It’s not making the headlines for nothing. It’s real!
Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be pretty bad for our health; this is especially true when it’s chronic (i.e. lasts a long time).
Inflammation is a way for our body to tell us something’s wrong. It’s the way our body responds to us being injured. Excessive inflammation can create symptoms such as fatigue, aches and pains, skin rashes, allergies and infections, various diagnosed autoimmune diseases.
Inflammation has also been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, just to name a few.
So, here are some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it.
My top 6 anti-inflammatory food recommendations are:
1. Berries, Grapes, and Cherries
Why save the best for last?
Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).
Oh, and did I forget to mention their phytochemicals (phyto=plant)? Yes, many antioxidants such as “anthocyanins” and “resveratrol” are found in these small and delicious fruits.
In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.
2: Broccoli and Chilli Peppers
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant “sulforaphane.” This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chilli Peppers contain a potent anti-inflammatory agent called Capsaicin. It can help to relieve headaches and migraines and may also help to treat arthritis and psoriasis.
I pack these two super-healthy vegetables together in this week’s recipe (see below).
3: Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)
Fat can be inflammatory (“trans” fats)…neutral – (saturated fats) or anti-inflammatory (“omega-3s), so choosing the right fats is majorly important for your health.
The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including omega-3s. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (e.g. sardines and mackerel), and wild fish (e.g. salmon). Oh and don’t forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and flax.
4: Green Tea
Green tea contains an important anti-inflammatory compound known as EGCG which is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.
Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It’s thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.
5 – Turmeric
Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric?
Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin.
This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.
I’ve added it to the recipe below for a bit of a punch, to kick that inflammation.
6: Dark Chocolate
Now we’re talking! This may be slightly more decadent than my first pick of berries, grapes, and cherries but not to be forgotten!
Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely “flavonols”). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They’ve even been shown to prevent “neuro-inflammation” (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.
Make sure you avoid the sugar laden chocolate that you find in sweet shops (you already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!) and go for a decent brand with high cocoa content”
**There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colourful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa.
You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of “anti-inflammation!”