Inflammation in the body plays a vital role during injury, in presence of infection, and with digestion. Some people deal with chronic inflammation that causes a lot of discomfort and leads to weight gain and disease. It is not always clear why some deal with more inflammation than others, but it is believed to have a role in metabolic disturbances, including insulin resistance. The good news is diet can play a major role in fighting inflammation, most especially these 10 super foods.
These super fruits contain antioxidants that fight inflammation and can help reduce the risk of heart disease. The best berries are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. When consumed daily, the body can produce more natural killer cells that help to decrease the effects of oxidative stress.
2. Fatty Fish
Fish contain EPA and DHA that are known to reduce inflammation that contributes to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, kidney and heart disease. Some examples of fatty fish are salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and herring. A study found that it only takes a small serving (80g) of salmon 5 days per week to yield these benefits. If eating that much fish isn’t your thing, we recommend supplementing with a high-grade omega 3 oil using smaller fish like anchovies and herring. There are vegan alternatives like flax seed available on the market too.
While cherries are normally touted for their sleep-enhancing benefits, they also have anthocyanins, and catechins, which are antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Participants in a study ate 280 grams of cherries daily for a month and inflammation markers decreased and then stayed low for 28 days after they stopped eating them. The good news is that tart and sweet cherries can provide this inflammation fighting result.
4. Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has gotten a lot of attention in the last two decades and is considered one of the healthiest fats in a diet. In one study, 50 ml of olive oil consumed each day led to a significant decrease in inflammation in participants. Some even compare olive oil’s inflammatory fighting properties to ibuprofen. Adding this into a diet is simple as you can use it as a salad dressing.
With high levels of lycopene, vitamin C, and potassium, tomatoes are full of antioxidants that help combat inflammation. A study published in 2002 showed that heating tomatoes for 30 minutes at 88 degrees C (about soup simmering temperature) boosted absorbable lycopene levels by 35 percent. It is also better absorbed when paired with fat, so cooking tomatoes in olive oil can give you an anti-inflammatory powerhouse meal.
Consuming healthy nuts and seeds will increase levels of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid. Many foods with fatty acids contain omega-6, not omega-3 (which are found in plant-based foods like walnuts). When the balance is off, inflammation increases throughout the body and this can have an effect on your cardiovascular health too. Having a good omega-6/omega-3 ratio may help to reduce the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Especially when we compare the effects of today’s “Western Diet” ratio of 20:1 to our ancestral ratio of 1:1, we should be striving for an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 5:1 or less.
This spice is famous for its flavour, but also as being one of the most powerful, natural anti-inflammatory agents. Curcumin is the active agent in turmeric that gives it its anti-inflammatory effects. If you’re looking for clinical results from this, you’ll need to do a lot more than add it to your food in the spice form due to the bioavailability of curcumin in that form. You can find a couple of suggestions for taking it therapeutically here.
Broccoli is widely regarded as a food that has great antioxidant properties and high nutritional value due to its vitamin and mineral content but that’s not all. Broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables contain a phytochemical called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane exposure has been shown to have a protective effect against neuronal cell death and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines which adds another gold star for broccoli again.
Mushrooms contain very low calories and are rich in B vitamins, selenium, and copper. They also contain phenols which have brilliant anti-inflammatory effects. Some mushrooms can be used medicinally, but if you’re using regular truffles, portobellos or shiitakes, just be mindful not to overcook them on a high temperature as they can lose some of their anti-inflammatory compounds.
Although widely used for a myriad of other health issues for centuries, ginger is another food that is widely regarded to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Multiple studies support its efficacy for modulating inflammation. A big benefit is that adding ginger to your diet is very easy. You can use ginger root in your cooking or have ginger juice or tea as well as opting for a powdered form or capsule if you prefer.
If you haven’t already, consider adding one of these ten superfoods to your diet. Proper nutrition makes a huge difference in your overall health and wellness. It’s important to take responsibility and to try to reduce the production of inflammation in the areas that you have control over, like your diet.
If you need help or have questions, contact us today. We are happy to help advise on changes to make sure you are making healthy decisions when it comes to your diet.