As we approach middle-age, it seems inevitable that aches, pains, inflammation and arthritis will settle in. Inflammation isn’t necessarily bad. Acute inflammation is used by the body when injury occurs, such as a cut or sprained ankle. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, problems occur throughout the body and disease settles in (1,2).
Scientists now know that most chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, have their beginnings in chronic inflammation somewhere in the body. It has also been discovered that avoiding certain foods, while including other, healthier, anti-inflammatory foods, can reduce inflammation and reverse disease.
Which foods should you avoid?
Everyone LOVES junk food, refined foods and processed foods. They are delicious and addictive. When eaten in moderation, along with a, anti-inflammatory diet, these foods can have a small place in a healthy lifestyle. However they can also be deadly when eaten in excess or too frequently. What should you avoid? (1)
- refined carbohydrates: such as white bread, pasta, donuts or pastries
- fried foods: including french fries, fried chicken, etc.
- sugary beverages: soda, sports drinks, fruit juice, bottled smoothies, etc.
- processed meat: packaged lunch meat, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, etc.
- trans-fats – margarine, shortening, vegetable oil (corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, soy bean oil)
What are the top ten anti-inflammatory foods?
All whole, organic foods are a wonderful addition to any healthy diet. However certain foods are best to reduce chronic inflammation due to certain properties and nutrients included in those foods. What do these anti-inflammatory foods have that helps reduce inflammation? These foods are high in one or more of the following things (2):
- essential fatty acids
There are actually more than 10 foods that are considered anti-inflammatory. However, in my search, I found the following foods on more than one list (1,2,3,4,5).
- green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, swiss chard, etc) high in the antioxidants vitamin A and C, as well as vitamin K,
- blueberries – high in the flavonoid quercetin. This substance is known to fight inflammation as well as cancer.
- broccoli – loaded with key anti-inflammatory nutrients including: vitamins K, C, B6, E, A and folate, as well as chromium and manganese.
- turmeric – a key component in turmeric is called curcumin. This substance is a scientifically proven anti-inflammatory agent. Studies have shown it to be more effective than aspirin.
- green-tea – contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids, known to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
- beets – contains the antioxidant betalain, which gives it the distinctive color. Betalain is a known anti-inflammatory benefits. It inhibits the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes.
- pineapple – contains a digestive enzyme known as bromelain. This enzyme is known to decrease asthmatic inflammation, relieve post-exercise inflammation, and stop blood platelets from sticking to each other, or to blood vessel walls (a known cause of heart attacks/strokes)
- nuts (especially walnuts) -Walnuts contain the essential fatty acid omega 3. They help protect against metabolic syndrome, heart disease and diabetes.
- Wild caught salmon – one of the best sources of omega 3, essential fatty acid, known as one of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances.
- Bone broth – contains easily absorbed nutrients including: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur. Also contains glucosamine and chondrotin, which are structural components of joints and known to help alleviate arthritis pain. Bone broth is packed amino acids and gelatin known to reduce inflammation and rebuild the lining of the digestive tract
Making small changes toward a healthier lifestyle is the best way. It’s often difficult to suddenly change your entire life. Begin by slowly eliminating each of the inflammatory causing foods listed above. At the same time, replace that food with one of the 10 anti-inflammatory foods discussed in this article. Before long, you’ll have switched to a whole food diet and will never look back.
Until next time…Namaste my friends