Foods That Fight Inflammation in the Body
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Using foods that fight inflammation in the body is an effective way to alleviate pain.
You are what you eat, right? Isn’t that what we learn as children? Well, it’s true.
I have dealt with inflammation in my body since my early 20s. I was thankful to learn that I could not only alleviate my pain but also prevent outbreaks of inflammation with certain foods. By incorporating foods that fight inflammation in the body, I was able to get real relief.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “anti-inflammatory diet.” But do you understand why inflammation in the body is dangerous and how food plays a large role in the issue?
The inflammation process in your body is not a bad thing. It’s a safeguard. Your immune system becomes activated when your body is injured or becomes infected. This process is called inflammation.
The redness you notice around a cut as it starts to heal is part of your body’s inflammation process. The brain receives signals telling it to send white blood cells to begin repairing and healing a certain thing in the body. This is acute inflammation and resolves itself as the body heals.
Chronic inflammation is over an extended period and damages your body. It plays a role in the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It’s also associated with an increased risk of cancer, diabetic issues, joint pain, depression, and other chronic illnesses.
Using foods that fight inflammation in the body is an effective way to alleviate pain and prevent disease.
One of the most powerful weapons to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but the garden.
Research reveals certain foods impact the levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in your blood. Foods such as processed sugars and all processed, prepackaged foods, release inflammatory messengers which cause persistent inflammation in the body.
Before you add foods that fight inflammation to your diet, you first have to stop consuming refined or processed foods. Sugary cereals and drinks, fast foods, and breads made with modern wheat all cause inflammation in your body.
The good news is, these foods are readily available and effective.
Foods That Fight Inflammation in The Body
To fight inflammation, we have to focus on foods high in antioxidants to aid in tissue and cell repair. Omega-3s are also vital in regulating the body’s inflammatory process and in managing pain related to inflammation.
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. It has been linked to heart health and longevity. It’s rich in monounsaturated fats that are good for your veins and is high in polyphenols which are antioxidants. It’s important to use quality olive oil. To be sure you’re getting a good one, it should have the date harvested, be traceable back to one farm, and a best by date on it.
2. Dry Beans
Pintos, black beans, garbanzos, all kinds of dried beans are readily available. They are loaded with protein, minerals, B complex vitamins, and vitamin K. They are also rich in fiber and high in antioxidants.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of veggies. They are the underdog in my opinion. High in phytochemicals called glucosinolates, powerful antioxidants broccoli is one of the best foods that fight inflammation in the body.
It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and vitamin A. I enjoy broccoli fresh from the winter garden sprinkled with a little olive oil and real salt. You can enjoy it grilled, sautéed in grass-fed butter, in stir fry, or covered in cheese. Broccoli soup is an excellent food to eat in the winter to be warm and healthy.
As an excellent source of monounsaturated fats (comparable to olive oil), vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and plant protein, almonds are an important member of the foods to fight inflammation. They are especially beneficial when eaten raw, but who can resist coating them with a little cacao powder and olive oil for a delicious treat.
Carrots are known for their high levels of beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential to a healthy body and has antioxidant properties. Carrots also have zeaxanthin and lutein — both associated with inflammation reduction in the body.
Besides being rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados are a superb source of magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Eating just half an avocado will provide most of your RDA of vitamins C, A, E, and B-complex vitamins.
The health benefits of blueberries are considerable. As one of the foods that fight inflammation in the body, they are important due to their high number of polyphenols. Their other inflammatory fighting qualities include flavonoids, anthocyanidins, phenolic acids, and tannins. All of which are known to repair cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Blueberries are incredibly easy to grow in containers making it easy for anyone to grow their own!
8. Turmeric and Ginger
I grouped these two because they potentiate one another in powerful ways. While individually they have been used for thousands of years to help relieve pain, anxiety, depression, and especially alleviate inflammation, together they are unbeatable.
This is my go-to instead of ibuprofen. It’s known as Golden Milk and is used for joint pain and general inflammation in the body.
I keep a jar in my cabinet, which is ½ cup turmeric powder, ¼ cup ginger powder, 2 tsp black pepper (don’t leave this out, it allows the turmeric to be taken up by the body), and 2 Tbs cinnamon, well combined.
When I’m ready to have a cup, I heat 8 oz of grass-fed whole milk or coconut milk then stir in two teaspoons of the turmeric/ginger mixture. I also like to add a little bit of ghee or butter for a richer taste and to cut some of the spiciness of the Golden Milk. The warmth and taste are comforting to the mind as well as the body.
This is not an exhaustive list of foods that fight inflammation in the body, but it is a good place to start. You will be relieved to see how quickly your body responds to these foods and at how much better you feel.
Originally published in March/April 2022 issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.