Persistent inflammation can cause chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. The key to reducing this inflammation may not be in your medicine cabinet but rather in your refrigerator. The bad type of inflammation results from poor lifestyle choices such as bad diet and smoking. Studies suggest that a healthy diet of antioxidant rich foods like leafy greens, berries, nuts, seeds and certain spices can help combat the inflammatory process and actually help prevent illness.
Here are some foods that you should start incorporating into your diet:
These beauties are low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat, they are natures anti-inflammatory fruit. Avocados are full of potassium and lutein which may help lower blood pressure and control inflammation. They are also low in sugar and high in fiber. The best part is that they are available all year round.
The blue pigments that you see in these berries are called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are a class of antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory powers. Studies suggest that eating blueberries boost anti-inflammatory cytokines and immune cells that fight off harmful pathogens and they also limit oxidative stress. Peak season for blueberries is in the season but they are available all year round!
Ginger root contains functional compounds that reduce the formation of free radicals and prevent the formation of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The functional compounds found in ginger root are known as shogaol, gingerols and paradols. The anti-inflammatory powers in ginger not only ease muscle pain after exercise but they may also help treat diseases and conditions ranging from cancer to osteoarthritis. Ginger is also known for easing nausea and indigestion issues.
This superfood is high in vitamins A and C which are antioxidants that help mitigate the inflammatory process. Kale is also a wonderful source of vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting and bone health. One cup of kale provides 1180%, 98% and 71% of the daily value of vitamins K, A and C respectively.
Nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain vitamin E which assists in the lubrication of joints and protects the body from inflammatory cytokines. Eating nuts is an excellent way to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Try adding in heart healthy nuts to your oatmeal in the morning or your salad at lunch. They add a great crunch!
This delicious treat has long been known as a great source of anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Studies have shown that regular consumption of dark chocolate is associated with reduced levels of C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is a substance produced by the liver in response to inflammation. The bioflavonoids in raw chocolate help boost mood and the theobromine may help improve blood flow. Another benefit is that it is a great source of magnesium, fiber and iron. Look for dark chocolate that has 70% or more cacao content.
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