Reduce Inflammation With These Key Foods
INFLAMMATION! INFLAMMATION! INFLAMMATION!
This topic seems to be absolutely everywhere these days. Who in the health and wellness field is NOT talking about the infamous inflammation?
Some say it’s the root cause of all disease.
Everyone wants to tell you how to kick it to the curb.
Let me give you a rundown on my favorite anti-inflammatory foods. And for bonus points, I'll even tell you which anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds they contain.
Not to mention the anti-inflammatory recipe I’ve included at the bottom! Delish!
Here ya go!!
Inflammation. It’s not just for health headlines.
It’s a fact.
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 (i.e. lasts a long time).
Inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Arthritis, and diabetes, just to name a few. It is also connected to joint and back pain as we age. No one wants that.
But, instead of writing all about what it is, how it's measured, and where it comes from; why don't I focus on some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it?
Let's cut to the chase and just avoid it!
Reduce Inflammation With These Key Foods:
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 (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).
Oh, and did I forget to mention their 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 a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidant’s 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.
I know that bell peppers have gotten a bad rap as Night Shades. Some members of the nightshade family, including Atropa belladonna or "deadly nightshade," contain harmful compounds called alkaloids, which, when consumed in large quantities, can be lethal.
Bell peppers do not contain the toxic alkaloid, called solanine, and are perfectly safe for consumption.
Anti-inflammatory Food #3: Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)
Fat can be terribly inflammatory (hello: "trans" fats), neutral (hello: saturated fats), or anti-inflammatory (hello: "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 (e.g. sardines and mackerel), and wild fish (e.g. salmon). Oh, and don't forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and flax. I put these in my smoothies in the morning. (Bonus tip)They are also beneficial for hormone health.
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 a 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.
If you are not a tea drinker you can opt for a tablet supplement. I take one every morning with my breakfast. I don't consume any caffeine like coffee so it helps me get a little pep in my step in the morning.
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 have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.
I've added it to the broccoli and pepper recipe below for a 1-2-3 punch, to kick that inflammation.
Hint: For Tumeric to be absorbed properly you need to combine it with black pepper.
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 "flavanols").
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! Sorry, I know it is a bummer!
There are just 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."
I hope you have found this helpful and informative. If you need help with any healthy lifestyle changes please reach out to me. I am always happy to help when I can. I have also included some references for your reading pleasure.
Here is the yummy recipe that I promised!
Recipe (Broccoli, Pepper, Turmeric): Anti-inflammatory Quinoa
¾ cup dry quinoa (pre-rinsed)
2 tbsp coconut oil1 medium onion, diced1 bell pepper, chopped1 dash salt½ tbsp turmeric1 dash black pepper
2 cups broccoli, chopped
In a saucepan place 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the quinoa and simmer until the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).
Melt coconut oil in a skillet. Add diced onions, turmeric, pepper and salt, and lightly sauté for a few minutes.
Add broccoli and lightly sauté for 5-6 minutes, until it becomes softened.
Add the cooked quinoa and stir everything together.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Add some cayenne pepper or curry spice for an extra spicy kick.