Monday, October 25, 2021

7 Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Something all of us get at some time in our life is inflammation and we don’t want this staying in and around our bodies for too long. It’s because all diseases have an inflammatory component to them. There are recognized anti-inflammatory foods that can help.

One of the essential components in maintaining your true health and wellness is nutrition. Nutrition alone however doesn’t always ensure your overall health and wellbeing. Factors such as your attitude, degree of mobility, the environment in which you live, and the degree of toxins and stress levels you endure daily can all influence your general health.

Some degree of inflammation is needed for your survival since it helps you to fight infection. I like this explanation: “Inflammation is essentially the language that the body uses to express displeasure with the stimulus that it’s receiving.”

Inflammation can possess good or bad characteristics. For instance, if you cut yourself, inflammation at the site of your injury ensures enough white blood cells will effectively manage the wound, thus allowing the healing process to begin. This would be seen as a good characteristic.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a different story and requires immediate suppression, as this can lead to a whole host of symptoms such as allergies, high blood pressure, diabetes, joint pain, obesity, autoimmune diseases, and more. This would be viewed as a bad characteristic.

Sugar and trans fats aggravate inflammation and are best avoided. These are found in margarine, deep-fried foods, processed biscuits, and treats.

While some foods harm the body, there are those that are good for healing the body, even when the accident is due to trauma. To help you prevent chronic inflammation, here’s a video and a list of anti-inflammatory foods you might want to know about.

7 highly anti-inflammatory foods

1. Dark leafy greens

Kale, silverbeet, and spinach are all rich in chlorophyll. They contain plenty of antioxidants like Vitamin C and flavonoids to help protect against cell damage. Vitamin C’s powerful antioxidant plus electrolyte properties help boost the body’s immunity and reduce inflammation.

Recommendation: 3 or more cups/day of leafy greens

pineapples on a table
Bromelain found in pineapples is an anti-inflammatory, protein-digesting enzyme. (Image: Brooke Larke via Unsplash)

2. Pineapple

Eating the fiber-rich core of a juicy, well-ripened pineapple is the best way to consume natural sources of bromelain. Bromelain is a powerful anti-inflammatory, a protein-digesting enzyme. Other nutritional benefits include their high supply of vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium, manganese, and other special antioxidants, all of which help prevent diseases from forming.

Keep in mind that the riper the fruit is, the softer the core will be.  A word of caution:  for those on blood-thinning medication, it is advised to eat only a small amount of pineapple, as it can thin the blood in really high amounts. 

Recommendation: 1/2-1 cup per day.

3. Spirulina

This freshwater alga, known as a superfood, is made up of nearly 70 percent protein. It can be taken as a powder or capsule. It’s packed with antioxidants and is one of the richest sources of GLA.

GLA stands for gamma-linolenic acid and is an essential fatty acid that fights inflammation. It’s an excellent superfood for reducing the symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. 

Recommendation: 1-2 teaspoons/day.

4. Green tea, especially Matcha green tea

This tea helps speed up metabolism, making it great for weight loss, but it’s also loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that aid in aging naturally and gracefully. 

It’s also been shown to improve brain health, lower the risk of cancer, decrease belly fat, and reduce your risk of Type II Diabetes. 

Green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to the presence of chlorophyll and a special compound called “catechin,” which are believed to impact joint pain.

Recommendation:  4 or more cups/day

5. Coconut oil

This oil has so many uses that there are entire books devoted to it! Its high content of lauric acid makes it a powerful anti-inflammatory. Use it in smoothies, cooking, or even as a moisturizer! 

Recommendation: 1 tablespoon/day

Cracking walnuts with a hammer.
Walnuts are loaded with omega 3’s, which makes them great for improving our perception of pain that occurs in the brain. (Image: Marijana via Pixabay)

6. Walnuts

Walnuts are loaded with omega 3s, which makes them great for improving your perception of pain that occurs in the brain. Walnuts lower the production of certain neurotransmitters that contribute to both pain and inflammation. 

Recommendation: Approximately 20/day

7. Turmeric

Although it’s not classed as a food, is a well-known spice, found in Indian curries and used for thousands of years, so we couldn’t leave it off this list.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient found in turmeric and this has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression — both by destroying cancer cells and by promoting healthy cell function. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and blood purifier. 

I recommend choosing high-quality turmeric powder in lieu of curry powder to help you get more of the active curcumin. However, if you’re looking for more therapeutic effects, a supplement personalized for your condition may be in order. Indians eat about 4g of turmeric per day. I doubt most of you will be doing that.

Note that turmeric root itself contains only about 3 percent curcumin concentration. One method to increase its absorption in the body is to make an emulsion. 

Curcumin emulsion

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp of curcumin powder
  • 1-2 egg yolks
  • 1-2 tsp of melted coconut oil

Method:

  • Combine curcumin powder, egg yolks, and melted coconut oil 
  • Blend on high speed and serve
Let’s not forget the anti-inflammatory benefits of all our berries. (Image: Couleur via Pixabay)

Bear in mind that there are far more food items we can add to this list of seven; like the well-known fatty fish and Omega 3-rich seeds and oils, extra virgin olive oil, ginger, basil, celery, AND our favorite cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. And let’s not forget the anti-inflammatory benefits of all our berries.

The above list of foods provides plenty of variety and a mix of flavors so that when eaten often and in large enough quantities can reduce or eliminate chronic inflammation naturally.

Sheridan Genrich CGP is a naturopath and nutritionist who received her health science degree from Charles Sturt University, and also received the Dean’s Award for academic excellence. Sheridan mainly works with over-stretched professionals, entrepreneurs, and executives who struggle to be in their best health. Find her at Better Brain Health.

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Sheridan Genrich
I’m Sheridan, a clinical nutritionist, naturopath and iridologist based in Brisbane. My client base stretches Australia-wide and throughout the USA. I thrive on helping individuals and families find the missing pieces to enhance their mind and body, based on genetics, lifestyle and real food practices.
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