If you’re feeling more achy, tired, or sluggish than usual, inflammation may be lighting your body up both inside and out. Recent research suggests that persistent inflammation is at the source of many diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Generally, inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body that helps stop growth of abnormal cells, promotes healing of injured tissues, and signals cells to fight off viral and bacterial infections. But when inflammation persists, it requires the body to recruit different mediators to protect the cells. And when these mediators are present for prolonged periods of time they can destroy healthy tissue and trigger disease.
Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can promote healing and reduce health hazards in the body. We all know that completely changing your diet overnight is challenging, but adding a few foods that cut down inflammation can go a long way.
The cornerstone of reducing inflammation through diet includes eliminating foods with preservatives and additives and consuming more whole foods, fruits and vegetables. Additionally, spices like turmeric, ginger, and cayenne pepper all have anti-inflammatory properties. Pepper contains capsaicin, a compound that reduces substance P, a pro-inflammatory protein that can be found at the site of swollen tissues, and abnormal cells. Reducing substance P can decrease pain, swelling, and even joint and tissue damage.
Consider adding the following foods into your diet to stomp out inflammation:
White and Green Tea: These teas are full of polyphenols, which are chemicals found in foods and spices that fight off inflammation and reduce oxidative stress. Try adding two cups to your daily routine.
Olive Oil: Using this type of oil in your cooking adds omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be inflammation busters. Olive oil also contains oleocanthal which is a natural, and powerful anti-oxidant that works similar to medications like ibuprofen.
Red Wine: Enjoying red wine can improve heart health and diabetes because it contains resveratrol another natural anti-inflammatory. Remember to enjoy in small quantities!
Walnuts: Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. These nutritious nuts also contain high levels of protein, magnesium and fiber.
Cocoa: Enjoying cocoa (in moderation!) can increase flavonols in the body. Flavonols help eliminate toxins and are known to reduce the production and effect of pro-inflammatory substances. Dark-chocolate is a great source.