Inflammation plays a key role in our body’s natural defense systems. Its job is vital to help our body fend off unwanted ailments. Inflammation takes care of anything as minor as a scraped knee or an allergic reaction.
When working as its designed to, inflammation helps our body to heal, and isn’t anything to worry about. But when it becomes a constant presence, it begins to do far more harm than good.
Before going into some of the more serious impacts of inflammation and how the foods we eat can fight it at the root cause, let’s stop to define what the process actually is.
What Exactly Is Inflammation?
In a nutshell, inflammation is the body’s response to any stimulus or foreign invaders such as a virus or bacteria. This can be in the form of a minor splinter or a serious illness. If you’ve ever had a wound swell up and turn red, you’ve felt inflammation acting as it should in your body.
But, when inflammation turns chronic (AKA constant in our bodies), it can cause well-known ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis. What’s not as well-known are some of the even more detrimental long-term effects of inflammation, such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
One of the main factors experts blame for chronic inflammation lies in the food we eat.
This direct link between so many of the serious health woes affecting us and inflammation has earned it the accurate reputation as essentially the mother of chronic disease.
What’s at the cause of this rampant inflammation that can lead to disease? While many things can contribute to inflammation, one of the main factors experts blame for chronic inflammation lies in the food we eat.
Many staples of the standard, modern American diet – sugary sweets, processed treats, processed meats – fill our bodies daily with inflammatory triggers. This means the body’s once-normal response never has a chance to subside if we eat these foods daily.
Fight Inflammation – Eat More of These 5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
Luckily, just as our food choices can create inflammation, they can also heal it.
Here are a few powerful anti-inflammatory foods that actively fight off inflammation from the inside out. And, no prescription needed (just a trip to the grocery store)!
1. Whole Grains
You probably aren’t surprised that whole grains are good for fighting inflammation, since they’re such a rockstar health food across the board.
It’s worth noting that unrefined and unprocessed whole grains – like oats, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and millet – are loaded in fiber. This, in turn, has been proven to keep a marker of inflammation in the blood at bay.
2. Dark, Leafy Greens
In more unsurprising news, dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, chard, or collards fight inflammation, in addition to their other seemingly-countless health payoffs.
They do this by fighting a pro-inflammatory molecule. You can reap the benefits whether you choose to sip your greens in smoothie form or enjoy them steamed as a side dish.
In addition to being a killer source of healthy, unsaturated fat, omega-3s, and Vitamin E (to name a few perks), tossing back just a few almonds a day can help ward off inflammation.
They’re known to fight against inflammatory markers.
The spice responsible for the color and flavor of curry is probably one of the more well-known anti-inflammatory foods. Turmeric has received lots of well-deserved hype lately for its super-abilities to fight inflammation.
The active ingredient of turmeric is cucumin, which is a powerful inhibitor of many molecules responsible for creating inflammation.
Check out this delish recipe to enjoy turmeric on the daily: Turmeric Liquid Gold Recipe to Reduce Inflammation (Video)
Quercetin is the flavonoid and active ingredient in blueberries that’s to thank for their serious anti-inflammatory benefits.
This compound is an antioxidant and particularly potent anti-inflammatory that’s found in dark colored berries as well as citrus.
The Takeaway on Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Even if fighting off the more serious chronic ailments produced from inflammation wasn’t at the top of your priority list (though really, it should be), adhering to an inflammation-fighting diet is always a good idea.
Chowing down on a diet featuring plenty of anti-inflammatory foods ensures you’ll be piling your plate with a variety of healthy-across-the-board foods. Any nutritionist would recommend these for countless health payoffs.
Allowing inflammation to run unchecked can appear as extra stubborn fat on our waistlines.
If those perks weren’t enough, keeping inflammation low in your body can also directly help us get the trim, toned bodies we want. This is because allowing inflammation to run unchecked can appear as extra stubborn fat on our waistlines.
Curious how yoga specifically plays a role in fighting inflammation? Check out: What You Need to Know About Inflammation and How Yoga Can Help
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.
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