Best Food, Inflammation, Rebekah's Health & Nutrition

Inflammation is a natural life-saving bodily response. It’s the immune system’s way of saying no to infection and healing from damage or injuries. But there’s such a thing as too much when it comes to this biological process. Chronic inflammation is associated with many illnesses, like arthritis, lupus, and heart disease.

That’s why being mindful of what you eat is crucial as there are certain foods that trigger and prolong the inflammatory response. These include refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugary drinks, and processed meat. In the same way, there are many nutritious foods that fight off inflammation. If you want to switch to a more anti-inflammatory diet, here are the top food groups you should add to your grocery list:

• Vegetables and fruits

For veggies, you want to eat more green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach as well as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. They’re the top foods dieticians recommend for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) because of naturally occurring compounds that block inflammation. These greens can help reduce joint swelling and pain, which will significantly improve mobility among RA patients.

Berries, cherries, oranges, and tomatoes (it’s a fruit!) are particularly good for toning down inflammation, too. They are rich in antioxidants or compounds that remove toxins in the body, which are known to promote inflammation.

There’s an infinite number of things you can do with fruits in your diet. But if you’re struggling to increase your intake, consider consuming them in smoothie form. All you need is an ordinary blender to whip up a quick smoothie filled with various vegetables and fruits. You can also try juicing them, but note that this process removes the fiber that’s known to aid in digestion.

• Whole grains

Whole grains may be a source of carbohydrates, but they are not refined. These superfoods retain the parts of the grain that contain the most nutrients, including iron, calcium, and fiber. Studies suggest that they reduce systemic inflammation because of the range of nutrients present in whole grains. These end up feeding the good gut bacteria that support the immune system.

What’s more, whole grains are truly some of the most versatile ingredients to cook with. All you need is a multi-functional rice cooker and you’re all set, as these are designed to cook different types of grains perfectly. Try making your own grain bowl by experimenting with brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, and millet. Top them with a protein of choice and some healthy fats for a micronutrient-rich meal.

• Healthy fats

Speaking of healthy fats, they are also anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is especially true for omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found mainly in fatty fish. There are also vegetarian sources of omega-3s, including nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil.

It’s not too hard to eat too many of these healthy fats. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel can be your main protein source, and you can add a dollop of guacamole to your grain bowl. Nuts and seeds are great for snacking, and can also be incorporated into oats, granola bars, and smoothies. And instead of searing your food with butter or canola oil, try cooking with olive oil.

• Medicinal plants

Many herbs and spices have medicinal uses. For instance, turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that blocks molecules related to inflammation. You can also add ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to the list of anti-inflammatory spices to cook with. For herbs, green tea is a good choice as well as mushroom-based teas like chaga or ashwagandha. And of course, CBD tea can help reduce the painful symptoms of inflammation.

Making these dietary changes is but a small sacrifice to make in the name of health. Ensure that your immune system is in tip-top shape by eating more of these anti-inflammatory foods!

content intended only for the use of By Aileen Baker

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