A huge part of eating right is about eating the proper foods for your body. Too many people get all caught up in calorie counting and checking their macros that they forget to bring health into the mix.
Certain foods have a much richer supply of vitamins, minerals, and namely, anti-oxidants, all of which are going to keep your body feeling its best. Today we are here to talk about inflammation specifically. What is it and how can you combat it?
What Is Inflammation
In the short term, inflammation is actually a great thing. It is your body’s response to an injury and can help to accelerate the healing process. When you become inflamed, your body sends extra resources to that area, helping to repair whatever damage is taking place and getting you well again.
The problem in today’s world, however, is that many of us live in a state of constant and continual inflammation. We are no longer just inflamed for a few days and then get better. Our entire system is becoming inflamed, which is putting us in serious health jeopardy.
What causes inflammation?
There are many things in your life that can lead to unwanted inflammation so it’s very challenging to point the finger at just one or two things. For many people, it’s a combination of factors all working together to put them into an inflamed state.
· An inability to eliminate whatever was causing acute inflammation in the first place
· An autoimmune disorder where your immune system actually begins attacking your own healthy cells because it thinks that it’s a pathogen
· A particular irritant such as a chemical that you are being exposed to for a lengthy period of time
· A poor diet that doesn’t let the body properly heal itself because of the harmful foods you are taking in
Few people have a very thorough understanding of how much their bad diet is hurting their health and leading to this unwanted inflammation so it really takes taking a step back and considering the impact of your choices.
Some of the symptoms associated with chronic levels of inflammation include:
· Low energy levels/fatigue
· Joint pain and troubles
· A general feeling of being unwell
· Experiencing discomfort and distress in the body on a day to day basis
While you can, of course, take anti-inflammatory medications to help get the condition under control, this is less than ideal as you are still putting foreign substances into your body and that does not come without side effects.
It’s a much better approach to do it naturally if you can, turning to natural solutions – such as foods – to help combat chronically high levels of inflammation and get you feeling better again.
The Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Now that you know a little more about what inflammation is, it’s time to talk about the foods that can help you get past the inflammation you’re experiencing. By eating an anti-inflammatory diet, you can really help improve your health standing and help minimize the pain you are experiencing.
While food alone may not be enough to help you completely rid yourself of pain in the short term, if you keep eating right for many months and years, you will definitely see your symptoms improving dramatically.
Let’s go over the key foods you need to focus on getting into your diet plan today.
A green that most people never even stop to think about using, Swiss chard is loaded with vitamins and minerals along with antioxidants. Any leafy green vegetable is going to be a great choice for decreasing inflammation but this one seems to really rise above the rest.
It has a high level of anti-inflammatory flavonoids and is also a rich source of vitamin A, C, as well as K, which help to combat oxidative stress in the brain.
Swiss chard is also lower in calories, so it is good food for helping to optimize your body weight, which also keeps inflammation down. Being overweight is one of the key factors linked to chronic inflammation so anything you can do to keep your body weight in that healthy range is definitely beneficial.
Here’s one that may come as quite the surprise to you: celery is actually a wonderful food for decreasing inflammation in the body1. When most people think of celery, they tend to think of nothing much more than water. But in actuality, celery is so much more.
Celery actually has both antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory benefits and it can be great for lowering blood pressure levels. This is because it’s a rich supply of both water (which helps eliminate excess water retention) as well as potassium, which also helps to lower blood pressure since it counteracts the impacts sodium has on the blood vessels.
If you really want to get the most from this food, consider purchasing celery seeds and use them ground up or whole in your cooking. This may help to lower inflammation and will also provide vitamins to the body.
Celery is another one that is very low in calories as well, so there is really no excuse for not getting it into your diet plan.
There has been a lot of talk about beets lately, although more in the athletic realm of things. The reason why beets have become so popular is that they contain a compound called nitrates, which helps to create nitric oxide in the body. When nitric oxide is present, the blood vessels will dilate and this can help with blood flow to and from the heart.
This not only helps you get a better workout in as a result of things but can also go a long way towards helping to improve your heart health as well.
What’s more though is that beets do contain antioxidants that help to provide anti-inflammatory benefits as well2. They are a rich source of both potassium and magnesium, which are important for bringing down overall inflammation levels in your body and helping get your system back on track.
When people are deficient in magnesium, this can often be linked with inflammatory-related conditions, so getting enough in daily is critical.
Here’s a green that you’ve probably already been told to eat time and time again. As it turns out, it really is that healthy. The great thing about broccoli is that it’s rich in both potassium and magnesium as well and also contains flavonoids and carotenoids that help to add to the anti-inflammatory benefits it brings.
Broccoli has been long known to help reduce your risk of developing certain cancers as well, so that’s yet another reason to consider adding it to your diet plan.
Those who consume broccoli on a regular basis also tend to be more regular because this food is also very high in dietary fiber.
Eat it raw, steam it, stir-fry it, or add it to salads – there is plenty of different ways to bring broccoli into your daily plan.
Another important food you need to be eating more often in your diet plan is the blueberry. Blueberries tend to be most well-known for enhancing your brain health as they have been shown to help combat brain-related conditions such as dementia and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease.
Blueberries are rich in the anti-inflammatory compound quercetin, so are great for your entire body3.
They also contain anthocyanins, which have other great health boost properties and can help combat diseases such as cancer.
Of all the fruits you could eat in your diet found in the supermarket, blueberries are one of the healthiest, so definitely a food you’ll want to make more of an effort to get into your plan.
