Inflammation is a process by which our body’s immune system responds to infections brought in by outside intruders. The intruder might be bacteria or virus, but it could also be a foreign object such as a thorn in your finger. Inflammation is a necessary process that assists the body to fight illness and heal from an injury or infection.
However, sometimes inflammation persists repeatedly, even when any foreign object does not attack your body. That’s when inflammation starts troubling you. Chronic Inflammation can lead to many diseases, including obesity, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Inflammation can be triggered by- toxins intake due to smoking, stress, too many fat cells, or inflammatory foods.
If you have a condition that causes inflammation, the best way to combat it is to cling on a healthy diet rather than depending upon drugs. Many research pieces have shown that there are anti-inflammatory foods in nature and can help fight inflammation. Incorporate these anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, and you will definitely notice the positive changes in your health. An anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, foods rich in various antioxidants and healthful fats are an essential part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Let’s discuss a few most natural anti-inflammatory foods in detail.
Table of Contents
1. Walnuts and Almonds
Walnuts are a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts contain a few enzymes that prevent the formation of neurotransmitters that cause pain and swelling. Alpha-linolenic acid and phenolic antioxidants in walnuts help in fighting free radicals. Similarly, Almonds are also an excellent choice for anti-inflammatory foods when it comes to combat inflammation as they are a significant source of anti-inflammatory vitamin E.
There are many varieties of berries like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Berries are rich in anthocyanins, oxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects and help lower the risk of disease. Compounds in blueberries may help prevent cancer by decelerating the growth of cells and reducing inflammation. And the best part of these anti-inflammatory foods is that they are delicious, juicy, and sweet, along with being nutritious.
We all have heard that broccoli is jam-packed with nutrients. An excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and calcium broccoli contains antioxidants called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane reduces your levels of cytokines and NF-kB that cause inflammation and help you fight inflammation. It is very easy to include this natural anti-inflammatory food in your diet. You can eat it raw or cooked, whichever way you like.
Avocados are the superfood that is also a must-have for any anti-inflammatory diet. Avocados are rich in potassium, magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are believed to reduce the risk of cancer and protect against inflammation.
Both bell peppers and chili peppers are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants that have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Bell peppers contain antioxidant quercetin, and chili pepper provides sinapic acid and ferulic acid, all of which help reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of inflammatory disease.
6. Green tea
Green tea is one of the best beverages that keeps you hydrated and the healthiest. It has many credible benefits; it improves brain function, helps you lose fat, and lowers the risk of cancer. These benefits are present because green tea has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. A substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in Green Tea stops inflammation by lowering the production of cytokine that causes inflammation. So if you want to combat your inflammation problem, don’t forget to incorporate green tea into your anti-inflammatory diet.
There is hardly any reason that you may not want to add flaxseeds into your daily diet. One of the most important reasons of adding flaxseeds is that they are one of the best natural anti-inflammatory foods as they contain compounds like lignans and flavonoids. Also, they are rich in inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids. The best way to have flaxseeds is to have them in grounded form, as it makes them easier to digest.
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and are one of the best foods that fight inflammation. It’s because of flavonoids present in their sappy flesh. It is a great idea to have orange or orange juice to neutralize a high-fat pro-inflammatory effect, lowering our cholesterol levels. Also, the fiber and folate in oranges boost your cardiovascular health.
The dark green spinach leaves are the next on the list of foods that fight inflammation. Spinach leaves contain a very high amount of antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin K. All these nutrients safeguard your body from the damage caused by free radicals. Especially, Vitamin E present in the spinach leaves protects your body from inflammation-causing pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.
The powerful essential oils present in basil contain a compound called eugenol which possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties. Also, basil is an antioxidant that protects your DNA from oxidative stress that leads to inflammation. Chewing on some fresh basil leaves can help subside arthritic pain and swelling. There are many ways in which you can include basil leaves in your diet, like adding them to soups, sauces, tea, or they can even be chewed raw.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric double its power as a wonder spice. Turmeric contains compounds having medicinal properties known as curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active compound in turmeric, is a very strong antioxidant, and helps reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin help in reducing pain and swelling caused due to inflammation. Turmeric is among the most easily available foods that fight inflammation in Indian households.
Commonly known as Anjeer, figs contain a flavonoid called luteolin that stops the activity of inflammatory cells. Another flavonoid called quercetin in figs suppresses the release of inflammatory cells that are stimulated from free radicals. Thus it breaks the cycle of inflammation and lowering the risks of developing many diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
13. Sweet Potatoes
Another name on the list of foods that fight inflammation is Sweet Potatoes. They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A. Also, they are incredibly high in beta-carotene and anthocyanins. Both these antioxidant compounds have high anti-inflammatory properties. Sweet potatoes are also abundant in vitamins C and K, potassium, B complex vitamins, and fiber.
Now that you know about the foods that fight inflammation, it is also important to aim for an overall healthy diet to keep inflammation under check. If you are on an anti-inflammatory diet, prevent or limit your intake of these foods that cause inflammation:
- Fried foods
- Refined carbs
- Processed foods
- Foods with too much salt or sugar
You may have to change your eating habits and other medications or treatments prescribed by a doctor to help yourself with the condition. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation is equally crucial as incorporating these natural anti-inflammatory foods in your daily routine.