Saturday, July 12, 2014

10 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a hot topic in medicine right now, and for good reason.

Inflammation is the reason for pain. And while you’ve probably experienced the “good” kind of inflammation — the redness, heat and swelling that occurs at the site of an injury, for instance, which is a key part of your body’s healing process — chronic inflammation is much different. Ongoing inflammation in your body is often the result of stress, unhealthy lifestyle and exposure to toxins, and it serves no useful purpose. Instead, it actively contributes to disease and imbalances in your system.

Foods that fight inflammation are therefore an invaluable way to maintain your health and prevent disease. Whereas certain foods are decidedly pro-inflammatory (sugar, alcohol, trans fats), others, like many fruits and vegetables, are anti-inflammatory.

Adding more of these foods to your diet is one of the simplest, and smartest, ways to boost your health. 

1. Broccoli
Phytonutrients in broccoli, such as sulphoraphane, are known to fight inflammation of the joints, respiratory system, colon and more. One study even found sulphoraphane may help prevent the activation of an inflammatory enzyme known as COX-2, similar to how anti-inflammatory arthritis drugs work. However, while the COX-2 enzyme will begin triggering inflammation as soon as the drugs are stopped, researchers suspect the sulphoraphane may stop to COX-2 enzyme from increasing, thereby stopping inflammation before it starts.

2. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains a natural anti-inflammatory agent researchers have named oleocanthal. Like sulphoraphane in broccoli, the substance acts on the COX enzymes, acting as a natural non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent.

3. Blueberries
Rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, studies show blueberries help ward off both inflammation and oxidative stress. In particular, eating blueberries daily for six weeks increases anti-inflammatory molecules called cytokines, even if the body is engaging in strenuous exercise, which is known to trigger an inflammatory state. This suggests blueberries may offer a protective effect against inflammation when your body is in stressful situations.

4. Fish
Fish are an important source of omega-3 fats, the anti-inflammatory healthy fats that are known to help prevent cancer, arthritis, heart disease and more. Omega-3 fats play a powerful role in regulating inflammatory processes, and research shows that women with the highest omega-3 fat intakes had a 44 percent reduced risk of dying from inflammatory diseases compared with women who ate the least.

Eating oily fish like salmon and mackerel, in particular, have been shown to improve inflammatory conditions, but King Mackerel is actually one of the most dangerous types of fish to eat based on average mercury levels. However, even the safest fish to eat still have some small amount of mercury contamination. If you want to get anti-inflammatory omega-3 without eating a ton of potentially harmful fish, it is highly recommended you supplement with a high-quality option like Super Omega CoQ10.

5. Nuts
Nuts are another natural inflammation fighter. They contain not only omega-3 fats, but also antioxidant vitamins, dietary fiber, L-arginine and magnesium, all of which play an important role in modulating inflammation. In fact, studies show eating nuts helps reduce your risk of dying from an inflammatory disease.

6. Tart Cherries
Tart cherries are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins that yield powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies show consuming tart cherry juice reduces important markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), while a tart cherry-enriched diets reduces plasma inflammation, abdominal fat inflammation, and cardiac inflammation, all known risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

7. Kelp
Kelp contains a complex carbohydrate called fucoidan as well as chlorophyll, which have anti-inflammatory properties. When choosing sea vegetables like kelp for a snack, be aware that, like fish, they can accumulate toxins from the water in which they grow. Always choose sea vegetables that come from unpolluted waters.

8. Fermented Foods
Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods are rich in friendly bacteria known as probiotics. These good bacteria influence your health in numerous beneficial ways, one of them being to help curb systemic inflammation. One recent study found that people with inflammatory conditions like ulcerative colitis had lower levels of inflammation after taking a probiotic supplement for 8 weeks. Even healthy people who took probiotics had a reduction in inflammation.

9. Papaya
This tropical fruit contains the enzymes papain and chymopapain, which help lower inflammation. In addition, it’s a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene, which also have anti-inflammatory effects.

10. Green Tea
Rich in natural anti-inflammatory compounds called flavonoids, green tea has been shown to actively increase anti-inflammatory substances while decreasing pro-inflammatory substances in animal studies. Drinking adequate amounts of green tea may play a role in the prevention of inflammation-related diseases.

Intuitively Yours,
Laurel ♥

Which foods have you found that reduce your pain and inflammation?  Please comment!

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