Top foods that fight inflammation
We all have some level of inflammation in the body, and while not all inflammation is bad, chronic inflammation can lead to disease and is a foundational issue in many who have autoimmune disease. In functional medicine, we talk a lot about how food is medicine. What we eat can either fuel or reduce our risk of disease. Our nutrient status is liked to our immune health, and while I talk a lot about the foods that should come OUT of our diet, here is a list of foods you should consider adding IN to your diet.
Berries: There are so many different types of berries, but strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet. Full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, berries have antioxidants that can help support your health.
Antioxidants are substances that have the ability to prevent or slow the damage to cells that is caused by free radicals. What's that? Free radicals are unstable molecules that the body produces in reaction to environmental pressures including things like stress. Think of free radicals like car exhaust. It is waste that is produced by cells. Let's say you were in a garage with the car on, the garage would fill up with exhaust and if there was no window or door open or air filter, the garage could not remove or process that exhaust. That is what happens in the body as free radicals, waste substances produced by cells (aka the exhaust), cannot be removed efficiently by the body. The result: oxidative stress which can harm the body. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals in our bodies. So, eat those berries!
Fatty fish: A great source of protein, fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids (the good kind).
Look for salmon, sardines and anchovies. Granted, your preferred fatty fish is probably going to be salmon, but if you love sardines, add them into a salad as often as you like! People who eat fatty fish are more likely to see a reduction in inflammatory markers (i.e. C-reactive protein or CRP).
Green tea: I've never met a green tea or matcha I didn't like! High in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (a substance called EGCG), green tea can support the reduction of inflammatory markers. Green tea has many health benefits including supporting fat loss and fat burning, improving brain function, and protecting against cancer risk.
Extra virgin olive oil: A healthy fat, extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and linked to reduced inflammatory markers. Pour a little extra on that salad and make sure to use extra virgin olive oil instead of refined olive oil.
Turmeric: This warm, earthy spice contains curcumin which is a powerful and well-known for its anti-inflammatory compounds. Turmeric can reduce inflammation, and hint, if you use it, make sure to combine it with black pepper which can boost its absorption.
I would also add dark, leafy greens and nuts and seeds to this list.
Wondering how to make a great anti-inflammatory lunch or dinner? Throw together some greens, top with berries, walnuts, salmon and put some olive oil and lemon as dressing and you are good to go!
For information on the surprising hidden causes of inflammation, see this FREE GUIDE!