What to eat to reduce Inflammation
A topic of conversation that regularly comes up in my working practice is inflammation.
Inflammation is at the root of many common, long term diseases: arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few. With education and correct food choices, symptoms can be reduced and discomfort eased.
Inflammation is not always a bad thing. In fact, inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. It is a protective response to remove harmful stimuli such as damaged cells, irritants and pathogens. Problems occur however when inflammation becomes chronic.
Chronic inflammation can last from months to years. If not kept under control, or ideally eliminated, chronic inflammation can cause disease and illness. Through our diet we are able to reduce inflammation and ultimately help health problems away.
Try adding the following foods into your diet to reduce inflammation:
- Dark leafy greens (Kale, Swiss chard and Spinach)
Rich in Vitamins A, C and K. These greens are high in antioxidants that restore cellular health. Eat in salads, smoothies, stir fries and more.
High in antioxidants and a natural anti-inflammatory. Improves blood pressure, cholesterol levels and can prevent heart disease. Eaten as a raw snack or an addition to any cold pressed juice, stock, stew or homemade pasta sauce.
Contains antioxidant Betalain, a fantastic anti-inflammatory. Beetroot has incredible benefits when added in just small quantities. Try adding to a cold pressed juice, made into a beetroot hummus, boiled for a salad topper, burger or sandwich. Alternative options include spiralised on a salad, roasted or home-made healthy crisps!
Known as the “antioxidant powerhouse”, broccoli is packed with key vitamins to lower oxidative stress on the body and reduce chronic inflammation.
Contain a flavonoid called quercetin which fights inflammation and cancer. Blueberries can be eaten as a snack, put into smoothies, added to cereals or into your oatmeal.
Pineapple contains bromelain. Studies have shown that bromelain stops blood platelets from sticking together and building along the walls of blood vessels which leads to heart attacks and stroke.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in walnuts help protect against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Walnuts are great chopped up and mixed into pasta sauces, topped on oatmeal or even made into great raw vegan desserts. If you prefer they can be eaten on their own but remember nuts do have a high fat content so although they have a number of fantastic health benefits, do be sure to eat them in moderation.
- Coconut oil
Lips in coconut oil contain anti-inflammatory compounds which heal arthritis more effectively than medications.
Coconut oil can be heated at high temperatures without destroying its healing benefits, so try using it as an addition to your stir fries, homemade sweet potato chips, or a great addition to oatmeal and smoothies too!
- Chia seeds
The ultimate “superfood”. Not only high in omega-3 and 6 but Chia seeds have the ability to reverse inflammation, lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol levels.
Chia seeds can be used in many ways, try adding them onto salads, pasta or rice. Make a chia pudding, pop in a smoothie or into oatmeal. When mixed with water they form a gel which is used as an egg replacer in baking so they really have multiple uses. You will not struggle to get these into your diet!
Another great source of omega-3’s. Flaxseeds are high in antioxidants which are hormone balancing and great for cellular health.
Similar to chia seeds, flaxseeds can be used in multiple ways: sprinkle onto salads, on top of pastas or rice, or as an egg replacer in baking. For baking you will need the ground version of flaxseed and not the whole seed. An easy way to add flaxseed into your diet is in smoothies, 1 tbsp is a great amount and you can’t taste it either!
As you may have heard before, turmeric is fantastic at reducing inflammation. It’s active anti-inflammatory component, curcumin, is it’s primary compound.
Simply add this powerhouse into home-made curries, a warming addition to your rice, cold pressed juices or a warming turmeric latte!
Ginger has the ability to break down the accumulation of toxins in the bodies organs. Use dry or fresh, it works the same way.
Ginger is a common spice and an essential part of any curry however it has many other uses. Try: fresh ginger and lemon water, freshly made juice, stir fries and raw vegan desserts. Due to the powerful flavour of ginger it can be a more difficult addition to a diet, however you only need a small amount to get the benefits so have some practise with it.
Eliminate the following inflammation inducing foods:
- ALL processed meats
- Red meats
- Margarine, shortening and lard
- Fizzy drinks
- Fried foods
- Refined carbohydrates (white breads, pastries, doughnuts etc