Not long ago, I became interested in learning more about anti-inflammatory foods after my sister, Georgia, was diagnosed with celiac disease. Of course, eating a diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables is a wonderful thing to consume, learning about how various foods relate to chronic and autoimmune disorders can also be quite fascinating. So, what is inflammation and why would you need to eat these foods?
While the word itself sounds daunting, inflammation is actually a natural response by your body to a stressful situation. Inflammation is seen as being the first response as your immune system protects your body from infections, irritation and allergies. Even good sources of stress, such as exercise, can increase inflammation in your body.
Incorporating foods that are colorful, fresh, organic and in season are therefore seen as being the best medicine. I love green tea and try to eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon for dinner and chia seeds on my acai bowl at breakfast. These have been found to reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Colorful vegetables including spinach, kale and sweet potato, help detoxify the body and are especially good for people with inflammatory conditions like celiac disease and diabetes.
I’ve done some research and found five of the best anti-inflammatory foods that can be easily added to your shopping list:
1. Green Tea
Green tea is an ancient secret for fighting inflammation and warding off disease. It is rich in antioxidant molecules (known as catechins), which have been linked to a reduction in free-radical activity. Green tea is also a significant source of polyphenols, potent molecules with anti-aging properties, as well as a top neutralizing agent for disease-causing molecules.
Everyone knows that salmon is a top-rated superfood. Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are prime fighters of inflammation, including and especially those related to colorectal cancers.
Blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse and an easy addition to breakfast for fighting inflammation. They have the highest antioxidant quotient of all the species of berries and are notoriously antibacterial and antiviral. Special antioxidants found in blueberries have also been shown to stop replication of the hepatitis C virus.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts and kale are just a few examples of cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are anti-inflammatory foods that contain powerful cancer-fighting molecules (eg. inflammation busters). Consumed raw, their vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, taking down disease-causing molecules two at a time. Prepare these vegetables over heat to unlock the all the goodness and defeat cancer-causing agents.
Turmeric is a yellow Indian spice that in recent years has been credited with anti-inflammatory properties. In rodent studies, turmeric has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, blood glucose levels, reduce the risk of diabetes and improve weight-loss results.