Ten Foods That Fight Inflammation

Body inflammation, whether it be in the muscles, bones, and/or joints, is a very painful and pesky occurrence. While it is true that inflammation can be effective in responding to stress, chronic inflammation can lead to a host of health issues including stroke, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, arthritis, and osteoporosis. The food we eat can have a major impact on whether or not we develop chronic inflammation.  Below are ten foods that fight inflammation.

1. Fatty fish

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  These fatty acids help to reduce inflammation.  It is best to eat these fish multiple times per week to receive the full benefits of these fatty acids, and it is better if you eat the fish boiled or baked.  A University of Hawai’i study showed that individuals who ate boiled or baked fish had a 23% reduced risk of heart disease.  If you do not eat fish or eat it multiple times per week,  fish oil supplements are widely available that give you the same omega-3 benefits.

2. Leafy greens

Research has determined that vitamins E and K play a critical role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory properties.  Alpha-tocopheral, a form of vitamin E helps reduce inflammation associated with heart issues and vitamin K reduces of inflammatory makers in the body.  Terrific food sources of these vitamins are dark, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and kale.  These vegetables typically have greater amounts of important vitamins and nutrients like iron, calcium, and omega-3.

3. Soy

Soy based products like tofu and edamame contain isoflavones, a compound that has been shown to lower inflammation levels.  In addition to reducing negative effects of inflammation, isoflavones also reduced bone inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease.  highly-processed soy products do not have as many of the health benefits that regular soy contains.

4. Nuts

Nuts are a delicious inflammatory fighting snack.  Almonds and walnuts both contain sufficient amounts of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.  Nuts are beneficial to the prevention of cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammation can be a precursor to cardiovascular disease.  Nuts are widely acceptable and a wide variety of them give you various health benefits.

5. Beets

Beets are an extremely beneficial option for inflammation. Beets contain a nutrient known as betaine, which has a decreased risk for inflammation.  Beets have antioxidants betanin and vulgaxanthin that help it protect against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease.  Beetroot juice is another great option as it is loaded with vitamin C and fiber.

6. Tart Cherries

Tart cherries have been known to fight chronic inflammation.  Tart cherries are high in antioxidants and researchers have stated that tart cherries have “the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.”  Another great benefit of tart cherries is that they have a similar effectiveness to NSAIDs but without the side effects.  Eating 1.5 cups of tart cherries or drinking 1 cup of tart cherry juice each day should cause your inflammation to lower.

7. Ginger and Turmeric

Not only are turmeric and ginger both commonly used spices, they both effectively stave off inflammation in your body.  Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful substance that eases inflammation by turning off NF-Kappa B, a protein that triggers the process of inflammation.  Ginger is also effective in relieve inflammation, and while it is commonly used in tea, it is most effective in supplement form.

8. Garlic and Onions

Both of these vegetables have the powerful anti inflammatory property, quercetin.  Garlic stops inflammatory substances called cytoskines from forming.  Garlic also contains sulfur compounds that work with your body to help your immune system ward off diseases.  Onions also contain quercetin and the phytonutrient, allicin that break down free radicals that can cause inflammation.  These two are both great at fighting inflammation and are delicious additions to many meals that you eat.

9.Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain lycopene, an anti-oxidant that is very effective at reducing inflammation in the body.  Tomatoes are even more effective if they are cooked rather than raw as the heat causes them to produce more lycopene.  You can add tomatoes to a wide variety of foods.  In addition, tomato juice is also an effective anti-inflammatory.

10. Olive Oil

Olive oil has rich amounts of nutrients and monosaturated fats that help keep the heart healthy and also help to stop inflammation.  Olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and easy to incorporate into your diet.  Extra virgin olive oil is especially effective towards controlling inflammation.  It contains the compound oleocanthol, which not only gives olive oil its taste, but it also has a similar effect to NSAID painkillers on the body.  Replace butter or vegetable oil with olive oil when cooking.

2 Responses

  1. Judy Friedman
    Thank you for sharing this information and all the other information that you share. I'm saddened by my impression that this is not new information, but information that has been "out there" for decades. Unfortunately, it seems that our society is so concentrated on pharmacology and treatment of disease rather than prevention, again nothing new. I'm just wondering why it's taking so long for people to believe it and put it to use, rather than taking all those pills...I'm Judy Friedman, retired RN. Thanks.
  2. Suzanne Ferris
    I could not agree more. The information is old and has been around a long time. However, the more it is exposed the more people will read it. Alternative medicine is beginning to be explored by those who have always relied on traditional treatment. As we know there are so many alternatives that work as well or better than these traditional treatments. Keep spreading the word. Sue Ferris

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