Inflammation is a naturally occurring process within the body, designed to help the body heal from injury or disease. The immune system triggers it in response to a perceived threat, such as a cut or an illness. Acute inflammation, which occurs over a usually short period, is a beneficial tool that helps return your body to its healthiest state.
However, chronic inflammation, which occurs over an extended period (and is often less intense), is the kind that is linked to autoimmune conditions, prolonged stress, and debilitating disease.
Chronic disease stems from chronic inflammation within the body. There is sufficient evidence to show that this prolonged immune response can influence heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even obesity. So by addressing the root cause, we begin to adopt a holistic, preventative approach to healing. And one of the best ways we know how to remedy and reduce inflammation in the body is with proper nutrition.
Are you looking to eat better to feel better? Maybe even to live longer? Then our top 5 foods to eat, and to avoid, to lower your chance for chronic inflammation is just for you!
5 of the Best Foods To Eat to Reduce Inflammation
The plant contains over 300 beneficial compounds, many of which are strong anti-inflammatories, and a single-serve is thought to contain 20 times the antioxidant power of blueberries. This is largely due to the presence of powerful and potent polyphenols, the naturally occurring antioxidants that are found in a wide range of foods (including wine)! In particular, cacao* is abundant in flavanols, which have been sought out for centuries due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
CACAO VS. COCOA: What is the difference?
Raw cacao* is made from cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, reducing the enzyme content, and lowering the overall nutritional value.
The major antioxidant found in blueberries, anthocyanin, is what gives this berry its gorgeous deep blue color and is largely thought to be responsible for the antiinflammatory capabilities, along with the high fiber and vitamins A, C, and E content. But what makes this rich berry a powerful antioxidant lies in the essential monomers* when broken down in the body.
Monomers* are the building blocks of the basic macromolecules that make up the human body. So when digesting food and obtaining nutrients, the body breaks proteins, carbohydrates, and fats/lipids down into their monomers. From here, the body can use these to rebuild different structures it may need for survival. Studies show that blueberries protect the brain, prevent damage to our DNA, and inhibit cancer cell development. Emerging research has even shown that they have been proven to kill cancer cells and reduce tumor size, so make sure to grab fresh, organic blueberries next time you’re at the markets!
Flaxseeds are a powerhouse seed rich in vital nutrients for health and wellbeing, including anti-inflammatory properties and a healthy dose of fatty acids. These seeds have been used in the human diet for over 5000 years. They are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but they’re most famous for their high levels of plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid.
While flaxseeds have a delightful crunch in granola or tossed through a salad, they are best-eaten ground for ultimate nutrient absorption, or in a quality cold-pressed oil.
#4 LEAFY GREENS
Dark green veggies, such as collard greens and spinach, are a rich source of vitamin C and magnesium. These are both important in converting tryptophan and tyrosine amino acids to serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel joyful. A good dose of greens every day is a must!
Greens like kale, arugula, silverbeet, spinach, chard, and collard greens, offer a rich nutritional profile with high concentrations of micronutrients that reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
If it seems like turmeric is the answer to all of your health worries, that’s probably because it is. This humble root has been proven to reduce inflammation, support cognitive function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, improve skin health and conditions, and may even aid in fighting cancer.
Curcumin is the compound found in turmeric that helps the spice work its magic. In its whole form, Curcumin has been praised in studies for its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, and antioxidant properties. It’s also what gives turmeric its gorgeous, burnt orange color. Try adding black pepper to your turmeric recipes, it may help the body absorb curcumin more effectively.
5 Foods to Avoid for Inflammation
#1 GMO SOY PRODUCTS – As of 2007, 91% of the soy planted in the United States is genetically modified, making soy the largest genetically modified food source in the US. The US is also one of the largest exporters of soy. The health benefits of soy continue to be debated, but the best soy is again labeled clearly that it is organic and is fermented.
#2 CANOLA OIL – This oil is a processed oil, which goes through multiple steps to remain shelf-stable. In fact, these production processes are tied to health concerns such as heart disease, inflammation, cellulite, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and asthma.
Where possible, it’s best to switch to an omega-3-promoting oil such as;
• Grass-fed butter or ghee
• Extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
• Coconut oil
#3 GMO CORN PRODUCTS – If you want non-GMO corn, look for the label, USDA-certified organic, as the only guarantee that your corn is not genetically modified.
#4 CONVENTIONAL FACTORY-FARMED ANIMAL PRODUCTS – It’s a general rule of thumb for a broad category of food, but if you’re someone who eats animal products, make sure they’re from free-range, ethical sources that adhere to health-promoting practices – because the health of the animal ultimately impacts the nutrient value of the food.
#5 MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (MSG OR E621) – MSG is a commonly used flavor enhancer. It’s what keeps you coming back for a second helping of takeout meals; it’s addictive, and it’s having dangerous impacts on our health.
Access our recipes here, and enjoy eating well again!
in part from FOODMATTERS.COM