12 Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is an important immune system function. It a powerful and necessary function for our survival.  It ensures that appropriate nourishment and adequate immune activity is delivered to an area, inside or outside that is injured or under attack.

When it is out of control though, inflammation can cause serious damage. It has been linked to major diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, signs of aging and all auto-immune diseases, which are currently getting lots of attention in the nutrition world.  To read more about that particular connection, click here.

The good news is that in the developing world of food and nutrition, many foods are found to be naturally anti-inflammatory, and thus good choices for keeping our immune system healthy and able to ward off disease.  Antioxidants found in these foods protect cells from the effects of free radicals and can help reduce an overbalance of inflammation in your body.

Here, then are 12 Natural Inflammatory foods

1. Beets, with their spectacular red color, are powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods.  Beets can boost your energy and lower your blood pressure.  A single serving of 500 ml of beetroot juice has been shown to reduce blood pressure by10.4/8 mm. Beets are high in nitrates, and this stud showed that a serving of beetroot juice boosted athletic performance by 1-3 percent. I regularly boost my green smoothies with a tablespoonful of beetroot powder, available in health food stores.

2. Blueberries have been found to reduce inflammation in many studies on animals; there are yet to be more studies done on humans.  Studies that are available now do indicate that blueberries are good for brain health.  It is best to eat organic berries since pesticides on berries, which are small, are hard to wash away.

3. Broccoli is loaded with detoxifying antioxidants and is a particularly rich source of kaempferol and isothiocyanates, both anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli also has a significant amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which is a well-known anti-inflammatory.

4. Flaxseed oil has a balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  The omega 3fatty acids reduce inflammation.  Research studies show lignans can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.  It was also found that lignans may play an important role in increasing breast cancer survival.

5. Green Tea contains many anti-inflammatory flavonoids.  A 2002 study found the most abundant catechin of green tea (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) to be a potent anti-inflammatory compound with therapeutic potential.  The antioxidant properties of green tea are so effective that studies have shown a 22% risk of developing breast cancer, a 48% reduced risk of prostate cancer, and an amazing 57% reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

6. Garlic can help reduce inflammation.  At Washington State University they found garlic to be 100 times more effective than two antibiotics at fighting the Campylobacter bacterium –one of the causes of intestinal illness.

7. Ginger, one of my favorite foods for many reasons, also helps reduce inflammation and control blood sugar.  Ginger tea is a great addition to any diet.  A study published in the National Library of Medicine compared ginger extract to common painkillers and found ginger to be very effective in reducing pain – an indicator of inflammation.

8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil helps fight inflammation. Its abundant polyphenols protect the heart and blood vessels from inflammation.

9. Onions contain quercetin, a potent antioxidant that can help your body fight inflammation. Onions stimulate the respiratory tract and help to expel sputum (phlegm).  They also contain antioxidants which may be helpful in treating certain cancers.

10. Seaweed, which we don’t hear nearly enough about concerning its healing properties, contains a complex carbohydrate called fucoidan that has been shown to reduce inflammation.  Seaweeds contain14 times more calcium by weight than milk, and are excellent thyroid supporters. Kelp, kombu, dulse, wakame and arame are all good seaweeds to incorporate into your diet.

11. Spinach is one of the highest nutrient-dense foods on the planet.  It contains a unique mixture of phytonutrients, is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components which help protect against cellular damage.

12. Turmeric, another popular food of the day has many anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to be more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.  Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway at the molecular level. Turmeric is another regular ingredient in my green smoothies.

Of course, having a bit of some of these foods periodically will not produce the same sort of health boost and immunity protection than will gradually adding more and more of them into your meal planning on a regular basis. I encourage you to do that. You deserve to feel your very best for a long, long time.

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