Inflammation in the body is natural and isn’t always a bad thing. When you get a cut or are fighting a cold, your body’s natural response is to protect itself from harm and heal. However, chronic inflammation from lack of sleep, being under stress, a poor diet, smoking, environmental pollution and even from vigorous exercise can lead to a myriad of health issues such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and cancer.
Other than practicing daily stress-reducing exercises such as deep breathing and yoga, decreasing your consumption of sugar and following a diet that prioritizes healthy fats, fruits and vegetables is your greatest weapon against fighting inflammation. The role of antioxidants in the body is crucial when looking at inflammation and free radicals. When foods packed with antioxidants are consumed, the number of free radicals is significantly lowered, resulting in decreased symptoms of inflammation and improved overall wellbeing. Incorporating these six foods into your diet will help alleviate these symptoms and prevent disease.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage and kale are best and contain tons of vitamins and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties. Try to eat them raw in a big salad or slightly cooked to get the most nutritional benefits.
Omega 3’s are your best friend and are essential for everyone when banishing inflammation. It’s important to keep your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio more in favor of omega 3’s and salmon is a great source. Make sure you go for wild caught salmon over farmed salmon because farmed is full of contaminants and doesn’t offer the same nutritional value. More reason to up your sushi game!
Turmeric, cinnamon and ginger are loaded with polyphenols, great for decreasing inflammation and free radicals in the body. Some studies have shown that turmeric in particular can help decrease joint pain better than some prescription medications. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of your morning bowl of oats or add turmeric to a fresh vegetable salad for an unexpected twist.
Guac lovers rejoice! Touting more potassium than a banana, this superfood should be a staple in your diet. Thanks to the poly and mono-unsaturated fats, research has shown that avocados can reduce inflammation and decrease pain that is typically associated with arthritis. There is a reason why avocado toast is the latest craze!
Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are all great options and a perfect way to get in a substantial amount of antioxidants. Mix into yogurt or blend in a smoothie.
Almonds and walnuts are rich in alpha-linoleic acid, which has been shown to calm inflammation in the body. Just don’t go nuts on the nuts, as they are a calorically dense food.
Improving your health and healing your body begins with nutrition. Starting with a diet that is filled primarily with whole, minimally processed foods will make it that much easier. Food is the best medicine there is and has the vitamins and nutrients that help our bodies thrive. Supplements can be added in for additional support, as long as your diet is on point.