoid medication whenever possible. Having seen some debilitating diseases in my career, the medications used to treat them, and their side effects, I would personally prefer to do whatever I can to holistically treat any problems rather than start adding a barrage of chemicals to my system. This is a personal choice, and there may be some times where medications are necessary, but always consult with your doctor before discontinuing medications on your own.
The typical American diet that is full of processed food that causes an inflammatory response in the body. Fast food, fried foods, antibiotic/hormone laden products, artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, and other food additives will wreak havoc on your system. If you’re constantly consuming these products, your body shifts into a state of chronic inflammation. Any daily diet soft drink consumers out there? That’s daily consumption of artificial sweeteners and inflammatory additives.
This type of diet contributes to increased belly fat, weight gain, joint pain, bloating, fatigue and is link to all kinds of detrimental conditions like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Inflammation is at the root of most diseases.
Foods that Fight Inflammation
Here’s a list of some foods that are helpful in the fight against inflammation:
- Blueberries-loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, and reservatrol, which are all thought to promote anti-inflammatory responses by decreasing free radicals in the body.
- Wild Salmon-this fatty fish is loaded with omega-3’s which are widely known for decreasing inflammation.
- Tumeric-Bright orange-yellow in color, it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can shut off inflammation in the body by inhibiting the production of inflammatory causing enzymes. It helps to prevent cognitive decline, liver damage, protect against heart disease, and relieve joint pain.
- Broccoli-this crucifer has loads of vitamin K (along with other leafy green veggies) that helps regulate inflammation.
- Beets-A review in the journal Nutrients has associated eating beets with lower levels of inflammatory markers—including CRP as well as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor, which are released by harmful belly fat—as well as a decrease in risk of plaque buildup, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. It also helps rev up your metabolism!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil-fights inflammation, reduces join cartilage damage and works similarly to ibuprofen in the way that it inhibit certain inflammatory enzymes.
- Tomatoes-loaded with lycopene, tomatoes help reduce depression-causing inflammation. Toss them with olive oil to help the lycopene absorb better.
- Chia Seeds-these little seeds are an inflammation-fighting superfood! They are packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which enables them to help stabilize blood sugar, suppress appetite and boost weight loss. Check out this delicious Chia Seed Pudding recipe!
- Pineapple-it contains the digestive enzyme, bromelain, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agen.
- Whole Grains-brown rice, quinoa, amaranth are filled with lots of fiber that help produce a fatty acid that fights inflammation and improves insulin resistance.
- Green Leafy Veggies-spinach and other green leafy veggies like chard are loaded with vitamin K and antioxidants that protect against inflammation.
- Walnuts-the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits in walnuts can help protect you from heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
- Coconut oil-the fats in coconut oil are excellent anti-inflammatory compounds and one study in India showed that virgin coconut oil helped with arthritis more than leading medications.
- Ginger-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.In fact, ginger health benefits may even include treating inflammation in allergic and asthmatic disorders.
- Raw Honey-because is made by the powerful enzymes in bees’ saliva, honey can help reduce the immune and inflammatory response in the body. Local raw honey will help fight allergies due to the local pollen. It’s also known to help with symptoms of IBS.
- Miso-because miso is fermented, so it’s rich in probiotic compounds that fight inflammation. If you’re worried about fermented soy, here’s an article that spells out the differences between soy in foods and fermented soy.