There’s been a lot of talk about inflammation in recent years and yet most people don’t really know what inflammation is, why it occurs or what type of damage it can do to our bodies. So let’s dig in! Let’s find out what we need to know to avoid this condition.
The human body is incredible. It has so many automatic systems that are designed to deal with various issues that our bodies might encounter. The body releases white blood cells when inflammation occurs in order to protect itself from foreign substances. As these chemicals are released, the blood flow to the injured or infected area often results in warmth and redness. Another interesting thing happens. Fluid leaks into your tissues as these chemicals are released. This results in swelling to the area. Though this is a protective process, it does stimulate nerves and cause pain.
That’s why we often see those struggling with arthritis in the legs with swollen, painful kneecaps. The body is trying to repair itself. As time goes by, the number of inflammatory substances and cells increases resulting in swelling of the joint lining and a breakdown of the bone and cartilage.
The good news here is that we can dramatically affect this process simply by changing what we eat. So let’s make a commitment to eat healthier so we can reduce inflammation in our bodies. This will allow us to get up and get out more, enjoy the sunshine, go places and have fun without pain.
Below are 7 of the best foods we know to help reduce inflammation. These anti-inflammatory foods are versatile and can be used in a number of ways. They’re easy to buy and eat – easy to prepare … and they’ll leave your body in a healthier place.
- Tomatoes: Is it a fruit or a vegetable? That’s an age-old question still to be resolved. The ordinary tomato can be eaten raw right out of the garden. Or you can slice them up and put them on a sandwich or salad. They’re delicious when diced and put in a soup or casserole. You’ll find many uses for the tomato.
- Olive oil: This is the clear choice when it comes to salad oils. It’s just as easy to use olive oil as it is any other of the popular cooking oils. So why not choose olive oil? In addition, you can mix equal parts of olive oil and an apple cider vinegar to create a wholesome delicious salad dressing. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to your bath water to soften skin.
- Green leafy vegetables: We might as well just admit that we all need to eat more green leafy vegetables. Once you start down this road, you’ll find that it’s not that difficult to incorporate spinach into a salad or kale into a soup. Collard greens are a popular favorite in the south. Clean them, cover them in water, then boil, adding spices, salt and pepper to your taste. Add in some jalapeno or other peppers. Most pepper varieties have capsicum, a well-known ingredient in medications and ointments for arthritis pain.
- Berries: This includes strawberries, cherries, blackberries and blueberries. All berries are delicious and easy to eat. Next time you’re at the store, pick up a package of strawberries or blueberries. Wash them, then place them in a storage bag in the fridge. When you get hungry for a snack, grab that bag and pop a few in your mouth. This is the perfect way to put an end to those bad snacking habits.
- Nuts: Pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts and walnuts are all good for you and delicious. You can eat them raw or put them in salads. Next time you make chicken salad, add some pecans or diced walnuts. They’re so tasty and will light up the flavor in many dishes you make. Nuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Milk thistle (silymarin): This plant has been used for centuries as a natural treatment for a wide range of health problems. It is both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It has been used to treat the liver for cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice and gallbladder disorders. Some claim it helps to lower cholesterol, provides heart benefits and can help with diabetes. A few studies have been done that show that milk thistle can decrease blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol.
- Fatty fish: Salmon, Tuna, mackerel, and sardines are all high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are so good for you and have potent anti-inflammatory effects. Enjoy the same benefits in a delicious meal of grilled salmon, sweet potatoes and spinach. How does that sound for dinner tonight?
Let’s Get on a Better Path
Though inflammation is actually a defense mechanism where the body is trying to heal itself, when it persists over a long period of time, it begins to damage your body. The effects of acute and/or chronic inflammation cause pain, redness, immobility, swelling and heat. Each of these can decrease your quality of life and cause you to use too many pain medications. Natural remedies, like eating a healthier diet, are a great path to follow. Supplements like Reprieve also help with joint discomfort. Add Reprieve, with milk thistle and other key ingredients, to your supplement regimen before popping an anti-inflammatory medication.