Inflammation. It can be rampant throughout our body and we don't even know it!
In the short term, inflammation is our body's natural response to help us heal. When have the flu, the fever we experience is our body's inflammatory response in an attempt to trap and burn away the virus. When we damage a muscle or cut our skin, the painful swelling around the wound is our natural inflammatory response which is necessary to send white blood cells directly to the site and begin the healing process.
But what about in the long-term? Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be pretty bad for our health; especially when it's chronic. and unnecessary.
And there's more bad news, especially for us busy, overwhelmed mums.....chronic stress also increases our inflammatory response putting us at even more risk of illness.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and diabetes, and in some cases, even cancer when it is not kept in check. And we already know that inflammation is at the root of chronic joint pain conditions such as arthritis.
So how can we reduce our levels of chronic inflammation so we can alleviate our pain and stand a chance in the face of serious disease?
With nutrition, that's how! The food we put into our body plays an extremely important role in our overall health and when we focus on certain foods, we can physically lower our levels of acidity which in turn means we can minimise chronic inflammation.
Here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:
Anti-inflammatory Food #1: Berries, Grapes, and Cherries
Why save the best for last? Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favourite of yours?
Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).
Oh, and did I forget to mention their phytochemicals (phyto=plant)? Yes, many antioxidants such as "anthocyanins" and "resveratrol" are found in these small and delicious fruits.
In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.
Anti-inflammatory Food #2: Broccoli and Peppers
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant "sulforaphane." This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin.
Just make sure to choose red peppers over the other colours. Peppers that are any other colour are not fully ripe and won't have the same anti-inflammatory effect.
Anti-inflammatory Food #3: Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)
Fat can be terribly inflammatory (hello: "trans" fats), neutral (hello: saturated fats), or anti-inflammatory (hello: "omega-3s), this is why choosing the right fats is so important for your health.
The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including omega-3s. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (e.g. sardines and mackerel), and wild fish (e.g. salmon). Oh and don't forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and flax.
Anti-inflammatory Food #4: Green Tea
Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate”, otherwise known as EGCG.
EGCG is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer's.
Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It's thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.
Anti-inflammatory Food #5 - Turmeric
Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric?
Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin.
This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.
Anti-inflammatory Food #6: Dark Chocolate
Ok, ok. This *may* be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes, and cherries but hey, there IS a silver lining....
Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely "flavonols"). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They've even been shown to prevent "neuro-inflammation" (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.
Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars.”though. These are more than likely made with sugar-loaded milk chocolate and don't hold the same nutritional promise as dark chocolate. And be honest, you already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory right?
There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colourful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa.
You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of "anti-inflammation."
So start making some substitutions today.
If you would like to talk with a Registered Nutritionist about your chronic pain and discover options that are available to you to help you get your flare-ups under control, CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE STRATEGY SESSION TODAY.