Everything is arguably related to inflammation. It can cause cancer, skin conditions, allergies, muscle pain, joint pain, headaches and painful menstruation. But although this has been a word or concept thrown around frequently of late, what exactly is inflammation? Very simply, it is a combination of heat, pain, redness and swelling that happens externally or inside the body. Inflammation, is not always a bad thing, it is after all your immune system reacting to injury or infection and trying to promote healing. The issue comes about when this inflammation becomes chronic, and the body is in a constant state of emergency. Diet is often the main cause of this.
Inflammation often occurs through the consumption of processed foods, fast foods, white sugar, white flour and heat damaged oils. They affect the body by turning on numerous genes that promote inflammation, which over the long term have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Inflammation often begins in the gut, destroying gut bacteria that releases inflammatory chemicals that produce inflammation promoting cancer throughout the body.
Just like processed foods help to create inflammation in the body, a fresh and healthy diet, like the much touted Mediterranean Diet, can help reduce the inflammatory markers present in the body. Foods which are known antioxidants, support liver function, and cleanse the digestive tract are the most beneficial in fighting inflammation and chronic long term disease. Here are some of the top foods to fight inflammation and promote a healthier you:
Almonds: Not only to these little nuts keep you feeling fuller longer, but they are an excellent source of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Both vitamin E and omega-3 help fight inflammation.
Avocados: This green fruit is chock full of magnesium, fiber and potassium. The combination of these nutrients and the polyphenol antioxidants found in avocados make them an essential part of any anti-inflammatory diet.
Broccoli: this green veggie is high in many vitamins, like vitamin C, potassium, calcium and vitamin A. The cruciferous vegetable is also high in phytochemicals, which are known to be powerful antioxidants.
Kale: this leafy green is a vitamin and mineral powerhouse. It is a great source of vitamins A, C and K and minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium. Unbeknownst to many, kale also falls under into the cruciferous family, which means it is also packed with antioxidant phytochemicals like its brother broccoli.
Blueberries: these little blue berries protect the body by triggering antioxidant activity. The phytochemicals in blueberries work to repair cellular damage done by free radicals.
Carrots: Carrots contain beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all antioxidants related to vitamin A. These antioxidants can help protect healthy cells in the body, and reduce the risk of cancer causing inflammation.
Spinach: One of the best anti-inflammatory superfoods. Spinach contains lutein (related to vitamin A), iron, vitamin K, and folate.
Strawberries: This red berry has been highlighted to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Aside from this, they are low in calories, and high in fiber and vitamin C.