What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s way of signaling that it is defending itself, whether against physical injury or infection. When you bang your knee, cytokines are released, which signal the immune system that the body requires assistance/protection. The blood vessels dilate and white blood cells rush to the site of impact, usually accompanied by swelling and redness. This is acute inflammation and can be a good thing, but chronic inflammation is much more dangerous. This can wear down your body, and can also lower your defenses to chronic diseases, such as cancer and arthritis, among many others.
List of Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Green Leafy Vegetables
Beets are packed with many unique nutrients and antioxidants, but it is the betaine found in these vegetables that get the most attention for their anti-inflammatory effects, which is why eating beets are associated with a lower risk of diabetes.
The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is considered one of the most powerful antioxidants we can consume, and as such, is also excellent at reducing inflammation throughout the body.
Some of the active ingredients in ginger, called gingerols, are famous for their strong anti-inflammatory effects, particularly in the stomach and lining of the gut, which is where so much chronic inflammation occurs.
Although coconut oil is high in fats, the high concentration of medium-chain fatty acids, particularly lauric acid, mean that this oil can actually help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease.
With such a high level of polyphenolic compounds, green tea is known to reduce inflammation in the stomach, respiratory system and cardiovascular system, in addition to its many other healthy, relaxing effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory in nature, and walnuts are one of the best sources for these “good” fats.
The anti-inflammatory flavonoids found in such high concentrations in blueberries make them a favorite remedy for chronic inflammation. Additionally, blueberries are a superfood that can boost the immune system and prevent cancer, among many others.
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
While some foods can help reduce inflammation in the body, others can make the situation worse, such as
- Highly processed foods
- Vegetable oils
- Dairy products
- Artificial additives and artificial sugars
- Excess gluten
- Trans fats
Basically, if you shift to a healthier diet, you can easily eliminate many of these inflammatory trigger foods from your weekly intake.