Inflammation is the root of most of the common diseases plaguing a large part of the population today. It causes conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and liver disease.
While anti-inflammation medication has its place in treating chronic inflammation, many healthcare providers are deciding to focus their attention on patients' refrigerators before they send them off to the pharmacy.
In this article we’ll share some of the best anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet and all the wonderful benefits that they have. Keep reading to find out more about:
- Anti-inflammatory greens
- Anti-inflammatory fruits
- Anti-inflammatory nuts and seeds
- The anti-inflammatory effects of coffee
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are one of the healthiest foods to include in your diet
Dark leafy greens are some of the best foods to include in your diet, no matter what the goal of the diet may be. Many greens are rich in vitamins and important minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium that can help to ease inflammation and prevent diseases caused by chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
Some of the incredible greens we will discuss are:
- Bok choy
Kale and bok choy are both high in vitamins A,C, and K and are rich in minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They are also high in antioxidants and may help prevent certain types of cancers. In fact, recent studies have shown that bok choy may contain over 70 different antioxidants.
Spinach is another extremely nutritious food that contains lots of iron, vitamin K, and fiber. Spinach is also incredibly beneficial for both brain and heart health. A study that tracked eating patterns and cognitive ability found that individuals who ate one or two servings of leafy greens daily had the same cognitive abilities as individuals 11 years younger than them. Research has also indicated that spinach may help to reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.
One of the hardiest greens available, chard is a powerhouse plant when it comes to nutritional value. With a longer growing season, chard is available for longer periods of the year meaning it can be a great green for cold weather meals. Like many of the other greens mentioned, chard is incredibly high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that all contribute to improved heart and brain health.
There are many fruits that help with inflammation.
While some diets have limited the amount of fruit allowed due to potentially higher amounts of sugar in the form of fructose, there are many fruits that have anti-inflammatory properties that make them incredibly nutritious despite varying levels of fructose.
In this section we’ll share a few fruits with anti-inflammatory properties, including:
Cherries are some of the most nutrient rich fruits out there. Both sweet and tart cherries have been shown to lower inflammatory proteins in blood, offering pain relief that has been compared to the effects of Ibuprofen.
Anthocyanins and other anti-inflammatory compounds found in cherries have also been found to potentially help with sleep. This appears to be because of the fruit's ability to increase melatonin levels and stop inflammatory free radicals that may impact sleep.
Strawberries–a common summer favorite–are another incredibly nutritious fruit that is often overlooked in terms of health benefits. In fact, strawberries are rich in vitamin C, providing more vitamin C in one cup of strawberries than in an entire orange!
Vitamin C is an especially important vitamin when it comes to fighting inflammation, as it is an antioxidant and helps to prevent free radicals that cause chronic inflammation.
Blueberries are well known for their nutritional value and their deep blue-purple color so it is not surprising that they also have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries not only help to get rid of free radicals that cause inflammation, they also help to relieve existing inflammation.
Studies suggest that blueberries may have the ability to exert anti-inflammatory abilities that decrease blood pressure, improve blood flow, and protect brain cells against neuroinflammation. When it comes to neuroprotective abilities, both blueberries and strawberries were linked to slower decline of cognitive abilities in elderly individuals.
Nuts and seeds
There are many health benefits to eating a healthy amount of nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds have long been a favorite when it comes to healthy snacks and are great foods to add a little bit of nutrition to most of your favorite baked goods. When it comes to preventing inflammation there are a few kinds of nuts and seeds that can help to reduce or prevent inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory nuts and seeds include:
- Chia seeds
Walnuts are actually one of the best foods to eat for an anti-inflammatory diet. Walnuts have the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids of all nuts and are a great source of anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals.
While the research about walnuts impacts on chronic inflammation is still limited, a recent study suggested that eating walnuts daily reduced concentrations of inflammatory biomarkers and was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Flaxseeds are filled with antioxidants called lignans which are linked with anti-aging, hormone balance, and cellular health benefits. Flax seeds also contain polyphenols which have been found to help promote probiotics in the gut.
One of the most popular superfoods on the market, chia seeds have already proven to be some of the healthiest foods to add to your diet. They are tiny but packed with powerful nutrients and tons of antioxidants making them incredible for reducing inflammation and preventing chronic inflammation and its negative side effects.
Chia seeds are high in omega-3s and omega-6s, both of which help to prevent chronic inflammation and have been linked to improving cardiovascular health, reducing blood sugar levels, and helping with weight loss.
While it may be surprising, coffee has many benefits, including anti–inflammatory properties.
Caffeinated coffee contains a mixture of active compounds like caffeine, chlorogenic acid, cafestol, trigonelline, and kahweol, similar to decaffeinated coffee which contains the same mixture with little to no caffeine. While you may not care about the individual compounds that make up coffee, you should care about the beneficial effects that they provide when it comes to inflammation.
According to experts, the compounds that make up the wildly beloved drink contain many potent antioxidants with quite a few anti-inflammatory properties. Current research suggests that drinking coffee may help to reduce inflammation in certain individuals.
While multiple studies showed that regular coffee drinkers had lower levels of inflammatory markers than non-coffee drinkers, some evidence suggests that coffee may increase inflammation in certain individuals due to a combination of genetic differences or other factors that may impact the coffee’s influence on inflammation.
When dealing with issues caused by inflammation it is important to look at your diet before heading straight to the pharmacy and consulting a health professional if need be. Making small adjustments to your diet can greatly improve your health without breaking your bank account in the process.