Inflammation is a vital bodily function that fights off diseases, treats injuries, and heals wounds. However, when inflammation in the body becomes chronic, i.e. when the immune system starts overacting and attacks healthy body tissue, your overall health is at risk. The thing is chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of health issues including weight gain, autoimmune disease, dementia, and even cancer.
Inflammation can be triggered by several factors such as excessive exposure to stress, food allergies, smoking, and environmental factors. However, the main culprit is an unhealthy diet. On the other hand, a healthy diet can neutralize the inflammatory process in the body, reduce free-radical damage, eliminate toxins, and promote healing.
These are the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods you should regularly include into your diet:
- Leafy green vegetables
This group of vegetable includes kale, spinach, bok choy, and Swiss chard, all of which are abundant in flavonoids – powerful, plant-based antioxidants. Flavonoids can restore cellular health, which is vital for stopping inflammation.
Plus, leafy green vegetables are high in A, C, and K vitamins, thus they protect your brain from the oxidative stress caused by free-radical damage.
- Probiotic foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, kefir)
Your gut including the beneficial gut bacteria is probably the most important part of your immune system. Microbial imbalances, which occur when the bad bacteria outnumber the good ones, have repeatedly been linked to increased inflammation as well as a higher risk of various diseases. However, probiotic foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can restore gut balance, but at the same time also improve your immune, cognitive, digestive, and endocrine system functions.
- Bone broth
Bone broth is a rich liquid made from boiling the bones of organic, grass-fed beef or poultry for hours. It’s a real storehouse of nutrients, including collagen. Collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine work together to heal the lining of an inflamed gut, thus preventing your immune system from attacking the body’s healthy tissues, from the skin to the brain.
And that’s not all. Bone broth is abundant in chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine — the expensive over-the-counter supplements for inflammatory arthritis and joint pain.
Walnuts are often referred to as brain food, mostly because they are high in omega-3s and trace minerals. Walnuts provide special phytonutrients that protect against cognitive decline. Also, walnuts calm an overactive immune system and reduce widespread inflammation caused by an oxidative stress – imbalance between oxidants (bad) and antioxidants (good).
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a real gift of nature. It’s a special kind of saturated fat with natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It produces a thermogenic effect on the body, which is why it’s easily digestible and beneficial for restoring gut health.
Coconut oil is packed with essential fatty acids which fight bacteria, yeast, and infections within the digestive tract; this is where most illness and disease begins. That’s why it both prevents and treats inflammation.
Beets are abundant in the antioxidant betalain, which is extremely effective in neutralizing inflammatory cellular damage. Beets also stimulate circulation by supplying high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium, two important nutrients many people are deficient in.
- Broccoli (and other cruciferous veggies)
Broccoli along with cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C, all of which work together to reduce oxidative stress in the body, fight chronic inflammation and lower the risk of cancer onset.
Berries are abundant in both fiber and antioxidants including quercetin. This flavonoid promotes healthy bacterial growth in the gut while protecting against colon damage.
Berries are also beneficial for slowing cognitive decline and improving memory and motor function.
Wild salmon and other oily fish such as mackerel and sardines are the best food sources of omega-3s. Omega 3s are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that prevent many inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, depression, and cognitive disorders.
- Super seeds (chia, flax and hemp)
Aside from omega-3, super seeds like chia, flax, and hemp also provide omega-6 fatty acids, which prevent overproduction of cytokines and oxidant molecules that trigger inflammation.
These super seeds are also high in fiber, antioxidants, protein, and numerous trace minerals that control cholesterol and reduce hypertension.