12 anti-inflammatory foods to include into your diet
- Oily Fish
Oily fish — like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines — are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. Just great for all that dry winter skin and support skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Don’t forget to check that your fish is from sustainable sources.
Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses by helping block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents. Flaxseeds are high in Omega-3 oils so a good substitute for people who don’t eat fish to include in their diets.
Hemp seed benefits come from their significant amounts of omega-6 fatty acid GLA, known for its anti-inflammatory properties. GLA is metabolized into dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) by the body, which then intervenes with the ability of arachidonic acid to produce pro-inflammatory molecules.
- Dark, Leafy Greens
They’re a good source of vitamin E which has been shown to protect the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines. The darker colours of green leafy vegetables contain many compounds thought to support the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Nuts contain many compounds including antioxidants, which can help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation.
Known for its immunity-boosting properties, garlic shuts off pathways that lead to inflammation.
Onions contain anti-inflammatory chemicals that break down to produce substances that fight free radicals. Is it any wonder that thousands of meals the world over start with garlic and onion!
Celery has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and celery seeds (ground or whole) are also inflammation fighters!
The wide variety of colours of berries is due to compounds called Anthocyanins that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Sour Cherries
Researchers suggest that sour cherries have very high anti-inflammatory properties as they are high in anthocynins and other compounds not found in sweet cherries or berries that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Olive Oil
What can’t olive oil do? It prevents the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes which enable inflammatory pathways to continue in the body. Go for cold pressed extra virgin oil and eat raw or lightly heated to increase the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil.
What’s not to love about turmeric?! The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, but did you know there are over 300 other compounds in turmeric and many of these also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is why it is important to consume whole turmeric or foods or supplements made with the whole root.
Turmeric is a proven anti-inflammatory that can reduce swelling and help ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also help with digestive issues, improve eyesight, and lead to clear, healthy skin.
Compounds in ginger act in a similar way to many anti inflammaotry medications such as Iboprofen WITHOUT the side effects such as kidney and digestive system damage! So you can treat inflammatory symptoms naturally. Ginger is widely tolerated and can be included in many forms into your diet.
The story of inflammation is also bigger than adding a few more foods to your diet – although this is a great start! Eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits of all colours means you will include the widest variety of these sorts of health supporting compounds. Its all about balance – if you are eating highly processed foods often, you are tipping your body towards chronic inflammation. What are you including in your diet to tip the inflammation scales in your favour?