If you’ve been dealing with problematic inflammation and are looking for a way to make it stop, there are certain anti-inflammatory foods you can eat that can help reduce it.
Inflammation (swelling) is one of the most common causes of pain and reduced mobility. It’s supposed to be a defense mechanism used by the body to protect joints and ligaments from long-term damage after injury and prevent infection.
However, sometimes your immune system can send the inflammatory response into overdrive, resulting in chronic inflammation – a condition that can lead to various forms of discomfort and disease.
Here are the top 10 foods that help reduce inflammation and that you should incorporate into your diet:
The term “mushrooms” is a very broad one that encompasses thousands of fungal species, some of which are not healthy, but most of which are. Of course, all of the mushrooms found at the grocery store are great for you – it’s the ones out in nature that you don’t want to eat without the ability to reliably identify them.
As far as which ones you should be eating to reduce inflammation, portabello, truffles, and shiitake are the best. It is important to note that cooking mushrooms reduce their anti-inflammatory effect considerably, so it’s better to have them raw on a salad.
While all berries are great for you, the ones with the most anti-inflammatory properties are strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. These delicious, bite-sized fruits contain loads of antioxidants that help your body fight all manners of disease including chronic inflammation.
These fruits also increase the activity of your body’s NK cells, which are crucial for the optimal function of the immune system. Furthermore, eating berries can help you lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease.
Avocados are versatile nutritional powerhouses that contain the same kinds of healthy fats found in fish along with an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
Interestingly, a study proved that when a person eats avocado with their hamburger, it actually lowers the level of inflammation markers IL-6 and NF-kB in the blood.
Broccoli contains high levels of an antioxidant called sulforaphane, which reduces inflammation by lowering levels of NF-kB and cytokines. In addition to being one of the best foods that help reduce inflammation, broccoli is also one of the most nutritious foods overall.
Likewise, eating other cruciferous is good too. Consuming it steamed is the best way to retain its nutrients, although it can still be very nutritious when boiled as long as you don’t overdo it.
5. Green Tea
Green Tea is commonly touted as one of the healthiest beverages – and for good reason – because it not only has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it also reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, and other chronic health conditions.
The secret behind its efficacy as an inflammation-fighting food is the presence of an antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which reduces cytokine levels and, therefore, protects the cells from damage.
Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA, both of which have been proven to reduce inflammation in many studies. While all kinds of fish contain these inflammation-fighting ingredients, certain kinds are more effective at fighting inflammation than others.
In particular, Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Sardines, and Anchovies are the richest in the beneficial long-chain fatty acids. Of course, fish also belongs on any list of healthy paleo meal plan options, as humans have been fishing for millennia and cultures with the longest life expectancies consume lots of seafood.
Chili peppers and bell peppers contain tons of nutrition including high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. Chili peppers contain ferulic acid and sinapic acid, both of which have been shown to reduce the effects of aging and fight chronic inflammation.
They also contain capsaicin, a substance that improves circulation and improves overall health. Bell peppers contain a potent antioxidant known as quercetin, which studies have shown is effective at reducing markers of inflammatory damage in the body.
Grapes are another antioxidant-rich fruit that can help you keep unnecessary swelling down. Like berries, they contain anthocyanins as well as a line-up of essential vitamins and trace minerals.
Numerous studies have shown that eating grapes can decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases and conditions like obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
However, it’s important to be aware that grapes and berries are also some of the most pesticide-laden fruits you can buy, so an apple cider vinegar rinse and scrub is a good practice.
9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is known to be one of the healthiest fats because it’s monounsaturated and it contains an antioxidant known as oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties that are comparable to the effects of OTC drugs like ibuprofen.
Mediterranean countries have lower rates of inflammatory disease and one study even showed that people who consume this oil on a regular basis have lower inflammatory markers.
Turmeric is a spice that is used as the main ingredient in curry. Not only does it impart a very unique and interesting flavor into many ethnic dishes, but it also contains a substance called curcumin, which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing arthritis and diabetes.
Eating curcumin with black pepper can be especially effective at reducing the levels of the inflammatory marker CRP. Unfortunately, eating turmeric in its natural form makes it somewhat difficult to obtain enough curcumin to have a beneficial effect, but eating black pepper with it can boost absorption rates by 2,000%.
Eating the Right Foods Is the First Step You Should Take to Reduce Inflammation
While taking a pill might seem like the easiest way out, it’s usually not an actual cure. In fact, relying on anti-inflammatory medications can actually make the situation worse over time, as the drug will eventually start to lose some of its efficacy and when it does, you’ll be in an even worse position.
The most effective way to combat chronic inflammation is to make significant diet and lifestyle changes that will give your body the ingredients it needs to heal and regulate itself.