Do you have chronic pain and fatigue, skin rashes, and too much phlegm? Or digestive problems like bloating, stomach pain, constipation, or diarrhea? Perhaps you’re carrying excess fat around your belly? If you answered “yes”, chances are you have chronic inflammation.
Inflammation protects your body against infections, and speeds up wound healing. But when inflammation lingers on, it causes other problems. Chronic inflammation happens when your body senses that it is always being attacked. It fights back by making more white blood cells, which attack the nearby healthy tissue and organs.
A lot of things can cause inflammation. Chemicals in air, food and water, stress, sleep issues and visceral fat cells are believed to cause chronic inflammation. And persistent, low-grade inflammation is linked to many health issues, like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, just to name a few.
The reason so many people suffer from inflammation is because of their diet. In today’s video, we’ll talk about the top 16 anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet to fight chronic inflammation. Make sure you watch till Number 1, as there will be a few surprises. As always, this video is educational and does not construe medical advice, we are not doctors.
Number 16. Berries.
Want to feel better and look better? Eat more berries! Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins that reduce the inflammation in the body and reverse cell damage. Pineapple is also a berry and contains the highest amount of an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain helps stimulate protein digestion, reduce inflammation of the gut, and boost immune function. Get more energy by adding fresh berries to your diet today!
Number 15. Broccoli Family.
You know broccoli is nutritious, but did you know it contains one of the most potent anti-cancer compounds? This compound is called sulforaphane, and is found in the florets, leaves and stem, though it is most abundant in broccoli sprouts. Multiple studies have shown that sulforaphane neutralizes toxins, reduces inflammation, protects your DNA, and slows tumor growth.
Other cruciferous vegetables rich in sulforaphane are arugula, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, cauliflower and watercress. These are packed with vitamins C and K, folate, and antioxidants called flavonoids, which combat inflammation and allergies.
Number 14. Grass-fed Beef.
Do you know the difference between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef? Pasture-raised, 100% grass-fed beef can help us battle inflammation, while grain-fed beef can increase it.
Meat from healthier grass-fed cows have 5 times more omega-3 fats and 2 times more alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), both of which have well-known anti-inflammatory effects.
By contrast, grain-fed or “grain-finished” cattle is mostly raised on a corn and soy based diet high in pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fats.
If you’re worried about saturated fats in beef and red meats, multiple recent studies have found no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.
In fact, research shows less disease among people who opt for meat from grass-fed animals over conventional. Other meats from healthier grass-fed animals include lamb, pork and chicken.
Number 13. Grass-fed Milk and Dairy.
Since grass-fed meat is anti-inflammatory, does the same go for grass-fed dairy products? Yes!
Though it was widely believed that dairy fats cause inflammation, the opposite is true. Full-fat, grass-fed milk, butter, and ghee (a type of clarified butter) play an essential role in lowering body inflammation. Many people are unaware that such dairy products are packed with anti-inflammatory vitamin K2, Omega 3-s, carotenoids, vitamin E, and other antioxidants. All these compounds are extremely efficient in lowering the inflammation level in our body.
What about people having issues with drinking milk? The solution could be A2 milk which is milk from grass-fed cows that contain only A2 protein, while regular milk contains A1 and A2. When A1 protein is broken down in the body, it releases a protein fragment called BCM-7, which causes inflammation in the gut.
Number 12. Organic or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
Coconut oil is made up of 92% saturated fats and is a healthy cooking oil. This is because it is stable when heated, and does not release free radicals, like polyunsaturated fats.
Coconut oil contains the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) lauric acid, capric acid and caprlyic acid, which are good for you. Consuming unrefined coconut oil can reduce inflammation in your stomach, boost your energy, improve your metabolism, decrease your risk for heart disease, and help with mental focus by making ketones, which are brain food.
Number 11. Bone Broth.
Bone broth is rich in healing compounds such as collagen, gelatin, and amino acids like glutamine, arginine, and glycine, which fight chronic inflammation. The gelatin in bone broth strengthens the lining of your gut and is beneficial for people with leaky gut or irritable bowel diseases. The best bone broth is made by simmering bones and cuts of meat high in collagen, like marrow, knuckles, and feet for as long as possible, after blanching the bones and roasting them.
Number 10. Herbs and Spices.
Herbs and spices are packed with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and fat-burning properties. We’ll just highlight four of them:
Cinnamon, which stabilizes your blood sugar and reduces inflammation in the blood vessels. Turmeric, which contains curcumin that reduces joint inflammation and help with Alzheimer’s and cancer. Ginger, which reduces joint pain and swelling and prevents blood clots. Garlic, which contains the sulphur compound allicin, that stimulates our immune system to fight inflammation and illness.
