If you’ve ever experienced warmth and swelling after cutting your finger or suffered through a fever and sore throat during a bad cold, you’ve experienced the healthy side of inflammation. This type of temporary response to harm or injury is your body’s natural protective mechanism, warding off danger and setting the healing process in motion. However, when inflammation spirals out of control, it becomes a chronic, dangerous condition that can spark everything from allergies, obesity and premature aging to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Fortunately, while studies show that eating processed, sugary foods can stoke an inflammatory fire in your body, they also prove that the right foods can help to douse the flames. Whether you’re already suffering from the aches, pains and tissue damage of chronic inflammation or you’d simply like to take preventative steps, these top anti-inflammatory foods provide both healing and protection.
1. Try tart cherries
These sour little fruits are loaded with anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that inhibit pain and reduce blood levels of inflammatory markers. Research even suggests that tart cherries may be more effective at relieving inflammatory pain than aspirin! Sip on tart cherry juice throughout the day, to maximize these benefits.
2. Alleviate the ache with almonds
Grab a handful of almonds for are an excellent inflammation-reducing snack packed with unsaturated fats and antioxidant vitamin E. Almonds are also full of omega-3 fatty acids, making them effective in reducing levels of inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6 and C – reactive protein. Lower levels of inflammatory markers are linked to relief from chronic pain and soreness in muscles and joints. Sprinkle almond slivers over your morning bowl of quinoa or try eating them whole as a craving-curbing afternoon snack.
3. Serve up sardines
One serving of sardines provides close to 1.5 grams of pain relieving omega-3 fats and is a good source of vitamin D, another potent inflammation-fighter. Go for grilled sardines in lemon and add olive oil for its oleocanthal, a compound that halts the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes.
4. Bring on the broccoli
Medical research points to sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, as a highly effective inflammation blocker. Whip up a broccoli and raspberry smoothie to combine sulforaphane with the antioxidants found in raspberries for the perfect anti-inflammation antidote.
5. Grate on some ginger
Studies show that up to 75% of people suffering from an inflammatory arthritic condition experienced lasting pain relief and reduced swelling when regularly consuming ginger. Harness the anti-inflammatory might of gingerol, a substance found in ginger, by grating the fresh root over soups, salads and entrees. Alternately, try baking wild-caught salmon in a ginger glaze to add omega-3 into the equation.
6. Reach for red palm oil
Use red palm oil regularly to curb chronic inflammation by decreasing levels of oxidized LDL. Unrefined red palm oil sprinkled over baked sweet potatoes makes for a hearty meal, rich in antioxidants beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol.
7. Kill the pain with kimchi
This Korean fermented cabbage dish is chockfull of probiotics, a type of beneficial bacteria that fends of inflammation in the gut. Regularly eating kimchi can contribute to a rapid decrease of pain and irritation in inflammatory stomach conditions such as IBS and Crohn’s Disease.
With rates of inflammation-led conditions such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s on the rise, dousing this chronic burn has never been more crucial. And while factors like sleep quality and stress reduction also play a part, mounting evidence points to nutrition as uniquely important in fighting an overactive inflammatory response. Making a point of adding these powerful anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can help you get rid of chronic inflammation from your body.