Inflammation isn’t exactly the terrible disease it’s sometimes touted to be. Actually, it’s simply a natural bodily function that occurs when your body is injured or ill. But in some cases, inflammation can cause problems, not to mention discomfort.
What Is Inflammation?
During inflammation, the lymphatic (immune) system gets to work, which means that blood flow increases and white blood cells flood the troubled area. This can result in heat, pain, redness and swelling. At the very least, it can be uncomfortable and result in bloating. This is evident when you suffer a cut or wound and the area around it raises, reddens, becomes hot (and runs with the extra flow of blood). In other words, it’s healing.
While healing is good, when healthy working tissue is affected, this can result in detrimental health conditions. Autoimmune disorders such as leaky gut are common conditions, along with arthritis and fibromyalgia symptoms. Irritable bowel disease (IBD) can also be a result of inflammation. Inflammation takes other forms, too, such as in asthma, causing inflammation of the airways.
Fortunately, lots of foods are naturally anti-inflammatory, so having an anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t require getting anything super-unsual in. If you’re looking to find out the very best anti-flammatory foods, consider this your reading list…
Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens come up as one of the most healthy foods in the world. One of the many ways that leafy greens are good for you is because of their antioxidant properties, along with anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
Blueberries are good for your body and mind alike. One of the reasons for this is the blueberry’s quercetin content, which is a flavonoid that can reduce inflammation and in turn help with conditions including colon concerns and cognitive decline.
Walnuts, like blueberries, are good for cognitive health as well as physical health. This is because of their naturally high omega fatty acid content, which when added to a salad of leafy greens will positively contribute to your anti-inflammatory diet.
Beetroots are full of the antioxidant, betalain, which is a top anti-inflammatory, along with the reason for beets’ vivid colour. They’re also a great source of potassium and magnesium, which are essential minerals necessary for everyday health.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that’s recommended in most diets, as it’s a top source of the antioxidants, potassium and magnesium, which held to reduce oxidative stress in the body.
Celery makes a great low-calorie snack, but it also boasts both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers that can help to prevent heart disease, and also manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Chia seeds are also full of those good fatty acids and are a premier antioxidant anti-inflammatory.
Flax seeds are another readily available snack that are full of omega-3 fatty acids. To make the most of their anti-inflammatory benefits, it’s advised by many that you first grind them up to make things easier on your digestive system, or alternatively supplement you diet with flax seed powder.
Turmeric is full of curcumin, which is a formidable anti-inflammatory component. If you’re not familiar with this tasty spice, you may know it without realising from curries.
Pro Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
While it’s a great start to actively include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, avoiding pro-inflammatory foods can be equally important. In fact, they can often be the cause of health problems that are made worse by inflammation.
The first foods to avoid are those that include saturated and trans-fatty acids. Unfortunately, the main culprit is junk food. Processed foods are full of saturated and trans-fatty acids, which not only provide your body with empty calories and little nutritional value, they can also lead to obesity, and even further down the line, diseases like diabetes or heart disease. Refined grains and harmful fats can cause inflammation, too, so finding healthy alternates are a must.
This supplement is an extract found in red-wine, which helps to fight inflammation and regulate the immune system’s response to infections.
Evening primrose supplements provide your body with gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. Gamma-linolenic acid is converted by you body into D-gamma-linolenic acid, which an excellent anti-inflammatory substance.
Take Home Message
Inflammation is a result of your body’s defence mechanisms over-compensating and ultimately effecting healthy tissue. It can also occur in conditions such as asthma and irritable bowel syndrome among many others. You can take charge of the uncomfortable and often painful symptoms of inflammation by controlling your diet, avoiding trans- and saturated fats, and including anti-inflammatory food sources into your regular intake.