Inflammation. It is definitely a word we are used to hearing on a daily basis. We all have little pains here or there that come from inflammation. Exercising beyond what your body is ready for will often result in inflammation. It is, after all, our bodies natural response to something being not quite right. It is usually helpful, and is a strong indicator that you changed something too fast.
Inflammation can also occur in other areas that are more serious: plaque on your heart from cholesterol, asthma, ulcers, and even cancer. When we consider these dangerous illnesses as inflammation, it becomes real, and we are left wondering what can be done to reduce it.
The usual balanced healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercise are obvious ways to reduce the effects, but as our lives become busier, it can be difficult to get this right. The book Unmasking Superfoods by Jennifer Sygo provides a breakdown of specific foods that have anti-inflammatory effects to help your body reverse the damage. Most people do not have the time to read an entire book, so I thought I would create an overview of the best anti-inflammatory foods to try to include in your diet based on the scholarly research that has been completed. I have put some recipe links alongside for you to check out.
Most of the research, found that the most important part of using food to reduce inflammation was to ensure foods high in Omega-3s were consumed on a regular basis. However, many of the foods that contain Omega-3s, also contain Omega-6. Unfortunately, Omega-6 encourages inflammation and Omega-3s reduce inflammation, which mean they ultimately block one another. As I mentioned, sometimes inflammation is a good thing, your body needs that to be aware of what is wrong and right. However, many of the most common diseases are caused by inflammation from our confused bodies wondering what is going on. Therefore it is important to consume foods that are high in Omega-3, with only a limited amount of Omega-6. The following foods have been declared best for this purpose:
- Salmon (Did you see my Salmon, Spinach, Risotto Recipe?)
- Chia Seeds (Pumpkin Pie Pancakes anyone?)
- Walnuts (Who likes Banana Walnut Whole Wheat Muffins?)
- Pasture raised meats (as opposed to conventional corn raised meat)
- Canola Oil
- Kidney Beans (Slow Cooker Chili is a great winter warmer)
- Tofu (I LOVE this Tofu Salad with Almond Butter Dressing)
- Sunflower Seeds
- Avocados (Have you tried these Avocado and Vegetable Enchiladas?)
- Kale (My favorite fall salad is this Kale, Feta and Butternut Squash Salad)
- Swiss Chard
- Sweet Potatoes (Need a side dish? Check out these Sweet Potato Biscuits/Rolls)
- Butternut Squash (My Butternut Squash Lasagna is one of my signature dishes)
- Manuka Honey (found in health food stores)
- Lentils (Need a hearty soup? Check out this Pumpkin and Lentil Curry Soup)
- Green tea
- Ginger (These recovery stuffed peppers are packed with inflammation reducing ingredients)
- Curry powder
I know this is quite a substantial list of foods to try to incorporate into your diet, but this the purpose of this post is to make readers aware of what foods they should be consuming to maximize the bodies defense line against inflammation. It has stopped/slowed/hurt us all at some point, and if you have the potential to reduce its effects in the future, why not give your body all the help it can get?
Awesome list Tina! I was happy to see I eat most of the foods on it (though probably not as much as I should!) Thanks for sharing.