You’ve heard it before: you are what you eat. While we all understand the concept, we still aren’t listening to our bodies when they are crying out in pain after we devour a pizza, burger, fries, chips, or pop. And after many years, this takes its toll on our bodies.
Inflammation is more prevalent as we age, especially because of declining anti-oxidants. If we add foods that fight inflammation into our meals and include them with a balanced eating plan that includes a range of vegetables, fruits, proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, it can contribute to overall health and cut down inflammation in the body.
A popular ingredient in traditional Indian medicines and cuisines, Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory effects. We can add turmeric powder or fresh turmeric root to curries, smoothies, golden milk, soups, stews, etc.
In recent years, Turmeric shots have become immensely popular, particularly in the West.
Ginger contains gingerol, a bioactive compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
There are so many ways to consume ginger: add ginger to curries, dressings, smoothies, and hot chocolate, or enjoy a cup of fresh ginger tea. Another option is to have a glass of ginger water every day to support your digestive system.
Packed with antioxidants, berries can help reduce inflammation. Try to obtain the variants which are available locally during the season. We can enjoy them in smoothies, salads, oatmeal, or as a healthy snack.
Some of the most easily accessible berries are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Rich in vitamin C and fiber content, berries are good for our overall health too.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory effects, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and anchovies help reduce inflammation and support heart health.
Some options to add more fish to your diet: grilled fish, salmon strips, or some Mediterranean baked fish.
One of the healthiest alternatives out there with various health benefits, leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that combat inflammation. We can add them to salads, stir-fries, or smoothies.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Oleocanthal, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties, is an integral part of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Try switching to extra virgin olive oil as a dressing or for light cooking.
It is typically advised to maintain an average daily amount of ~2 tablespoons per day to provide effective anti-inflammatory benefits.
Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts, raisins, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds are some of the most common options. These nuts and seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber that fight inflammation.
Add them to smoothies, oatmeal, salads, or yogurt. Another way to consume more nuts and seeds is to add ground variants to baked goods or consume nut-based butter such as almond butter.
Matcha green tea has recently grown in popularity as a healthy beverage alternative over coffee. Green tea typically contains a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
Replace usual sugary beverages with green tea for a refreshing and healthier option.
Filled with antioxidants, including flavanols, dark chocolate has been considered a superfood with anti-inflammatory effects and may improve heart health and mood. One can switch to dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (70% or higher) and enjoy it in moderation.
Packed with probiotics and protein, Greek yogurt aids in gut health and helps counter inflammation. We can choose plain, unsweetened varieties and add them to our own oatmeal, smoothies, toppings, etc.
There are also yogurts made with sweeteners available in the market for all the folks with a sweet tooth out there.
Black pepper is loaded with the bioactive compound called piperine, which has anti-inflammatory perks. There are various ways to consume black pepper in everyday life: as a seasoning in salads, rolls, steak, vegetable soup, rice bowls, etc.
Tomatoes have been identified for their anti-inflammatory benefits. They consist of various compounds high in antioxidants that add to their anti-inflammatory results, especially lycopene and vitamin C. Most notably, Lycopene is an effective antioxidant that provides tomatoes with a vibrant red color.
You can enjoy tomatoes raw in a salad or cooked in salsa and other sauces.
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