Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to quell inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator.
We all know that chronic inflammation is bad. But do you know exactly why it is unhealthy and how you can protect yourself from its effects? (Hint: the remedy may be found in the fridge instead of the medicine cabinet)
Your trusty immune system is hardwired to attack anything in your body that it sees as foreign—such as an invading bacteria, germ, or chemical. The process is called inflammation and it means well. In fact, occasional bouts of inflammation protect you against threatening, health robbing invaders
However, when inflammation is a constant visitor it’s bad news. You see, when there is no foreign invader to be found, chronic inflammation becomes your enemy. Many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation.
Eat This Not That
According to a Harvard Medical School publication, one of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. Experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects. Simply put, choose the right foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness.
Consistently pick the wrong ones — such as refined carbs, fried foods, processed meat and sugar laden beverages — and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.
Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation. And, it’s not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases, the Harvard publication states.
8 Foods That Fight the Flame
That’s right, one cup o’ Joe can provide relief from headaches and provide a dose of antioxidants as well. Additionally, research has also shown that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of some cancers.
There may be some wisdom in the old adage that “life is just a bowl of cherries.” It seems that this luscious fruit offers plenty of healthy life benefits including reducing inflammation by neutralizing free radicals in the body. It seems that anthocyanins, which give tart cherries their deep red hue, have inflammation fighting properties similar to those in aspirin.
A jack-of-all-trades, ginger has long been used to treat a variety of ailments from stomachaches to heart conditions. This anti-inflammatory flavoring makes an excellent addition to a variety of foods.
- Fatty Fish:
Oily fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines should be in heavy rotation at the dinner table. These fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. For full benefits, you’ll want to eat fish (not fried) several times a week. In a University of Hawaii study, men who ate baked or boiled fish cut their heart disease risk by 23%. Hate fish?
Like fatty fish, nuts are a source of inflammation-fighting healthy fats. Almonds are rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamin E. And walnuts, have high amounts of omega-3 fat. All nuts are packed with important antioxidants, which help your body fight off and repair inflammation damage. Along with fish, leafy greens and whole greens, nuts are a big part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in as little as six weeks.
- Dark Leafy Greens:
This super star veggies are rich in vitamin E, which plays a key role in protecting the body against pro-inflammatory molecules. Also, these vegetables have higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals – like calcium, iron and disease-fighting phytochemicals.
Stay away from heavily processed soy products and opt for soy milk, toful and edamame. Studies indicate that isoflavones found in soy products can lower inflammation in women and help with bone and heart health.
Beets are antioxidant super heroes. This vibrantly hued veggie has been shown to reduce inflammation, as well as protect against cancer and heart disease.