Another fruit to consider adding to your protocol is pineapple. One unique thing about pineapples is that they actually contain digestive enzymes as well, which will help with the breakdown of the foods that you eat.
Finishing off your meal with some pineapples is a great idea to help prevent indigestion and ensure that the protein you consume is readily utilized as it should be.
Pineapple also contains anti-inflammatory properties and may help to boost your immune system as well, ensuring your body feels strong and healthy – capable of tackling whatever your day brings.
In addition to this, pineapple is also great for improving heart health as well, as it may help to stop blood platelets from sticking together or building up on the walls of the blood vessels.
With the high vitamin C content, it has to offer as well, this is also another reason it’s a great option for boosting immune system health.
In addition to adding pineapple to your diet, be sure that you load up on a quality digestive enzyme product such as MassyZmes as well. This will help keep you covered and ensure you are able to break down anything you happen to eat that day.
An article about healthy foods would not be complete without salmon coming into the picture. Salmon is a rich source of protein and offers a wide array of great health benefits.
First, because it is the high-quality protein you’re looking for, it’s ideal for anyone who’s hoping to improve their lean muscle mass building efforts. If you’re hitting the gym, getting enough protein into your day will be imperative and salmon makes this easier.
Second, it’s also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are important for keeping inflammation down, your brain healthy, your heart health in check, and for improving insulin sensitivity to name just a few benefits4.
Omega-3 fatty acids are really the single most important nutrient you must take in as the body cannot manufacture it on its own. Apart from protein (which is necessary to sustain life), omega-3 fatty acids cannot be overlooked.
Salmon is also going to provide a good dose of vitamin D to the body as well, which is essential as vitamin D is important for building strong bones, keeping your hormone levels healthy and enhancing skin, hair and nail health as well. If you are interested in improving sports performance, vitamin D also plays a key role in keeping up your athletics.
Finally, salmon is a rich source of vitamin B12, providing over 200% of your total daily needs. This nutrient is important for keeping your metabolic rate and energy levels optimized.
You’ll also want to consider adding coconut oil to your diet to help combat inflammation. While olive oil is often regarded as the health-boosting oil to use – and it is one of the healthiest options – coconut oil must also not be overlooked.
Coconut oil is a form of medium chain triglycerides and these react slightly differently in the body compared to normal dietary fats. They are available for energy almost immediately and will also be great when used for improving body composition.
They react like carbs in the body but don’t spike blood glucose levels. This allows you to keep burning fat for hours to come after eating them. When you eat carbohydrates, on the other hand, all fat burning processes come to a stop.
Coconut oil is also great for improving immune system strength and for enhancing heart health as well, so you can expect to receive those benefits.
Flaxseeds are next up on the list of good foods to eat for keeping your inflammation levels in check and as low as possible. We spoke about how salmon was a very rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, however, flaxseeds are as well.
They also provide a good dose of antioxidants along with dietary fiber, healthy fats, and protein, proven to be a very well-balanced and beneficial food.
Flaxseeds are a good source of vitamin B1, manganese, as well as magnesium, all of which will provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Try sprinkling flaxseeds on your morning bowl of oatmeal or adding them to your smoothie if you’re struggling to find ways of including them into your daily diet plan.
Finally, while not a food per se, turmeric must not be overlooked. Turmeric is one of the best spices that you can add in your diet as it’s full of antioxidant properties and will help to lower inflammation while reducing the symptoms of so many health concerns5.
Turmeric has been known to help everything from decreasing the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis to helping combat migraines in those who suffer regularly.
The primary compound in turmeric that helps it be so beneficial is curcumin, so if you ever just want to take a supplement instead, this is the one that you’ll want to be turning to.
In fact, research has shown that curcumin can be more powerful than taking conventional over the counter pain relievers when it comes to lowering inflammation in the body.
As turmeric is an all-natural solution, it’s definitely the preferable one.
So there you have a few of the best foods to eat if you want to defy inflammation and get your body back to feeling as healthy as possible. Inflammation is not something to fear over the short term but when it adds up over time and becomes chronic, that’s when you definitely have a problem on your hands that needs to be addressed if you hope to stay well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is inflammation in the body?
Inflammation is when your body’s immune response triggers a reaction that brings additional white blood cells into play to fight off what it considers an injury or foreign invader. When inflammation becomes chronic, it leads to diseases and conditions.
How do you get rid of inflammation in the body?
There’s not just one way to get rid of inflammation in the body, but the common approach is to cut back on all refined foods, be sure that you aren’t eating any excess sugar, maintain a healthy body weight, keep your stress level lower, and eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as you can.
What are the signs that you have extra inflammation in the body?
The most commons signs include fatigue, chronic pain that does not go away, gut problems, swollen lymph nodes, skin related problems, and brain fog.
- Ovodova, Raisa G., et al. “Chemical composition and anti-inflammatory activity of pectic polysaccharide isolated from celery stalks.” Food Chemistry 114.2 (2009): 610-615.
- Olendzki, Barbara C., et al. “An anti-inflammatory diet as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a case series report.” Nutrition journal 13.1 (2014): 5.
- Torri, Eliane, et al. “Anti‐inflammatory and antinociceptive properties of blueberry extract (Vaccinium corymbosum).” Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology 59.4 (2007): 591-596.
- Simopoulos, Artemis P. “Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases.” Journal of the American College of nutrition 21.6 (2002): 495-505.
- Nasri, Hamid, et al. “Turmeric: A spice with multifunctional medicinal properties.” Journal of HerbMed Pharmacology 3 (2014).