We all know what inflammation is. If not here are some examples; swelling, redness, heat whic causes pain or discomfort. Inflammation can be internal or external. It is the cause of MANY conditions and cancers. By addressing the inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods, not only can the symptoms of these diseases be alleviated, but we could even see them cured. I myself, have had inflammation externally and once i changed my diet, adding the right foods and introducing a probiotic the swelling decreased to almost none.
To move toward an anti-inflammatory diet and anti-inflammatory foods, you need to move away from overly processed, unbalanced diets and towards eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, little to no red meat, certainly no chemicals or meat additives, and lots of omega 3 foods.
By adding in the anti-inflammatory foods that fight inflammation and restore health you can begin to repair the body without any drastic changes.
Here are my top (and favourate) anti-inflammatory foods:
Green Leafy Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids. If you struggle to consume greens as many do! Try to add them to smoothies and especially juices.
Bok choy is sourced from china. It is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. I use this often in stir frys but it can be added raw to salads or sandwiches and other dishes.
Celery has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent heart disease. Celery seeds — which can be found either in whole seed form, extract form or ground-up — have impressive health benefits on their own, as they help to lower inflammation and to fight bacterial infections. It’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins. We always add celery to our juices in the Clinic. We also have it chopped up in salads and i added it to stews, stir frys etc.
This food is chock-full of antioxidants. The umbrella category of antioxidants includes a great deal of substances. In general, they fight to repair the cell damage caused by inflammation. In the case of beets, the antioxidant betalain gives them their signature coluor and is an excellent anti-inflammatory. When added to the diet, beets can repair cells and add high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium. Choose RAW beets. They come in a 4 pack (organic) in Tesco for only €2. Add them to juices, salads, roast them or throw them in a wrap with goats cheese, spinach, sundried tomatoes and a dressing. Yum! My favourate sandwich.
We all should know the power of broccoli by now. It is the poster vegetable for healthy eating, For an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s invaluable. Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and its antioxidants are particularly potent anti-inflammatory substances in their own right.
Broccoli is an antioxidant powerhouse, with key vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids. These work together to lower oxidative stress in the body and help battle both chronic inflammation and the risk of developing cancer. Add broccoli to almost any dish; stir fry, salad, juice, pasta, pesto, casserole and even on pizza!
Theseare my second favourate fruit after strawberries. One antioxidant in particular stands out as an especially strong anti-inflammatory, and that’s quercetin. Found in citrus, olive oil and dark-colored berries, quercetin is a flavonoid (a beneficial substance or phytonutrient that’s prevalent in fresh foods) that fights inflammation and even cancer. The presence of quercetin is one of the benefits of consuming blueberries EVERY day. Add them to smoothies, salads, desserts and as a snack with fruit and yogurt.
In a study seeking treatment for IBD, an extract from the noni fruit was used to affect the gut flora and colon damage done by inflammatory diseases. Of the effects the extract had, quercetin created the prominent anti-inflammatory actions.
Usually, when it’s packaged in supplement form, quercetin is often paired with bromelain, a digestive enzyme. After being used for years as part of an anti-inflammatory foods protocol, bromelain is observed to have immune-modulating abilities — that is, it helps regulate the immune response that so often creates unwanted and unnecessary inflammation.
Pineapple also helps improve heart health because of the effects of powerful bromelain. which can fight blood clotting and is nature’s answer to those taking an aspirin a day to lower the risk of heart attack. Bromelain has been shown to stop blood platelets from sticking together or building up along the walls of blood vessels – both known causes of heart attacks or strokes.
The benefits of pineapple are due to its high supply of vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium and manganese, in addition to other special antioxidants that help prevent disease formation. Pineapple is filled with phytonutrients that work as well as many medicines do to reduce symptoms of some of the most common illnesses and conditions we see today. Pineapple can be high in sugar (natural) so keep it to one a week if you are trying to lose or maintain weight. Chop it up and have it in the fridge as a snack or add half of a pineapple to a juice or a smoothie for a refreshing drink.
I am vegetarian so i do not eat meat but i will sometimes have salmon if i a out to dinner and there is no vegetarian options. Salmon is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, and considered one of the best omega 3 foods. Omega-3s are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances, showing consistent relief of inflammation and reduction of the need for anti-inflammatory medications. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.
The source of fish and meat among anti-inflammatory foods is a vital component. One of the dangers of farmed fish is it doesn’t have the same nutrients as wild-caught salmon.
When following a diet without a lot of meats, nuts and seeds can make up the difference for protein and omega-3s. Add omega-3-rich walnuts to green leafy salads drizzled with olive oil for a satisfying anti-inflammatory meal, or grab a handful for an on-the-go snack. I use wlanuts also in cooking and baking.
Phytonutrients can help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. And some phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in any other foods.
So much can be written about the way herbs and oils work together to form anti-inflammatory partnerships. Lipids (fats) and spices create strong anti-inflammatory compounds, especially coconut oil and the components of turmeric. In a study in India, the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil reduced inflammation and healed arthritis more effectively than leading medications. We are all using coconut oil recently in all kinds of ways. It can be used for cooking, as a moisturiser and as a treatment for you hair. Make sure you get a good brand, raw organic coconut oil to get the best results.
Also, oxidative stress and free radicals are the two biggest culprits of osteoporosis. Since coconut oil benefits include fighting such free radicals with its high levels of antioxidants, it’s a leading natural treatment for osteoporosis.
Fatty acids found in nature are more balanced than the fats we typically consume in our typical diets. Chia seeds for example, offer both omega-3 and omega-6, which should be consumed in balance with one another.
Chia are an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory powerhouse, containing essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine.
Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health. Also, by reversing oxidative stress, someone is less likely to develop atherosclerosis when they’re regularly consuming chia seeds. Add chia seeds to salads, smoothies, cakes, breads, in yogurt or in cooking. I use it to make a paste for raw protein balls as a substitute for dried fruit. you can also use chia mix to form chia pudding. (see my previous blog post for more details)
An excellent source of omega-3s and phytonutrients, flaxseeds are packed with antioxidants. Lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health. Polyphenols support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body.
Before you use them alongside your other new anti-inflammatory foods, consider grinding them in a coffee grinder to ensure the digestive tract has easy access to their many benefits. Like chia seeds you can sprinkle them on salads, over cereals, porridge, granola, add to smoothies and use as a snack additive in yogurt and fruit.
Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory component. Documented for its affects against inflammation in numerous circumstances, turmeric proves invaluable in an anti-inflammatory diet.
Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is highly effective at helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A recent study out of Japan evaluated its relationship with interleukin (IL)-6, the inflammatory cytokine known to be involved in the RA process, and discovered that curcumin “significantly reduced” these inflammatory markers. I use turmeric alot in cooking. I always add it to stir frys.
Used fresh, dried, or in supplement form and extracts, ginger is another immune modulator that helps reduce inflammation caused by overactive immune responses.
Ayurvedic medicine has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system. Ginger benefits may even include treating inflammation in allergic and asthmatic disorders.
Ginger is something i have every day. I swear by it for aiding digestion. I add it to juices to give it a kick and also use it in cooking and sprinkle it on sandwiches sometimes.
My top anti-inflammatory drink is green tea. Full of benefits, i have this every morning for an energy boost. it releases toxins, cleanses the body and can be used in conjunction with weight loss. Drink this in the morning and have chamomile tea before bed.
So that concludes my list of anti-inflammatory foods. I hope you have learned something new and will add some, if not all!, of these foods into your diet. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below and stay tuned for more blogs from The Raw Food Coach! :)