We are definitely an "inflammation nation".
Technically, you need some inflammation to heal wounds and fight infection, but an abundance of processed foods and the ensuing deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can lead to a very dangerous (and increasingly more common) condition known as chronic inflammation.
Many of the top health experts consider chronic inflammation to be one of the main culprits for all diseases and aging in our modern world.
But the anti-inflammatory foods, essential fatty acids in foods and good quality supplements, and certain herbs can help you fight inflammation and disease!
You can help your body fight inflammation by reducing stress, eliminating sugar and processed foods, and getting enough sunshine.
Diet is a key part of your inflammation-fighting plan, and some foods have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are 10 excellent inflammation-fighting foods and ways to incorporate them into your lifestyle:
1. Broccoli has tons of vitamin C and plenty of calcium. It also fights eye inflammation. Make sure you lightly steam your broccoli to digest it well.
2. Flax oil and Hemp oil (and all other oils with omega-3 fatty acids) reduce inflammation. Most Americans consume too many omega-6 fatty acids, so it's important to incorporate more omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp oil and hemp seeds also have gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) to further fight inflammation. Remember to look for unrefined organic oils.
3. Wild-caught salmon is another way to get beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. You can also try other fatty fish like cod and sardines. Wild-caught salmon is the only kind you should consider eating if you are serious about reducing inflammation. Farmed salmon (and other fish) have high levels of arachadonic acid, a fatty acid that is destructive if you get too much.
A special note needs to be made here about the need to supplement with a pure omega 3 source as it is not practical nor healthy to eat the amount of fish we need to get sufficient omega 3 balance. There are many supplements on the market today, but it is crucial to get a pristine, potent and sustainable source. Unfortunately, fish oil and krill oil are not sustainable sources (the populations are being depleted) and you need to take a lot of capsules to really address an inflammatory condition. There is a supplement, however, that has proven itself to be the best on the market. The following link provides more information on Moxxor: http://www.naturalnews.com/moxxor_health_benefits.asp?ID=ana
4. Tart cherries can reduce inflammation ten times better than aspirin! Tart cherries help reduce your risk for heart disease. They are certainly more delicious than the popular over-the-counter pill you are likely familiar with.
5. Soaked walnuts make a delicious and inflammation-fighting snack because of vitamin E and more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Soak your walnuts and other nuts before you eat them to remove the enzyme inhibitor. This makes them easier to digest.
6. Onions and Garlic. Onions not only provide a sweet taste to your savory meals, but also they have lots of quercetin, a potent antioxidant that can help your body fight inflammation. Try onions with your grain dishes, or prepare with eggs and greens. Garlic has long been a folk remedy for colds and illness, and its anti-inflammatory properties are amazing! Garlic contains sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease.
7. Fermented Foods and Liquids like raw cultured veggies and sauerkraut, unpastuerized miso, probiotic supplements, raw milk kefir (if dairy is tolerated), and kombucha should be at the top of your list of inflammation-fighting foods. They are anti-inflammation super stars for many reasons. One example is that they build immunity and help control infections that are often an underlying cause of inflammation.
8. Pineapple is a tart fruit that has bromelain, an antioxidant that boosts your immunity naturally.
9. Spinach has plenty of carotenoids; one kind of inflammation-reducing antioxidant and it also contains vitamin E.
10. Spices: Ginger & Turmeric
* Turmeric is a spice used extensively in other cultures, and for good reason. It contains curcumin, a substance that actively reduces inflammation. Try sprinkling turmeric onto cooked squash or quinoa for a different flavor.
* Ginger works in a way similar to turmeric to lower inflammation and in some studies has been shown to reduce pain associated with arthritis.
While processed foods may seem like the easier choice at first, they deplete your health over the long haul.
Developing a healthy eating plan can sometimes seem difficult but like anything that is new, it becomes second nature over time. And the payoff is well worth it: with a proper diet, you can take a proactive stance against inflammation and disease by incorporating these superfoods into your life.
With diet and lifestyle choices that support your health, you'll fight disease, illness and the signs of aging!
Ana is the founder of Devana Wellness and a certified holistic health counselor, yoga instructor, Reiki practitioner and massage therapist. She specializes in delicious and healthy cooking, whole foods nutrition, specialized supplementation and working with essential oils to help others realize optimum vibrant health.
Ana works with clients nationally and teaches classes and workshops internationally. Her website and newsletter are both enlightening and inspiring resources for all those who seek to explore a healthier and happier life. Please visit devanawellness.wordpress.com to learn more.