Inflammation is the body’s response to harmful stimulus and occurs naturally in the body. We rely on this protective response from the immune system to eliminate injury to our cells and initiate repair. But when this function is out of balance, it can cause harm to our bodies. Over activity of the immune system, or chronic inflammation, can lead to a number of diseases and symptoms such as Rheumatoid arthritis/joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.
To help curb chronic inflammation and keep our bodies in balance, it is best to avoid inflammatory foods (those high in sugar and saturated fats) and consume more anti-inflammatory foods (those rich in omega-3s and antioxidants). By eating more anti-inflammatory foods, you may find it easier to lose weight, slow down aging, and prevent disease. Check out the list below for anti-inflammatory foods worth eating:
Colorful Fruits & Vegetables:
(i.e. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets; blueberries, strawberries, red grapes, oranges, cherries)
Next time you’re in the produce section, pick up colorful fruits and veggies that catch your eye. These foods are jam-packed with flavonoids and carotenoids (the substances that give them their color), which are excellent antioxidants. These antioxidant-rich roods can help fight off and repair damage caused by inflammation.
Dark Leafy Greens:
(i.e. Spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens)
Dark greens are thought to have more vitamins and minerals than greens of a lighter color. High concentrations of vitamin E, calcium and iron help protect the body and fight disease.
(i.e. brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats)
According to Dr. Weil, “whole grains digest slowly, reducing frequency of spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation.” Naturally low in fat and rich in fiber, whole grains are important for a healthy diet.
Beans and Legumes
(i.e. chickpeas, lentils, black beans)
Low on the glycemic index, beans are full of folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and fiber, and high in protein and iron. Incorporate different types of beans into your diet to help keep inflammation at bay.
(i.e. wild-caught salmon)
Fatty fish provide a wealth of omega-3 fatty acids (a powerful anti-inflammatory). To optimize the benefits, eat fish twice a week and prepare it in a healthy manner (baked or boiled versus fried).
(i.e. almonds, walnuts)
Healthy fats, such as nuts, help repair damage caused by inflammation. Nuts offer a beneficial dose of fiber, calcium, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.