Although it sounds bad, at its core, inflammation is a beneficial response of our immune system that helps in the healing process. However, due to various conditions such as arthritis, this healthy bodily mechanism can take on a dark role and damage our bodies. Naturally, there are some dietary choices that can worsen inflammation, such as sugar and saturated fats, and the foods containing high levels of them. But there are also certain foods that can help us fight inflammation. Here are some of them:
Fatty fish and fish oil
Fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna contain many beneficial oils which are full of omega-3 fatty acids that are scientifically proven to reduce inflammation. However, the amazing health benefits that these types of fish provide are drastically lowered if it is cooked in unhealthy ways. Therefore fried, dried or heavily salted fish is not as helpful as baked or boiled fish. The oils that are found in this type of fish can also be extracted in order to produce some fish oil-based supplements, which are the best solution for those of us who are not fans of eating fish.
Nuts, and particularly walnuts and almonds, are another great natural ingredient that we can add to our diet in order to fight inflammation. Nuts are generally rich in fiber, calcium and vitamin E, which are natural compounds that are very effective in matters of counteracting inflammation. The greatest thing about nuts is that they are very easy to incorporate into any diet, as both an ingredient to many tasty dishes, as well as a tasty, healthy snack that you can have on the go, or even while watching your favorite TV show after a long, stressful day.
Dark leafy greens
Many of us might not know this, but vitamin E is a great ally in our body’s fight against inflammation, because it protects us from pro-inflammatory molecules known as cytokines. Dark green veggies are the best known source of vitamin E. They include greens such as kale, broccoli, collard greens and spinach. These can be very tasty in salads, or as an added ingredient to stews or other meat-and-veggies dishes. They can also be great side dishes to any main course, either in their raw state, steamed or boiled. Dark green veggies are very versatile and trendy foods that are very easy to add to any meal.
Many studies along the years have shown that whole grain foods are way more beneficial for our health than their refined counterparts. One of their many health benefits includes fighting inflammation. Therefore, refined white bread, rice, cereal and pasta are not of much help in this matter, but unrefined, whole grains can be just the ally we need in order to boost our strength in the fight against inflammation. This is because whole grains have more fiber and less sugar. A Mediterranean diet consisting of nuts, fish, leafy greens and whole grains has been proven to reduce inflammation in little over six weeks.
Another great ingredient that we can add to our diets in order to reduce inflammation is soy. Just as with any of the aforementioned products, soy is best and most effective when consumed in its natural form. Heavily processed soy and soy derivates do not include the same benefits, due to the fact that they have a lot of added additives and preservatives. Soy milk, tofu and boiled soy beans, also known as edamame, are a great way to add natural soy and soy derivates into your diet in order to achieve their full anti-inflammatory benefits and improve the overall quality of your life.
Beets are another super food with a great array of health benefits that we can all benefit from. Besides protecting us from heart disease and cancer, beets can also help reduce inflammation in the human body, due to their high fiber, vitamin C and betalain contents. Both the beet and beetroot juice have great antioxidant properties and, on top of that, are very, very tasty. Cooked or raw beets can be added as a side or tasty salad to a variety of dishes, and we can benefit greatly in the long run from this.
Ginger and turmeric
Ginger and turmeric are two beloved spices that originated in Asian and Indian cuisine, but have been recently embraced by Western cooking as well. Luckily for us, they also have a great anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies. The plants they come from are related and can give any dish a dash of savory spiciness. The best thing about them is that, given the fact that they are spices, they can be easily added in any dish, in order to season or even marinate certain foods.
Garlic and onions
Although they are known for their bad breath inducing effects, there is no denying that garlic and onions have great benefits for our immune systems. Garlic has been proven to work similarly to non-steroid anti-inflammatory pain medications such as Ibuprofen, and thus help greatly in diminishing and eventually stopping inflammation altogether. Onions work in a similar way. Obviously, garlic and onions are ingredients that have been widely used in international cuisines around the world ever since the dawn of fine cooking. Lucky for us, they also have great health benefits. Therefore, by including garlic and onions into our dishes, we are not only making them tastier, but we are also improving our health considerably.
All in all, these are just some of the many foods that have been known to help the human body fight inflammation. Of course, these can never replace actual medical treatment. But it is widely known that changing dietary habits is an important step in reducing the effect of various inflammatory conditions. These aforementioned tasty foods and ingredients can help us greatly in this respect, and this is why it is important to make a note of them.