It is no secret nowadays that inflammation is the precursor to all afflictions present in our modern society. If this is news to you, well then you had better be extra attentive. Inflammation is on the rise and our top anti-inflammatory foods will better your health. Chronic inflammation is plaguing our health and creating this runaway proliferation of increased cancer, autoimmune diseases and whatever other labels doctors use to describe conditions and symptoms. Again, these are just labels to describe a condition, which stems from the same issue – inflammation.
For some reason, we humans feel better and more at ease with our so-called symptoms when we can give it a label or a name. “Does it really matter what it is called, really?” The point I think everyone is missing is simple – it doesn’t matter the name, the colour, the smell etc. All you have to know is that somewhere in your body there is an accumulation of inflammation that has been there for many years or is recent, but it is there. If left unresolved, it will take on a life of its own and yours as well.
Inflammation is like a small bush fire in a forest, which if not extinguished will eventually take down the whole forest. It is insidious in nature, but none the less extremely detrimental and a threat to your health and life.
Causes of Inflammation
Diet – Toxic laden, conventional meats, adulterated dairy, hydration
Lifestyle – Inadequate sleep, smoking, alcohol, stress, work
Physical Activity – Too much or too little physical activity
Relationships – family, friends, significant others
There are many causes of inflammation, the causes listed above are the most common. I’m sure once you start listening to your body and consume some of these anti-inflammatory foods you will not only better your health, you will also be able to find some of your stressors.
This will focus specifically on diet and nutrition, as I believe this is the most important aspect to focus on. We all spend much of our day thinking about our next meal. Food is something that we cannot escape. There is a restaurant at every corner, vending machines, fast food joints, television ads, you name it. We are reminded of food constantly. To add insult to injury, “Who doesn’t like food?”
Before listing the top anti-inflammatory foods that will better your health, I would like to explain why these foods are so beneficial with regards to downregulating inflammation. Most of these foods are very high in vitamin K, A, C and numerous antioxidants. Antioxidants are extremely important in fighting off free radicals. Without getting too scientific, free radicals are the bad guys. They go around your body and cause havoc on your cells and age you faster than normal. Antioxidants are the good guys that fight off these free radicals and keep homeostasis in your body for a more natural and gradual ageing process.
Top Anti-Inflammatory Vegetables
For most vegetarians, this list will make you happy. For those who don’t particularly fancy vegetables – ‟So sorry!” It is important that you incorporate these amazing foods into your daily diet. Most vegetables are extremely healthy, but these make the top of the list for anti-inflammatory foods for your health.
Broccoli – Contains more than 200% of your daily recommended vitamin K, 125% of vitamin C and many other inflammation-fighting antioxidants.
Beets – When you look at beets, the first thing you notice is that nice ruby red colour. That colour comes from betalain. This is one of the factors responsible for making beets so highly nutritional and an excellent at fighting off inflammation. Beets are also very high in nitric oxide.
Celery – This vegetable contains almost 40% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K. It is also extremely effective at fighting off inflammation due to its high antioxidant levels.
Bok Choy – Originating from Asian cuisine, this leafy vegetable has over70 different types of antioxidants responsible for keeping inflammation at bay.
Cruciferous and leafy vegetables – Apart from broccoli mentioned above (most powerful and complete), all other cruciferous vegetables (Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, arugula, cabbage to name a few), as well as leafy greens, are packed with all the necessary minerals, vitamins, macro/micro nutrients to not only stave off inflammation, but to equip your body with all the proper nutrition.
Another great source of nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants are fruits. There is the misconception that fruits are bad as they are high in sugars. Firstly, would Mother Nature create something so beautiful, bountiful and colourful in order to harm us? I don’t think so! There are many fruits that are higher in fructose (the sugar contained in fruit) than others, but keep in mind that fruit is a whole food as well. This means it has fibre and other aspects that help the body counter the fructose, creating balance.
Below are the fruits that contain the least fructose and thus least impact on your insulin. Please have a look at the glycemic load index for more information about which fruits have the least sugar per serving.
Pineapple – High amounts of the enzyme bromelain, which is a great digestive enzyme. Pineapple has more than 120% of your DRV of vitamin C.
Blueberries – Abundantly filled with a flavonoid called quercetin, which is great at fighting off inflammation.
Coconut – Coconut and coconut oil are full of antioxidants and great at fighting off inflammation.
Spices for Inflammation
We may view spices as simply useful for garnishing and adding flavour, but as the Indian culture is well aware, spices offer more than just flavour, they are extremely nutritious and abundant in inflammation-fighting compounds. Here is a list of the more potent spices.
Other Anti-Inflammatory foods
Flax Seeds – Great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Every ounce of flax seeds contains more than 1000% of your daily recommended value of omega-3’s, which are great at keeping inflammation under control.
Chia Seeds – Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids as well. They also contain a high amount of omega 6 fatty acids, which makes this a very balanced food.
Walnuts – Walnuts (mostly all nuts) contain huge amounts of antioxidants. They are also very high in omega 3 fatty acids as well.
Wild caught salmon – Wild caught Salmon has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
Bone Broth – Bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. Bone broth is very simple to make at home.
The above-listed foods are a reference sheet which can help you get started. Incorporating these anti-inflammatory foods and spices that will definitely help you get healthier and increase your vitality and longevity. We recommend starting with these and expanding on this new found knowledge. Please make sure you try to acquire organic and GMO-free versions of these options when possible.
Stay healthy, stay strong and stay curious. Above is a great map to truly living a life inspired by nature.
Please note that all opinions here are strictly opinions and for informational purposes only. They are not to be used as a replacement for medical opinions and should not be used as the only metric for diagnosing any medical condition.