Key Foods to Reduce Inflammation

If you’re feeling stressed, busy and overwhelmed, this post is for you.

Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be pretty bad for our health; this is especially true when it’s chronic (lasting a long time).

Chronic psychological stress can produce levels of inflammation that promote disease because immune system cells are unable to respond to hormonal control.

Some say inflammation is the root cause of all disease.  In fact, inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, and it appears stress impacts them as well.

Today let’s focus on some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce inflammation.

So without further ado, here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:

 

Anti-inflammatory Food #1:  Berries, Grapes and Cherries

Why save the best for last?  Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favorite of yours.

Berries, grapes and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (such as vitamin C) and minerals (such as manganese).

Also, they’re phytochemicals (phyto=plant).  Yes, many antioxidants such as “anthocyanins” and “resveratrol” are found in these small and delicious fruits.

In fact, berries, grapes and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.

 

Anti-inflammatory Food #2:  Broccoli and Peppers

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant “sulforaphane.”  This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin.

Just make sure to choose red peppers over the other colors.  Peppers that are any other color are not fully ripe and won’t have the same anti-inflammatory effect.

 

Anti-inflammatory Food #3:  Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)

Fat can be terribly inflammatory (think “trans” fats), neutral (think saturated fats) or anti-inflammatory (think omega-3s).  This is why choosing the right fats is so important for your health.

The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including omega-3s.   These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (sardines and mackerel, for example) and wild fish (such as salmon).  Also don’t forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp and flax.

 

Anti-inflammatory Food #4:  Green Tea

Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate,” otherwise known as EGCG.

EGCG is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity and Alzheimer’s.

Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea?  It’s thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.

 

Anti-inflammatory Food #5:  Turmeric

Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric?

Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin.

This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as to have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.

 

Anti-inflammatory Food #6:  Dark Chocolate

Ok, ok.  This may be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes and cherries.

Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely “flavonols”).   These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy.  They’ve even been shown to prevent “neuro-inflammation” (inflammation of the brain and nerves).  Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.

Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars.”  You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!

Because inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, just to name a few, now may be a good time for you to consider adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet.

There are so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose.  They range from colorful berries, vegetables and spices to healthy fats and even cocoa.  You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of “anti-inflammation.”

So let me ask you, are you already eating any of the anti-inflammatory foods I’ve listed in this blog?  If not, will you be adding them to your meals in the near future?  Please comment below.  We always enjoy hearing from you.

Categories: Blog, Food, Healthy Eating, Inflammation, and Stress.

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