For many people, they think that inflammation is a bad thing. Actually, inflammation is not. It’s an essential part of the body’s immune system. It is the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury. Inflammation is also a way that the body defends itself against foreign invaders, like bacteria and harmful viruses. And lastly, it’s a way the body repairs damaged cells and tissues.
With an increase of attention to a specific area of the body, there will be swelling, redness, heat, and some pain or discomfort.
How Is Inflammation Harmful?
When you think about it, wounds fester and infections become deadlier without inflammation.
On the other hand, this condition can also be a problem. How? Well, it is usually the cause for many diseases. Some of these include arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and very many more.
One of the main causes of this condition is low-grade bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Other causes are genetics, stress, toxins from the environment, and your diet and lifestyle.
Fortunately, there are a number of superfoods available that can counter the harmful effects of inflammation. Below are some examples of food that can help. It’s best to take it slow and easy when introducing these foods into your diet. This is most especially if you’re not used to eating them at all. In the long run, you’ll ultimately feel better and healthier. And for sure, your body will be sure to thank you.
Garlic has been known to have a lot of benefits for the body. It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and antioxidant properties. Many researchers believe that all these wonderful benefits are because of its sulfur-containing compounds, like allicin. This compounds blocks enzymes that are responsible for bacterial and viral infections. Studies show that as you digest this particular compound, your body produces sulfenic acid. This then reacts very fast against harmful free radicals.
Moreover, aged garlic extract stimulates anti-inflammatory proteins. It also holds back inflammatory markers in chronic inflammation environments.
Ginger reduces inflammation caused by overactive immune responses. It breaks down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It also cleanses the lymphatic system, which is our body’s sewage system. The main compound responsible for these benefits is gingerol. It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-disease, and anti-bacterial. These compounds block several genes and enzymes that cause inflammation.
This root also hinders joint pain and reduces osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The curcumin content found in turmeric is its primary component that fights against inflammation. According to a study, curcumin is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world. What it does is it inhibits the activation of inflammatory pathways by shutting off the production of two pro-inflammatory enzymes.
Chia seeds are a nutrient powerhouse. They contain essential fatty acids like linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid. Also, they have strontium and mucin. In addition, they also have vitamins A, B, D, and E. And finally, they have minerals like iron, sulphur, manganese, magnesium, iodine, niacin, and thiamine.
All these components give the seeds their ability to reverse inflammation. Chia seeds also regulate blood pressure and cholesterol. The seeds also reverse the bad side effects of oxidative stress.
Green tea aficionados, rejoice! This seemingly innocent drink is loaded with antioxidants and inflammation-fighting ingredients. Green tea has catechins, which are known to fight threatening free radicals. In addition, its high epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) content along with polyphenol make it a very strong anti-inflammatory drink.
It’s been known to combat several diseases caused by inflammation. Some examples are liver disease, atherosclerosis, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. In addition, this drink also promotes a healthy heart.
What’s a great way to recognize anti-inflammatory foods? By their deep, dark colors! Beets are a great example. They are jam-packed with antioxidants that fight against inflammation. To note, the antioxidant betalain is responsible for their color. It’s also an excellent anti-inflammatory factor.
Beets are also known to improve your metabolism and gets rid of genes that accumulate fat.They also have positive effects for insulin resistance and improve your mood. Eating beets naturally lowers levels of inflammatory markers. And lastly, they also decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and plaque buildup.
A study shows that regularly eating these berries significantly reduces inflammation. In another study, it shows that they also neutralize the inflammatory effects of high-fat, high-carb meals.
Blueberries contain a very powerful antioxidant that combats inflammation. This is known as quercetin. It also protects the body from oxidative stress, thus reducing inflammation.
Its other benefits include the slowing down of cognitive decline and improving memory and motor function.
This is good news for chocolate lovers. It’s known to be super rich in antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory. Flavanols are also known to add to chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, it reduces the risk of heart disease and can lead to healthier aging and keeps the endothelial cells in the arteries healthy.
A study at the Louisiana State University shows that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate into heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory compounds. These stop genes that lead to insulin resistance and inflammation.
And remember, the darker the chocolate (at least 70% cocoa and up), the better.
Aaah, the dreaded broccoli. Most children simply despise this cruciferous vegetable. So much so that they tag it as the devil in disguise.
However, that is not the case. Broccoli is actually a very nutritious vegetable that is rich in sulforaphane. This antioxidant fights inflammation by reducing the levels of NF-kB and cytokines. These compounds increase the likelihood of inflammation.
Broccoli also contains glucosinolate. This prevents unwanted inflammation as they are converted to I3C. This is a compound that decreases the production of pro-inflammatory mediators.
In addition, it has a high amount of both magnesium and potassium, minerals that have their own properties that battle with inflammation.
All these factors work together to lower oxidative stress in the body, along with battling chronic inflammation and the risk of cancer development.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is particularly helpful in reducing pro-inflammatory compounds that lead to several types of cancer. One study shows that drinking pure tomato juice significantly decreases inflammatory markers.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Our moms weren’t kidding when they told us to eat our vegetables. In particular, green leafy vegetables are great for optimum health. Most of these vegetables are easily available are also great at fighting inflammation. They are very rich in antioxidants for cellular health. They also contain inflammation-fighting flavonoids. Their basic makeup protects you from oxidative stress caused by harmful free radicals.
Some great examples of vegetables to add to your diet are Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, and lettuce.