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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.