INFLAMMATION! INFLAMMATION! INFLAMMATION!
It’s the topic that’s been burning up the internet because it’s such an important marker of health. Some even say it’s the root cause of all disease.
Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that when it’s chronic (i.e. ongoing) it can be pretty bad for our health.
Inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, just to name a few. And for midlife women, inflammation has been shown to lead to poor memory, cognitive decline, and ‘brain shrinkage’ later in life!
But, instead of writing all about what it is, how it's measured, and where it comes from; why don't I focus on what foods to ditch to put out the fire and then some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it?
STEP ONE: HERE’S WHAT WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST EFFECT ON REDUCING CHRONIC INFLAMMATION:
Tamping down chronic inflammation can be as simple as getting rid of processed and refined carbohydrates. You know the ones that spike your blood sugar, make you gain weight, and are hard to give up? Processed grains, and sugary/starchy foods are the #1 fuel of inflammation.
STEP TWO: TRY ADDING SOME OF MY TOP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS TO YOUR DIET EVERY DAY:
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #1: BERRIES, GRAPES, AND CHERRIES
Why save the best for last? Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favorite of yours?
Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).
Oh, and did I forget to mention their phytochemicals (phyto=plant)? Yes, many antioxidants such as "anthocyanins" and "resveratrol" are found in these small and delicious fruits.
In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #2: BROCCOLI AND PEPPERS
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant "sulforaphane." This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin. Just make sure to choose red peppers over the other colors. Peppers that are any other color are not fully ripe and won't have the same anti-inflammatory effect.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #3: HEALTHY FATS (AVOCADO, OLIVE OIL, FATTY FISH)
Fat can be terribly inflammatory (hello: "trans" fats and omega-6 seed/vegetable oils like soy and sunflower), neutral (hello: saturated fats), or anti-inflammatory (hello: "omega-3s), this is why choosing the right fats is so important for your health.
The best anti-inflammatory fats are the omega-3s. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. And they're also great for our midlife brains!
Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (e.g. sardines and mackerel), and wild fish (e.g. salmon). Oh, and don't forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and ground flax seed.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #4: GREEN TEA
Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate”, otherwise known as EGCG.
EGCG is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer's.
Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It's thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #5: TURMERIC
Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric?
Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin.
This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.
Many curry dishes contain turmeric, but you can add it to salad dressings or sprinkle it on your scrambled eggs, too, to get your daily dose.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD #6: DARK CHOCOLATE
Ok, ok. This *may* be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes, and cherries.
Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely "flavonols"). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They've even been shown to prevent "neuro-inflammation" (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.
Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars.” You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!
There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colorful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa.
You have so many delicious reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of "anti-inflammation."
The information provided on this website is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional or be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician or other healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet, medical plan, or exercise routine.