Anti-inflammatory diets have become very popular over the past few years. If you want to eat for long-term health, then lowering inflammation is essential for transforming your health. As I mentioned in part one of this blog series, inflammation in the body can contribute to or cause many debilitating chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, IBD, autoimmune disease, heart disease and more.
That’s why I recommend my clients to focus on eliminating the following INFLAMMATORY foods:
- Pretty much anything in a packet containing preservatives, colours, flavours, additives, emulsifiers and other harmful dubious ingredients
- GMO foods
- Conventionally raised meat or eggs
- Farmed fish
- Pasteurised and homogenised dairy
- Refined vegetable oils (read my blog on ‘Why I never consume vegetable oils’)
- Refined sugars
- Cheap supplements containing fillers such as wheat
While processed foods may seem like the easier choice at first, they deplete your health over the long haul. Developing a healthy eating plan can sometimes seem difficult but like anything that is new, it becomes second nature over time. The payoff is well worth it—with a proper diet, you can take a proactive stance against inflammation, aging, and disease by incorporating these REAL, whole foods into your life.
Here are 20 Inflammation Fighting Foods
1. Leafy greens such as kale are an incredible source of vitamin K which is a key nutrient for helping regulate the inflammatory process. Leafy greens are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory flavonoids which help in restoring cellular health.
2. Fresh herbs and spices such as coriander are rich in folate, Vitamins B6, C, A, K, iron and manganese. It contains anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and anti-microbial properties as well as helping to control blood sugar levels which are great for diabetics. Another herb is sage which has antiseptic, anti-microbial, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties and is antioxidant rich. If you want to read more about which herbs and spices are incredibly beneficial read my blog post called ‘15 herbs and spices every kitchen should have’.
3. Chili peppers are a great source of antioxidants and minerals such as – potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium. They have antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetic properties. They also act as a natural pain relief, clear congestion, fight inflammation and have many cardiovascular benefits.
4. Garlic and onions: garlic is highly recommended in the treatment of chronic inflammation and is known to be a disease fighter in the body. Onions also contain lots of quercetin, a potent antioxidant that can help your body fight inflammation.
5. Ginger can be added to both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s a beneficial food to add to dishes as it helps to warm the body, relieves nausea and motion sickness, lowers inflammation and pain, improves diabetes, eases headaches, eliminates gas, helps to cleanse the lymphatic system and can also break down accumulating toxins in the body.
6. Cinnamon is so beneficial; it’s not only anti-inflammatory, it helps fight diabetes, it’s immune boosting, contains loads of antioxidants, is anti-microbial, helps defend against cognitive decline, prevents candida and even contains calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, vitamin K and fibre.
7. Turmeric is a natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, improves digestion, speeds up wound healing, helps purify the blood, helps prevent gas and bloating, heals stomach ulcers, improves the skin, aids in fat metabolism and much more. If you want to get the most out of turmeric it needs to be eaten with a source of fat, as turmeric is fat soluble, along with black pepper, which also helps to increase the absorption of the anti-inflammatory properties contained.
8. Cultured (fermented) foods should be at the top of your list of inflammation-fighting foods. They are anti-inflammation superstars for many reasons because they build immunity and help control infections that are often an underlying cause of inflammation. You can read more about the benefits of cultured foods here: https://changinghabits.com.au/why-you-need-to-eat-fermented-foods/
9. Blueberries: not only are they delicious and make any smoothie look incredible, they are packed with antioxidants and are high in potassium and vitamin C. The darker the berry, the more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties!
10. Adaptogenic herbs are fantastic for helping your body adapt and deal with any stress you may be experiencing. You can read my blog post here about Adaptogens for more information: https://changinghabits.com.au/adaptogen-herbs-natures-stress-and-fatigue-fighters/
11. Avocados are a great source of healthy fat, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Just another great reason to go crazy on some homemade guacamole.
12. Inca Inchi Oil is incredibly rich in antioxidants, Vitamin E and A, is a great immune booster and a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation in the body. Inca Inchi oil is a great base oil for pesto, salad dressings and mayonnaise. You can also use it as a moisturiser to nourish your skin.
13. Seafood and cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna are known for their anti-inflammatory effects. These fish all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which keep cells healthy by keeping them fluid and flexible. This flexibility allows them to adapt to changing needs and environments and keep inflammation at bay.
14. Increase quality fats in the diet such as butter, ghee, coconut oil and animal fats as they are a great source of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a healing agent in the body and when cholesterol levels increase during periods of stress or when inflammation occurs, that’s when we should be providing the body with good quality fats as it helps the body to address this inflammation. If you want to read more about the Cholesterol Myth, click HERE to read Cyndi’s health report. You can also read this blog called ‘The Many Benefits of Fats’.
15. Beetroot contains strong anti-inflammatory properties. Thanks to a high concentration of betaine, beets lower the C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, which is a marker for chronic inflammation and heart disease. Why not try our beetroot hummus recipe, or cultured beetroots or even a deliciously refreshing cultured lemon and beetroot detox kefir
17. Grass-fed, free-range, organic meats: it’s always better to eat hormone-free, grass-fed meats. By eating high-quality meats, you will find that you suffer from less inflammation because you are not ingesting any of the chemicals from processed and inhumanely raised animals. When eating processed meats, you run the risk of inflammation because of the chemicals fed to them and used in their production.
18. Chia Seeds are another great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and a natural source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
19. Filtered water: unfortunately too many people replace their fluids by drinking soft drinks, coffee, cordials and other highly acidic fluids. This is why so many health professionals stress water as the best replacement fluid to not only reduce the risk of inflammatory disorders from occurring but also to hydrate our body and aid in flushing toxins out.
20. Cruciferous vegetables: such as cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts are invaluable for an anti-inflammatory diet. Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and its antioxidants are particularly potent in anti-inflammatory substances. Broccoli is also an antioxidant powerhouse, with key vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids. These work together to lower oxidative stress in the body and help battle both chronic inflammation and the risk of developing cancer.
Finally, have in mind that what is good for one person may not be good for you. We are different individuals with our unique genetic blueprint. So please make sure you take into consideration any reactions you have after eating certain foods as they might be a sign of food intolerance or allergies. If your body is not able to digest an ingredient properly, it can also trigger inflammation.
The better informed you become, the easier it will be to make mindful choices. By understanding how food contributes to your overall health, you will be able to protect yourself better.
Do you consume any of the above inflammation fighting foods in your daily diet?
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