Other herbs and spices with high levels of antioxidants that fight inflammation are basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, cloves and cumin. See our video on 13 spices that unclog arteries.
Number 9. Omega-3 Fats.
Omega-3 fats are important for your health. They can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and protect you from heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and other neurological disorders. They also support gut health by reducing the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s Disease.
You can get EPA and DHA omega-3s by eating fatty fish like wild-salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout, as well as seaweed and algae. And ALA omega-3 from plant sources such as walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, edamame, kidney beans and Brussels sprouts.
Number 8. Pastured or Omega-3 Enriched Eggs.
You’ll want to eat eggs from hens that roam free in green pastures. They’re healthier than regular eggs because they contain more omega 3 fats, protein and vitamins A, D & E. Eggs also have anti-inflammatory carotenoids that help your eyesight, like zeaxanthin and lutein. Plus they have choline which is good for the brain and heart! If you can’t find pastured eggs, go for omega-3 enriched eggs.
Number 7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Olive oil is a healthy fat that is made up of 71% monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. It contains the phenolic compound oleocanthal, which is found only in extra-virgin olive oil. Oleocanthal has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are similar to ibuprofen, which is a NSAID for pain relief. Studies show that Oleocanthal can kill cancer cells.
Number 6. Avocados or Guacamole.
Did you know avocados have more potassium than bananas? Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats called oleic acid, plus they’re packed with magnesium, fiber, folate, vitamins K, and E and lots of carotenoids and lutein. These healthy fats, antioxidants, and phytochemicals have been shown to reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar and insulin, block the development of arteriosclerosis, help fight cancer, promote weight loss, keep eyes healthy, and add a healthy glow to your skin. Make avocados and guacamole a regular part of your meals!
Number 5. Fermented Foods.
Do you want to improve your gut health? Fermented foods are a great way to do that. They’re rich in good bacteria called probiotics, which improve digestion, boost mood and energy levels, reduce inflammation, and support a healthy immune system. Some of the best fermented foods to try are natto, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, unsweetened yogurt and pu-erh tea.
Number 4. Green, Black and White Teas.
Do you drink tea? You should! Green, black and white teas are all high in antioxidants. Drinking tea promotes natural inflammation response, healthy immune function and healthy skin. It may also prevent inflammation related health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Drink 2 or more cups a day for best benefits! Go beyond earl grey and matcha, and try dragonwell, white peony, oolong and pu-erh tea.
Number 3. Mushrooms.
Mushrooms contain lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fat-burning ingredients, and cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Common mushrooms like crimini and portobello, have natural chemicals that stop the body from making too much estrogen. Too much estrogen can lead to weight gain and cancer. Another mushroom, Shiitake, has powerful medicinal qualities. It is rich in the B vitamins, riboflavin and niacin, antioxidants like ergothioneine and fiber like Beta-glucans that lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, prevent clogged arteries and fight cancer. Also, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc in shiitake mushrooms protect your cell mitochondria, which produces energy. Stir-fry or add shiitake mushrooms to your soups!
Number 2. Dark chocolate and Cocoa.
Are you feeling down? Dark chocolate is a delicious way to feel better. It’s loaded with antioxidants and flavanols that suppress inflammation, and help keep your arteries healthy. To take advantage of these benefits, choose dark chocolate with greater than 70% cocoa content!
Number 1. Tomatoes.
Did you know that eating tomatoes cooked is healthier than eating them raw? Cooking tomatoes helps your body absorb more lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and helps prevent cancer growth. It also supports your heart, brain, and bone health by protecting your cells from damage. Lycopene is fat-soluble, so when you cook tomatoes for a long time, like in tomato sauce or soup, you can get a lot more lycopene in your diet. Adding olive oil to your tomato sauce enhances lycopene absorption even further!
And that’s it! The top 16 anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet to optimize your health.
At the same time, it’s important to reduce or avoid pro-inflammatory junk foods, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meats, trans fats or partially hydrogenated oil, gluten, and alcohol. See our video on 13 foods that cause inflammation.
And as always, get enough sleep and exercise, reduce stress, stay well-hydrated, and spend time in the sun.
For more information on the signs of hidden inflammation, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet, please see our link in the description.
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And now, over to you: Which are your favorite anti-inflammatory foods that may or may not be on this list?
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