Inflammation is an important part of the body’s natural healing process often triggered by an infection or injury. But when it becomes chronic, it can lead to many health issues such as heart disease, obesity, and even cancer. Eating certain foods can help reduce inflammation in the body and promote a healthy balance that will keep you feeling your best. We’ll explore the 8 best anti-inflammatory foods to help alleviate pain effectively.
Why Anti-Inflammatory Foods Are Important
Have you heard the old adage, “you are what you eat?” As children, we are taught this principle and it still stands true today. The food choices that we make can have a direct impact on our physical health, energy levels, and overall well-being.
Since I was in my twenties, I have suffered from swollen joints and chronic inflammation. Thankfully, after discovering that certain foods could help ease the symptoms of inflammation and even prevent future outbreaks, I began to experience real relief! By adding these anti-inflammatory diet staples into my daily meal plan, I am now able to manage my discomfort much better.
I’m sure you’re already familiar with the phrase “anti-inflammatory diet”, but do you know why inflammation in your body can be serious and how food plays a big part?
Acute Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation
The truth is that the actual process of inflammation itself isn’t detrimental. In fact, it’s actually designed to protect us; when our body is hurt or becomes ill, this inflammatory process starts an immune system response that helps us heal.
An integral part of the healing process, acute inflammation is triggered when your brain receives signals prompting it to send white blood cells for repair. It manifests as redness around a cut or wound and resolves itself once the body has fully healed.
Chronic inflammation is over a prolonged period of time and can be damaging to the body. It’s linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, joint pain, depression, and other long-term ailments.
Introducing Anti-Inflammatory Foods Into Your Diet
The best way to reduce inflammation-related pain and illnesses is by incorporating certain anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. And these powerful weapons against inflammation don’t come from the pharmacy – they’re found right in our gardens!
Research shows that some foods can drastically affect your C-reactive protein levels, a marker of inflammation in the blood. Refined sugars and processed prepackaged foods are particularly dangerous as they release inflammatory agents into the body which then cause chronic inflammation.
Before you add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, the first step is to quit eating processed or refined foods. Anything from sugary drinks and cereals, fast food items, and bread made with modern wheat will create inflammation in the body. You can read about healthy Einkorn Wheat.
Fortunately, anti-inflammatory foods are both easy to come by and highly effective!
8 Best Foods That Fight Inflammation in The Body
To begin to tackle inflammation, we should prioritize foods that contain high antioxidant levels to help our cells and tissues recover. Additionally, Omega-3s are key in controlling the inflammatory process within the body while simultaneously soothing any associated pain.
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, boasting numerous health benefits such as improved heart health and longer life. It’s packed with monounsaturated fats that promote healthy veins and polyphenols which act as antioxidants.
To ensure you obtain the greatest quality olive oil for your needs, always look for products bearing information about harvest date, that can be traced to a single farm, and their best-by date. You can learn more about choosing the best olive oil in this TFL article.
2. Dry Beans
You can find countless varieties of dried beans in stores, like black beans, pintos, and garbanzos. These packed pantry staples are chock-full of essential vitamins such as B complex, minerals, and vitamin K, plus they’re loaded with protein to help keep you full while providing lots of fiber! An added bonus? Dried beans boast a ton of antioxidants that make them an excellent addition to any plant-based diet.
The cruciferous family of veggies is often underappreciated, but one member – broccoli – deserves to have the spotlight. Loaded with phytochemicals called glucosinolates and powerful antioxidants, broccoli can effectively battle inflammation in your body! So don’t underestimate this underestimated veggie.
Not only is broccoli abundant in vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin A, but it’s also an incredibly versatile vegetable. Whether you prefer it grilled with olive oil and real salt or sautéed in grass-fed butter; tossed into a stir fry or covered in cheese – the possibilities are endless!
And don’t forget that steamy bowl of Broccoli Soup on those cold winter days. It not only warms your soul but nourishes your body too!
Almonds are packed with monounsaturated fats (comparable to olive oil), vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and plant protein – making them a great member of the anti-inflammatory food group. While they’re especially beneficial when eaten raw, why not make your healthy snack even tastier by adding some cacao powder and olive oil?
Carrots are renowned for their abundant beta-carotene, which transforms into vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is a key component to sustaining body health and possesses powerful antioxidant properties. Additionally, carrots contain zeaxanthin and lutein – two ingredients known to reduce inflammation within the body.
Avocados are not only rich in monounsaturated fats, but also provide a wealth of magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Merely half an avocado contains most of your daily recommended value for vitamins C, A, E, and B-complex! Plus who doesn’t enjoy the taste of freshly made guacamole?
Choosing blueberries as a regular part of one’s diet can provide a multitude of health benefits. As an anti-inflammatory food, they contain polyphenols and other micro-nutrients such as flavonoids, anthocyanidins, phenolic acids, and tannins which help to repair free radical damage done on the cellular level. Growing your own is also very simple in containers making them accessible to anyone!
8. Turmeric and Ginger
The combination of these two is unrivaled in how well they work together to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, their capacity to reduce inflammation is unparalleled – something that has been proven over thousands of years.
Instead of ibuprofen, my go-to remedy for joint pain and inflammation is Golden Milk. It’s a tried and true option that has worked wonders for many individuals suffering from similar ailments. This is my favorite and I find the easiest to add several times a day.
Stored in my cupboard is a jar filled with a mixture of ½ cup turmeric powder, ¼ cup ginger powder, 2 teaspoons black pepper (a crucial component which aids absorption), and 2 Tbs Ceylon cinnamon – all well mixed together. Choosing quality ingredients is crucial to the result. Learn about true cinnamon.
To fix a cup of Golden Milk, warm 8 ounces of milk in a pot. We use raw milk, but grass fed milk, your favorite whole milk, or coconut milk will work. Add two teaspoons of the turmeric/ginger powder and stir well.
To add a special flavor, I add a touch of ghee or butter. It adds an irresistible richness that calms the spiciness of the turmeric/ginger powder. The warmth not only satisfies my body but also warms my soul with its comforting taste.
This is not an exhaustive list of anti-inflammatory foods, but it is a good place to start. You will be delighted to see how quickly your body responds and how much better you feel.
Whether you are dealing with chronic pain, joint problems, or other conditions, the foods listed above can be a great place to start. They are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants that have been shown to help ease pain and discomfort, and many of them are also easy to incorporate into your regular diet.
So what are you waiting for? Give these foods a try today and start feeling your best!
As always, we’re here to help.
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