Did you know that you can fight inflammation through your diet? To feel better and know that you are doing the best for your health, read this informative guide to the Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods.
Eating clean is just an all-around good idea.
We all know that, but the problem is that it’s easy to stick to old habits and keep saying, “tomorrow I’ll eat better.”
But I find when you know a little about the science behind something, it can be an incentive to improve your diet. Knowledge is power and can really help you make an effort to consume healthy foods every day.
That’s my reasoning behind this post, you see. Because making sure that you include a few anti-inflammatory foods into your weekly eating regimen goes a long way to feeling fabulous and more energetic.
Why anti-inflammatory foods? Because chronic inflammation plays a big part in many disease processes.
When inflammation goes on for a long time, it can be a problem. Certain diseases and autoimmune disorders can result from steady inflammation in the body. I’m talking about health conditions like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more.
The good news is that a healthy lifestyle and diet can work to keep inflammation at bay, and you feeling awesome.
Let’s get to it!
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Right off the top, not all inflammation is bad. When you are injured, for example, inflammation helps to heal the area where the injury took place. It’s called acute inflammation, and it’s a sign that the body is healing. Fever and swelling are two signs of healing inflammation.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, does not go away on its own. It is caused by things like stress, poor diet, inactivity, and lack of sleep.
Long-term low levels of inflammation result in a rise of immune system markers in the blood and tissues of the body. When the immune system continues to respond to a perceived threat that is not there, white blood cells may rush to fight a disease or injury that doesn’t exist.
It’s thought that then, healthy organs, cells, and tissues may be adversely affected by the influx of white blood cells. It may also be that the plaque from inflammatory cells can build up, potentially clotting, and triggering a stroke. As far as cancer goes, chronic inflammation may lead to DNA changes that lead to some types of cancer.
So, that’s a little of the science behind inflammation.
WHAT ARE SIGNS THAT INFLAMMATION IS AFFECTING ME?
It’s always best to speak to the doctor when you are not feeling well. They’ll be able to determine exactly whether your health issues are related to inflammation. Possible signs are:
- Bloating and gas
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Memory loss
- Joint pain
CAN INFLAMMATION MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT?
When you don’t eat well and carry extra pounds, the resulting inflammation increases your body’s sensitivity. Your body begins to respond by developing more inflammation.
Stress, environmental toxins, and a poor diet all lead to inflammation and excess belly fat. Vitamin and nutritional deficiencies are also culprits of inflammation. What results because of these factors? More inflammation and weight gain or an inability to lose weight.
When you stop eating foods that cause inflammation and implement healthy changes (including exercise), the weight will come off.
WHAT ARE THE WORST FOODS FOR INFLAMMATION?
Many foods cause inflammation. Poor food choices trigger rises in blood sugar and other negative body processes that lead to you feel blah and low on energy. Seven foods to avoid because they are inflammatory-causing are:
- Fried foods such as french fries and fried chicken
- Processed meats like smoked meat, ham, and beef jerky
- Refined carbs such as sugary foods (examples are soft drinks and some cereals)
- Alcohol in excess
- Food with added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
- Excess caffeine
- Transfats and saturated fats such as in packaged cookies and margarine
For more info on this, check out my video on the worst foods for inflammation.
HOW CAN I GET RID OF INFLAMMATION IN THE BODY?
Ridding the body of inflammation goes a long way. Changing your diet can even reverse inflammation. Remember, doing so can help reduce disease risk.
- Eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods
- Cut back or eliminate processed foods, fried foods, and margarine
- Limit carbs like white flour and refined sugar
- Exercise regularly
- Try intermittent fasting, which helps reset your metabolism
- Try to manage your stress better through methods like meditation or yoga
- Get plenty of quality sleep
- Get fresh air and 10 minutes of sun per day to increase your Vitamin D
- Reduce your exposure to toxins
18 TOP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
1. FATTY FISH
Fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna give you protein and the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These components reduce inflammation in the body.
Nuts have very little saturated fat. They do have polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that lower inflammation. Enjoy walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and peanuts.
The antioxidants in berries are known to keep your immune system working to capacity. Strawberries reduce inflammatory markers linked to heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and blueberries contain flavonoids known to reduce inflammation.
4. LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
Spinach, kale, leaf lettuce Swiss chard, and collard greens are excellent sources of inflammation-busting nutrients. Spinach, for example, is a known component of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Tomatoes have the phytochemical lycopene, which is an antioxidant. The vitamin C in tomatoes also works to reduce inflammation.
Turmeric is beneficial in many ways and is especially good for fighting inflammation. The curcumin found in the spice is the anti-inflammatory nutrient. Are you a lover of spices? Curry and ginger top the list of good-for-you spices, too.
7. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Olive oil not only tastes good, but it also contains polyphenols. They prevent inflammatory compounds from being released into the body.
Antioxidants are found in cherries – specifically tart cherries, which are red in color as opposed to the dark-colored cherries – as well as vitamins and minerals beneficial to your health.
9. DARK CHOCOLATE
Yes! In moderation, of course, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. The flavonols found in this delicious treat reduce inflammation and also have cognitive benefits. Just be sure to choose 70% cacao for the best benefits.
Grapes contain resveratrol, which is known to potentially lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Along with that, the anthocyanins in grapes lower inflammatory markers.
Both chili peppers and bell peppers are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Sinapic acid, ferulic acid, and quercetin are the antioxidants that are known to reduce inflammatory markers and work to prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory effects. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals. It is thought that cooking mushrooms lowers the properties of inflammation, so eat them raw in a salad instead.
Broccoli is just one of a few cruciferous veggies that work to fight inflammation. Cauliflower, kale, bok choy, and Brussel sprouts are in the same family. Broccoli is a power-packed food that also contains protein.
Avocado has a long list of good-for-you components, including healthy fats, fiber, and potassium. They also fight inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer.
15. GREEN TEA
A couple of cups of green tea a day will reduce the risk of diseases and conditions like Alzheimer’s and cancer. And the antioxidants in this healthy beverage work as an anti-inflammatory, too.
The alpha-linolenic and omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds make this superfood beneficial for those looking for ways to add anti-inflammatory foods to their diet. Sprinkle them on cereal or blend them in a heart-healthy smoothie.
Garlic is thought to help reduce the inflammatory markers that cause swelling in the joints. It’s a beneficial food in many ways, actually. Think protection against cell damage, lowering blood pressure, and even fighting the common cold. Garlic is great!
Beans are packed with fiber and the benefit to the digestive system translates to feeling less bloated and inflamed. Beans can be incorporated into your diet in tons of ways, like in salads and enchiladas.
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