Anti-inflammatory food should play a starring role in your healthy diet, protecting you from disease and making you look and feel better. Are you getting enough anti-inflammatory food?
How inflammatory is your diet? If you eat a lot of processed food, you may be setting yourself up for chronic inflammation, which can lead to a host of health disorders you’re wise to avoid. Researchers now believe that inflammation is what’s behind the huge rise in chronic disease in industrialized countries.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to numerous modern health problems, including
- Heart disease
Controlling inflammation not only improves your chances of avoiding debilitating disease, you’ll look and feel better also!
Causes of Inflammation
Diet and lifestyle are the main factors in chronic inflammation. Smoking, stress, and insufficient sleep are the most common lifestyle causes of inflammation. A lot of that fake food I’m always railing against also causes some very inflammatory responses in your body.
Foods that cause inflammation:
- Refined sweeteners, in everything from canned soup to salad dressing
- Refined white flour
- Artificial dyes, colorings, and flavorings
- Highly synthesized ingredients, like vegetable oils and isolates
- Processed meats
- Red meat
- Dairy for those with sensitivities to it
There’s some evidence of a connection between gut health and inflammation, so eating for a healthy gut should help reduce inflammation in your body. As it turns out the foods your gut likes best are also on the list of anti-inflammatory food!
Top Anti-Inflammatory Food
Limiting the inflammatory foods listed above is an important first step to decreasing inflammation in your body. Next, up your intake of anti-inflammatory food. Some of your favorite fruits and veggies are excellent sources of anti-inflammatory compounds, including
- blueberries and other dark berries (like blackberries, mulberries and elderberries)
- kale and other leafy greens
- broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables
- black beans
- sweet potatoes
→Note that members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes) may aggravate rheumatoid arthritis, so you may want to avoid them to see if symptoms improve.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like wild-caught salmon (avoid farmed fish) as well as walnuts, chia seeds, flax, and purslane, also have potent anti-inflammatory powers. Winter squash and leafy greens are sources of omega-3s as well.
Probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha are also helpful for reducing inflammation.
A number of spices also have some impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Try adding more spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, rosemary,and sage to your dishes on a regular basis. I use a lot of thyme in the soups I make, and sprinkle cinnamon liberally on my oatmeal. I also add spices like ginger and turmeric to anti inflammatory smoothies.
Other anti-inflammatory food and drink:
- green tea, especially matcha (black and white tea also)
- cocoa or cacao
- coconut oil
- olive oil
An anti-inflammatory diet is delicious, full of color, flavor, and brimming with nutrients. The tempting recipes below should help inspire you to work more anti-inflammatory food into your rotation!