Add these 5 anti-inflammatory foods to your daily diet to fight inflammation and help protect your body from chronic diseases!
First off: What is inflammation?
So, I have noticed that inflammation has become kind of a health buzzword lately, yet most people don’t really know what it means. Let’s take a look.
Let me start by saying that inflammation is not all bad. We actually need inflammation to exist!
In broad terms, inflammation is your immune system’s response to a stimulus. An inflammatory response means your immune system is ‘fighting against something that might be harmful.’
So, while inflammation is often presented as something negative, it’s actually essential in small amounts for immune-surveillance and host defense.
The human body uses inflammation to help fight illness and protect our body from further harm.
However, too little and too much inflammation both cause problems.
When people refer to the damaging nature of inflammation, they’re usually talking about chronic or long-term inflammation.
As a fact, most chronic diseases are thought to be rooted in this low-grade inflammation that persists over time.
This inflammation may go unnoticed, which is problematic. Ongoing inflammation alters normal body processes and cells. That can cause long-term damage and increase your likelihood of developing a chronic condition.
Amongst these chronic conditions are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, (non-alcoholic) fatty liver disease, obesity, autoimmune disorders, bowel disease – even clinical depression.
Food plays an important role here as it can either help reduce or promote chronic inflammation. The best measure a person can take to prevent or reduce inflammation is to focus on an anti-inflammatory diet.
As a bonus, anti-inflammatory diet also slows the aging process by stabilizing blood sugar and increasing metabolism. (*)
Beat Inflammation by including these 5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods into your daily diet:
While there’s still more research to be done on the topic, we DO know one thing:
Filling your plate with these anti-inflammatory foods while dialing back on ones that cause inflammation may have a powerfully positive effect on your body’s ability to fight off future diseases and slow down the aging process.
Yes, that guacamole you love is actually very good for you.
Avocados are high in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, two anti-inflammatory powerhouses that improve your skin, joints, brain function, and cardiovascular health.
Add avocado slices to your favorite salad, wrap them in prosciutto, or make a tasty shrimp and avocado salsa for dinner. Heck, you can even have an Avocado Margarita!
Ok, Turmeric – aka. the superfood of the moment. Like ginger, this bright orange root has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.
Turmeric is one of the most powerful and versatile anti-inflammatory foods available.
Its health properties come from the active compound curcumin, which is very a strong anti-inflammatory agent.
It has even been found more effective than aspirin and ibuprofen at reducing inflammation. And that without the health risks, over-the-counter meds carry.
Turmeric is also effective at slowing and preventing blood clots, and it might even be a gentle way to combat Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. However, small amounts of fat and black pepper enhance the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%, so make sure you combine those three together!
Tips for cooking with turmeric:
A teaspoon of turmeric adds a beautiful color to all soups and curries! Don’t forget to add that pinch of pepper for better absorption!
I also like to add some to my protein shake, along with some blueberries and spinach for an anti-inflammatory drink!
Blueberries are full of antioxidants – reactive molecules in food that reduce the number of free radicals.
What are free radicals, you ask? They are molecules in the body that may damage cells and increase the risk of certain diseases.
While all berries are healthy, blueberries are definitely special, as they don’t only have the most antioxidants, but also more types of antioxidants.
In a nutshell, they provide a wide range of anti-inflammatory protection each time you add a handful to your smoothies or salads.
4. Leafy Greens
There’s a reason why leafy greens are every nutrition’s favorite food.
First off, just like blueberries, they are rich in antioxidants. But they also provide an array of vitamins and anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
With as little as half a cup of spinach, you can already get your daily recommended dose of vitamin K, which helps protect cells against oxidative stress.
So you’ve tried spinach and didn’t like it? That’s ok! The beauty of leafy greens is that there are so many and you will definitely find one that you really enjoy.
While spinach and kale are amongst the most common, I encourage you to also experiment with less common greens. Why not try some Swiss chard, arugula, collard greens, and mustard greens? They are just as healthy and delicious.
Aim for eating these anti-inflammatory foods once or twice a day. A very achievable goal once you have a couple of recipes!
5. Bone Broth
Bone broth contains proline, glycine, and arginine. These are big players in the anti-inflammatory game. These elements are highly concentrated in bone broth. Therefore, people suffering from inflammation will benefit greatly from consuming it.
Now there’s store-bought broth and there’s bone broth. To get the high-quality stuff, I recommend you make it yourself.
Now, making your own bone broth sounds intimidating but trust me, it is EASY! Remember that simplest is always best and my bone broth recipe is one of the easiest things to make.
Now that you know what inflammation is and how to prevent it, you can go ahead and start incorporating more of these anti-inflammatory foods into your daily diet.
Make sure to browse my recipe database for some inspiration and examples of healthy meal prep!
1. C. Franceschi et al. Inflammaging and anti-inflammation: A systemic perspective on aging and longevity emerged from studies in humans. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. January 2007. 128:1; 92-105.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mad.2006.11.016
2. Harvard Health. Foods that fight inflammation. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation