Inflammation has been drawing a lot of attention in the fields of health care and wellbeing. Find out what effects inflammation has on your body, and why naturally anti-inflammatory foods are such important allies in your everyday fight against disease.

Understanding Inflammation

Inflammation occurs when your body creates it as a quick way to heal with damage or disease, from cuts and bruises to colds and ‘flu. Your immune system increases blood flow to the injured or affected areas; it then produces heat to fight infection, and sends white blood cells to fight bacteria and mend damaged cells. As an immune response, inflammation is a helpful and necessary thing. However, when your body continuously produces chronic low-grade inflammation (triggered by conditions like chronic pain, ongoing infections, viruses or allergies), it can cause long-term damage. Recent research shows that those affected by chronic inflammation are at a higher risk of all sorts of diseases; including heart conditions, arthritis, diabetes and even certain types of cancer.

Luckily, keeping low-grade inflammation at bay can be easy, by including some wholesome, delicious natural anti-inflammatory foods in your daily diet. Top natural inflammation fighters include:


Papaya

This tasty tropical fruit is high in vitamin C, E and beta-carotene (pro-vit A), all of which have powerful antioxidant properties. It’s also a source of papain and chymopapain, protein-digesting enzymes which help reduce inflammation.


Blueberries

The blue beauties are rich in a range of phytonutrients, including flavanols, anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acid, which act as antioxidants and also as anti-inflammatory compounds.


Walnuts

Crunchy walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is your body converts to omega-3 fatty acids. Omegas are known as excellent anti-inflammatories.


Avocado

Avocados are a source of many different anti-inflammatory nutrients; omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, selenium and zinc. It’s really an all-round inflammation fighter.


Shiitake Mushrooms

These tasty mushrooms are a source of compounds like ergothioneine, which inhibits oxidative stress and inflammation.

Shiitake is also a great source of hard-to-find nutrients like copper, which is essential to good health and can’t be synthesized by the human body.


Garlic

This magical bulb is a great flu-fighter, with antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. Many of these benefits come from the sulfur-containing compounds found in garlic, such as allicin. As your body breaks down the allicin, it produces sulfenic acid, which helps to fight harmful free radicals.

Add garlic to your food in granule form or powder form


Broccoli

Broccoli is a source of the phytonutrients known as sulforaphane and kaempferol, which help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. They are also potentially anti-carcinogenic. On top of that, this groovy green veggie is a rich source of vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant.


From soups and smoothies to salads and sandwiches, there are so many great ways you can use these tasty ingredients to keep inflammation at bay.