Inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to irritation, trauma or infection. Acute infection serves a purpose; it mobilizes your immune system to heal you. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it becomes unhealthy. Illnesses like IBS, colitis, asthma, eczema, allergies, Alzheimer, fibromyalgia, arthritis, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer have all been linked to chronic inflammation. Eating anti-inflammatory foods can help you prevent or alleviate these conditions.
Research suggests that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can increase your life expectancy and improve your general level of fitness.
Cold Water Fish
The omega-3 fatty acids found abundantly in cold water fish balance the effects of omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. Omega-6 fatty acids make your body produce eicosanoids that promote inflammation. The eicosanoids produced from omega-3 fatty acids counter their inflammatory effect. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring are good choices to help you fight inflammation. Wild salmon is best, since farmed salmon contains a substance that’s highly inflammatory.
Green tea provides you with a great amount of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols. If you drink 3 cups a day, you add about 300 mg of polyphenols to your daily diet. The health benefits of green tea are well known. Green tea drinkers have lower risk of a wide variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
A mustard-yellow spice from Asia, turmeric is also called curcumin and is the main ingredient in yellow curry. Scientific studies have shown that turmeric may help relieve arthritis bysuppressing inflammatory body chemicals
While fresh ginger has been used for centuries to treat everything from colds to upset stomach, the University of Georgia recently found it can also reduce muscle pain after exercise by 25 percent. “Gingerol is the potent phytonutrient in ginger that is believed to supply these pain-relieving properties,” Kooi says. “In fact, a study found that ginger might be just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen to treat postexercise soreness.” Ginger can also relieve pain in osteoarthritis patients. Kooi recommends adding minced ginger to vegetables or a stir-fry, or making a tea by placing sliced fresh ginger in a tea ball and immersing it in hot water for 10 minutes, then adding honey for sweetness as needed.
Vegetables in general are a great source of phytonutrients and antioxidants that help fight inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli not only provide you with a whole host of antioxidants, but they also provide sulfur which your body uses to produce antioxidants. Onions and garlic are rich in vitamin C and have great anti inflammatory properties.
Fruits are rich in flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamins, which provide both anti inflammatory and anti oxidant action. To take full advantage of all the beneficial substances found in fruits, you can add a wide variety to your diet. Particularly good choices are blueberries, strawberries, apples, tart cherries, citrus fruit and papaya.
Enjoyed by the Chinese and the Japanese since ancient times, shiitakemushroom is revered for its immune-boosting properties and its mild smoky taste.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil is Mediterranean’s secret to longevity. Its rich supply of polyphenols protects the heart and blood vessels from inflammation. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil are also turned into anti-inflammatory agents by the body that can lower occurrences of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Garlic’s power can lower cholesterol and reduce blood clots, which lowers high blood pressure naturally. And raw garlic is a potent antibiotic, especially against fungal infections. Cook with 1-2 cloves of garlic whenever you can.
If you are looking for healthier choices, it’s also equally important to minimize consumption of foods which are known to promote inflammation. Here are some foods which set the stage for inflammatory diseases:
Dairy Products, Refined Sugars, Alcohol, Artificial Food Additives (MSG, Aspartame), Red Meat