Fight Inflammation with Natural Foods

October 22nd, 2013 · 6 Comments · Cleansing and Detox, Disease Prevention, Healthy Living

Think about the last time you bumped your knee or sprained your ankle; there was a change in color and a puffiness associated with that minor injury. This puffiness is inflammation, a natural healing process of our bodies signaling to us that our immune system, is addressing the issue but what about chronic inflammation when no injury is present?

Recent studies on chronic inflammation have shown that people with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders such as lupus, or arthritis have higher levels of inflammation in their bodies as well as less severe conditions like asthma, allergies, acne, or hay fever. There are foods you can eat to help tame inflammation in your body as well as foods to avoid that fuel the fire. Hippocrates said we should use food as our medicine and medicine as our food-sound advice.

Fight the Inflammation!

Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Kale and other dark, leafy greens are natural anti-inflammatory foods.

Kale is high in protein and like other dark, leafy greens, is a natural anti-inflammatory food.

Kale and Leafy Greens: Kale, Swiss chard, and collards are powerful providers of antioxidants to the body and are high in vitamin K, both of which play a role in fighting inflammation naturally.

Turmeric: The yellow hue of this powerful and antioxidant rich spice is from curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory.

Hemp Seeds: With the omega-3 fats in these seeds, the production of anti-inflammatory compounds is increased. While flax seed is also a rich source of omega-3s, they need to be ground or consumed as an oil in order to gain the benefits while hemp seeds do not.

Celery: The stalks of this crisp veggie are loaded with luteolin, a flavonoid that appears to work well at taming inflammation of the brain.

Grapefruit: This breakfast favorite has shown significant promise in lowering the levels of proinflammatory compunds in the body.

Pistachios: Aside from being a heart healthy snack, pistachios provide high levels of vitamin B6 and monounsatured fatty acids that can fight inflammation. Choose unsalted versions and go easy on the servings since nuts are high in calories.

Ginger: Consuming about 2 grams of ginger root supplement per day, such as Kroeger’s Ginger Root Tincture good for circulation and aids in digestion and congestion, can reduce colon inflammation which may protect against colon cancer.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The anti-inflammatory compound oleocanthal is found in high amounts in olive oil. This staple of Mediterranean diets is also brimming with heart-healthy monounsatured fat which appears to help counter inflammation.

Whole Grains: Swapping refined grains for whole grains can help lessen inflammation that affects the heart.

Lentils: Because they are rich in folate, a B vitamin that can help reduce levels of inflammation in the heart, lentils make a great substitution for beans.

Avoid these Foods!

Sugary drinks and the other foods listed here should be avoided to fight inflammation.

Sugary drinks and the other foods listed here should be avoided to fight inflammation

The Dirty Dozen: Fruits and vegetables are an important part of naturally addressing inflammation but conventionally grown choices are likely to contain a heavy dose of pesticides. Our immune systems sometimes see pesticides as invaders and increase your body’s inflammation response. Try choosing organic or pesticide-free produce whenever you can, especially the dirty dozen in this list.

Sugary Drinks: Soda, energy drinks, and some bottled teas can send your blood sugar through the roof while widening your waistline and increasing levels of inflammation.

Refined Grains: White bread, baked goods, and boxed cereal contain refined grains that lead to a spike in blood sugar levels and increase inflammation responses.

Potato Chips: Acrylamide is a carcinogen found in potato chips and french fries and, when eaten frequently can increase inflammation in the body.

High-Fat Animal Products: Meat and dairy can be high in certain acids of omega-6 fats that promotes the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body. A recent study showed that adults who ate the most red meat in a group had the highest levels of inflammation.

While inflammation is a natural and healthy response of our body when we are injured, the overproduction of inflammatory compounds in the systems of some means a more difficult time with infections, diseases, and everyday aches and pains. By eating the right foods to fight inflammation you can help your body function properly. Ingesting the foods on the “avoid list” mentioned above in moderation is acceptable but if you’re struggling with inflammation levels or are experiencing a flare up of an autoimmune disease, it’s best to give your body the assistance it needs without hampering its function. Natural anti-inflammatory foods are good for the heart, waistline, and general function of the body so eat up!

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