One of the simplest ways to prevent, and even reduce, chronic inflammation in the body is with your diet. By eating high-quality superfoods, including herbs, spices, vegetables and seeds, you can pack your meals with anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Scientists have discovered that chronic inflammation is the source of many illnesses, including cancer, obesity and heart disease. Essentially, this makes inflammation the leading cause of death in many countries.
Superfoods for Inflammation
Luckily, you have a choice in what you eat. If you choose to eat processed foods, refined sugars, fried foods and foods high in trans fats, you will likely increase inflammation in the body. On the other hand, choose a diet high in anti-inflammatory superfoods, and you’ll improve your health and well-being. Here is a diverse list of the best foods with anti-inflammatory properties.
Cloves have an incredibly high level of antioxidants and are full of Omega-3 fatty acids. This makes cloves a great anti-inflammatory spice. In addition, cloves also inhibit the product of the enzyme 5-Lipoxygenase. This enzyme is an inflammatory mediator involved in allergic and inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.
Ginger is a root spice known for its beneficial effects on circulation and digestion, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It contains compounds knows as gingerols. These compounds offer protection from damaging free-radicals that trigger an inflammatory response in the body, particularly in the gut. Hence, ginger is a common natural remedy for various types of digestive ailments.
The active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, gives the spice its pungent smell and golden color. Curcumin reduces inflammation by hunting down free oxygen radicals in the body. It also inhibits the production of NF-kappa B, a compound that’s integral to triggering inflammation. In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is used to remedy inflammatory conditions such as all types of arthritis.
Cinnamon is a common spice used in baked goods. It fights inflammation by stimulating the production of the protein tristetraprolin. This results in a therapeutic anti-inflammatory effect in the human body.
5. Black Pepper
Black pepper’s aroma molecule, called beta-caryophyllene (BCP), functions as a cannabinoid. Similar to other plant-based cannabinoids, BCP binds with the cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system. This gives black pepper its therapeutic effect of reducing inflammation.
Fruits and Vegetables
The nutritional density of kale is what gives it its high anti-inflammatory properties. This leafy vegetable offers abundant vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin C. It is also loaded with all essential amino acids. An easy way to gain the anti-inflammatory benefits of kale is by juicing it. Other green leafy vegetables are also a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet.
7. Broccoli and Broccoli Sprouts
Fresh broccoli, as well as other cruciferous vegetables, are naturally high in the compound sulforaphane. This compound has a strong anti-inflammatory affect, in addition to offering many other health benefits. Interestingly, broccoli sprouts offer the highest concentration of sulforaphane. They contain 20 to 50 times more of this chemoprotective compound than mature broccoli.
8. Onions and Garlic
Both of these vegetables create anti-inflammatory compounds. In garlic, organosulfur compounds may lower the production of substances in the blood that boost inflammation. In onions, the flavonoid quercetin helps inhibit inflammation-causing agents that influence arthritis.
Cucumbers can help reduce inflammation in the body. They inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes, such as cyclo-oxygenase 2.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene. This substance helps reduce inflammation in the body, particularly in the lungs. Scientists have discovered that even tomato juice consumption is beneficial for reducing systemic inflammation. In addition, research reveals that cooked tomatoes offer even more lycopene than raw one. So tomato sauce is also a great anti-inflammatory food.
11. Tart Cherries
Researchers have found that tart cherry powder has a profound effect on reducing inflammation in the circulatory system. Tart cherries and tart cherry juice are rich in the same anti-inflammatory substance as found in ibuprofen. Since this substance is located in the peel, it is important to choose tart over sweet cherries. Furthermore, if you’re drinking tart cherry juice, stay away from juices sweetened with refined sugar, as this counteracts the anti-inflammatory benefits.
All berries have antioxidants that keep free radicals in check and help reduce inflammation. Specifically, raspberries are especially high in ellagic acid that fights inflammation. Blueberries, on the other hand, are one of the highest in antioxidant capacity, and as a bonus, they have very little sugar.
13. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish and fish oil supplements effectively reduce inflammation and oxidative stress because they have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. When buying fatty fish, try to stick to wild-caught varieties.
14. Hemp Seeds and Chia Seeds
Hemps seeds and chia seeds are two among many highly nutritious super seeds. They are both rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the body. In addition, chia seeds have more antioxidant strength than blueberries. Hemp seeds, on the other hand, are also rich in vitamins including a hefty dose of vitamin E. This vitamin in particularly has an important role in decreasing inflammation.
15. Fermented Foods
Scientists believe that the majority of inflammatory diseases start in your gut because of an imbalanced microbiome. Fermented foods such as kefir, natto, kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, olives, and other fermented vegetables, will help reintroduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system. This will attack inflammation at its source.
About the Author
Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.
This article (15 Diverse Superfoods that Fight Inflammation) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Anna Hunt and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.