What is inflammation?
Did you know that inflammation is the leading cause of nearly all disease? When you think of inflammation, the first thing that comes to mind is usually swelling and redness. However, inflammation can present itself in many different forms which is why it’s so important to take care of our body from the inside out.
If you think about many of the diseases present today, most of them are inflammation-based including Alzheimer’s disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and arthritis.
Now the interesting thing about inflammation is that our bodies rely on inflammation as a protective mechanism. Inflammation is an integral part of the immune system. The issue arises when there is a chronic inflammatory response. With chronic inflammation, your body experiences wear and tear, and all difference types of conditions can occur. Some of the other commonly seen conditions stemming from inflammation include asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus.
Chronic inflammation can be a result of unhealthy eating habits, poor lifestyle choices, stress, excess weight, as well as other environmental factors. The great news is that there is something you can do about all of these inflammatory triggers. Following an anti-inflammatory diet is an excellent place to start.
What are anti-inflammatory foods?
Anti-inflammatory foods are the exact foods our bodies need to combat inflammation. These foods are especially important for someone who is currently suffering from chronic inflammation, or anyone who wants to prevent disease.
Anti-inflammatory foods include foods rich in antioxidants, and flavonoids that help neutralize free radicals in the body and prevent inflammation from spiraling out of control. A diet that is based around anti-inflammatory food consumption is based on healthy food principles. This includes principles from the Mediterranean diet where the focus in on healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, and seeds, with little to no red meat, and even a healthy glass of red wine every now and then. Other aspects of an anti-inflammatory diet include foods rich in antioxidants such as berries, dark leafy greens, and citrus fruits. You will also find an abundant amount of spices, herbs, cold-water fish, and cruciferous vegetables while following this dietary approach.
Foods such as wild-caught fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to help protect the body from the damage caused by inflammation. (1) Nuts and seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids making them a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet, and things like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts) contain sulforaphane which helps to block enzymes associated with joint deterioration and chronic inflammation. By including these foods in your diet, you are taking great strides in protecting your body from inflammation and ultimately protecting yourself from chronic disease.
To help get you started on your anti-inflammatory journey, here are a list of additional anti-inflammatory foods you can start to implement today:
- Olive oil
- Cayenne pepper
1. Inflammation Busting Tea
A delicious tea to either start or wind down your day. This tea is packed full of anti-inflammatory spices and will help combat free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body.
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 1 of ground turmeric
- 1 ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 1 raw honey
- Splash of unsweetened hemp milk
1. Start by adding all the spices to the base of a mug. Add the boiling water and steep for 10 minutes.
2. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the tea and add the raw honey and splash of hemp milk. Stir.
2. Raspberry Beet Smoothie
A perfect way to get fruits and veggies into your diet. This smoothie is refreshing, sweet, and is a great healthy snack or breakfast option. Cleanse your liver with fresh beets, and combat inflammation with fiber rich raspberries.
- 1 cup of unsweetened coconut water
- 1 cup of frozen raspberries
- ½ cup chopped fresh beet
- 1 cup of ice
- 2 Tbsp. Shredded coconut for topping
1. Add all ingredients minus the shredded coconut to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
2. Split into 2 servings and top with shredded coconut.
3. Enjoy right away.
Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer just to name a few so it’s critical to take your health into your own hands and do what you can to control inflammation today. The food you feed your body is something you can control, and it’s important to remember that the foods choices you make will either promote inflammation or prevent it.
Make the right choices to protect your health for the long run. Start by incorporating 2-3 anti-inflammatory foods into your diet each week. Swap out the inflammatory foods with the anti-inflammatory foods until your diet primarily consists of nutrient dense inflammation busting food options. Taking this step now will safeguard your health for the long run.