All diseases have two things in common:
- No one wants them
- Inflammation is at the root of the problem
Whether it’s diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure or asthma, inflammation is the common denominator. So it makes perfect sense that when treating disease, we would want to focus on fighting that inflammation, not masking the symptoms of the disease, as so many (if not most or even all) prescription medications do.
So now you may be wondering how to fight this dreaded inflammation. There are a variety of lifestyle changes that will help. Stop smoking, eliminate as much stress as possible, get more rest, and exercise are all an important part of the equation. But at the very top of that lifestyle change list should be “start eating more anti-inflammatory foods.”
What is Inflammation Exactly? And How Can Anti-inflammatory Foods Help?
Inflammation is the body’s response to something it considers harmful. In and of itself, inflammation is not a bad thing. In fact, in some cases, it’s a very good thing.
Take for instance when you become ill or you get a bad cut, the body’s immune system springs into action and sends an army of white blood cells to the affected area. When you get a cut, this increased blood flow to the area is why it becomes red, warm, swollen and perhaps painful.
In a healthy body, inflammation is a normal and necessary response that facilitates healing.
But often inflammation that gets out of control can become a very, very bad thing. Sometimes the immune system uses inflammation to attack the body’s own healthy organs and tissues, as in the case of autoimmune disorders.
And of course, when we make unhealthy lifestyle choices, our bodies are, in a sense, injured day after day, and so day after day the body reacts by sending inflammation to the rescue. Eventually this inflammation can lead to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, etc.
So how can certain foods help?
The Standard American Diet – or SAD – which is a completely applicable acronym, is laden with far too many carbohydrates, refined sugars and saturated fats. Eating these overly processed foods and unbalanced diets has led to increased rates of inflammation and diseases in many Western nations.
When health experts began looking at other populations of the world and noticed certain regions had far fewer instances of cancer, for instance, they took note of the foods people ate in the region.
This is why the Mediterranean Diet became such a sensation a few years back. A Mediterranean diet is comprised of simple, whole foods. People in countries like Italy and Greece eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, little to no red meat, certainly no chemicals or meat additives, and an abundance of omega-3 foods. And their health shows the benefits of this way of eating.
15 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Should Start Eating
If you want to improve your health at the cellular level, swap out the typical processed foods most Americans eat and start incorporating more of these anti-inflammatory foods into your diet each day.
1. Leafy Green Veggies
You’ll find leafy greens top just about every ‘best anti-inflammatory’ list and for good reason: these veggies are abundant in rich antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Now you know why so many health experts recommend drinking green juice every day! If you don’t like eating spinach, swiss chard or kale, throw some in your juicer or blender every morning and transform the health of your cells.
Did you know you can tell which fruits and vegetables have the most antioxidants by their color? Generally, the deeper the color, the more health benefits that fruit or vegetable offers.
Well, deep purple beets are chock-full of antioxidants. Beets get their purple color from an antioxidant called betalain and this helps to fight cell damage caused by inflammation. Beets are also full of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.
And speaking of deeply-colored produce that is incredibly healthy for you, we obviously had to include blueberries on this list. Of all the antioxidants that are strong anti-inflammatory chemicals, quercetin is in the front of the pack.
This antioxidant, which is a flavonoid, is found in dark-colored berries like blueberries. Studies have shown that consuming blueberries slows cognitive decline and improves memory and motor function by reducing inflammation.
The Mediterranean Diet is rich in fatty fish that offer an abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids. When it come to fatty fish, salmon has to be king of them all. In fact, salmon is considered one of the best omega-3 foods by nutritionists and health experts alike.
There is an abundance of research done on the power of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and lower your risk of chronic disease. So if you want to get the most bang for your buck, try eating more salmon. Just make sure the salmon is wild-caught and not farmed, as farmed salmon doesn’t pack the same nutritional punch.
Turmeric is a spice used often in Indian food. It’s what gives many curries their bright yellow color. Turmeric contains a chemical compound called curcumin and curcumin is an incredibly potent anti-inflammatory ingredient.
Just how powerful is curcumin in fighting inflammation?
The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds. The study found that aspirin and ibuprofen (Bayer and Advil) are the least effective at reducing inflammation, while curcumin was found to be one of the most potent anti-inflammatory agents in the world.
Here are some other beneficial anti-inflammatory foods you should consider eating more of:
- Bok Choy
- Bone broth
- Olive Oil
- Coconut oil
- Chia seeds
If you suffer from a chronic disease, I encourage you to tackle it at the root and improve your diet by eating more of these 15 anti-inflammatory foods.
If you happen to suffer from joint pain caused by arthritis, I also encourage you to pick up a copy of The Joint Pain Solution. Find out how one doctor used natural methods to completely cure himself and his patients of painful arthritis.