10 Common Foods that Help Reduce Inflammation

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Did you know that inflammation is a necessary body function regulated by the immune system? It’s true — inflammation occurs when our immune system notices that there is an issue that needs to be resolved. Hit your finger with a hammer and have a welt? That’s your immune system sending your body a signal to repair your finger. Drank too much alcohol and feeling puffy? That puffiness is your body trying to remove toxins.

That said, there is a difference between a normal amount of inflammation and chronic inflammation. When we drink too much alcohol, are stressed, eat too much sugar and processed foods, and generally don’t take care of our bodies, we can develop chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation often looks like red, puffy, or itchy parts of the body, joint pain, lethargy, weight gain, and even more serious diseases like Alzheimer’s, depression, diabetes, and heart disease.

So then, whether you’re trying to feel better, stave off future health concerns, or control chronic inflammation, what are some great (and yummy) anti-inflammatory foods? Read on to find out!

1- Garlic

While it’s not a food you should load up on if you’re trying to impress a date or have a job interview, garlic is an excellent anti-inflammatory food that you can add to just about any meal.

Garlic contains diallyl disulfide, a compound that limits the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines compounds (not to be confused with anti-inflammatory cytokines, as both exist).

2- Berries

In addition to a wealth of other health benefits, did you know that berries have anti-inflammatory properties? It’s true — in one study, participants drinking a berry-filled beverage had a significant decrease in inflammatory properties than the control group.

In order to get the best anti-inflammatory effects, choose berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

3- Fatty Fish

According to a study by the American Heart Association, people who regularly took fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids had significantly reduced inflammation when compared to the control group. Without diving into too much of the science behind this, the researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids increase the concentration of a molecule that regulates inflammatory components in the blood.

So, if you’ve been craving salmon, anchovies, mackerel, or tuna, it’s your lucky day!

4- Green Tea

There’s nothing like a good cup of tea to start the day, or to give a little “pick-me-up” when that mid-afternoon slump hits. But while different types of tea have varying benefits, if you’re looking to reduce inflammation, then look no further than green tea. While many teas contain an antioxidant called catechins, green tea contains EGCG, the most intense type of anti-inflammatory catechin.

5- Peppers

A vegetable that adds a ton of color and yumminess to loads of meal options, bell peppers are especially high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, sweet bell peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that helps reduce inflammation and joint pain.

Looking to have an endless supply of bell peppers (and other vegetables) this summer? Then check out this article for tips on how to have your own veggie garden!

6- Turmeric

Turmeric has been in the news a lot lately for its many health benefits, but something that it’s especially become known for is its anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric is apt in combating inflammation as its main component, Curcumin, is anti-inflammatory. Specifically, Curcumin blocks NF-kB, a molecule that activates specific genes in your body related to inflammation.

7- Beans

Have a craving for some chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, or black-eyed peas? Then you’re in luck! These delicious beans have been proven to combat inflammation due to being high in anti-inflammatory compounds.

8- Olive Oil

While there is a whole wealth of reasons to add some olive oil to your diet, studies have shown that oil of the extra-virgin variety can reduce inflammation. This is due to one of the key antioxidants in olive oil, oleocanthal, which works like natural ibuprofen of sorts.

9- Dark Chocolate

If you were looking for a reason to consume some dark chocolate, then consider this it. Not only does dark chocolate taste great, but the cocoa used to make it contains flavanols that help reduce inflammation. In fact, according to a study, people who eat one piece of dark chocolate every three days have a lower amount of inflammatory proteins than those who ate no chocolate.

Just keep in mind that for the pros to outweigh the cons, it’s best to choose at least 70% dark chocolate.

10- Tomatoes

And last but certainly not least, tomatoes! A vegetable that seems to be omnipresent in many western and Mediterranean diets, tomatoes are one of the richest known sources of a nutrient called lycopene — a carotenoid that has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

That said, if you’re looking to get the most out of your tomatoes as possible, then either crush them or finely dice them. This helps to release the lycopene from the cell walls of the tomato.

That said, due to the high acidity, if you’re dealing with acid-reflux then beware of tomatoes. Learn about different ways you can alleviate acid reflux in this article!

Tips for Choosing Quality Foods:

We at The Wellness Project are passionate about always choosing the healthiest, most sustainable food options we can find.

These quick tips will help you do this same:
– Whenever possible, choose produce that is in-season for your country or region. Not only will you get the best bang for your buck this way, but you’ll also cut down your carbon footprint as the goods won’t have to be shipped. This calendar is an excellent resource for finding out what produce is in season in Lebanon.
– Farmer’s markets are excellent sources of fresh, locally-sourced foods. Check out what days your local farmer’s market runs!
– Whenever possible, choose herbicide/pesticide-free produce. Not only is organic better for your body, studies suggest that it’s also better for local flora and fauna populations, such as bees.

That’s it for our 10 foods that help reduce inflammation! Of course, these foods are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to controlling inflammation, and should be consumed as part of a well-rounded diet. Let us know your anti-inflammatory tips or questions in the comments below!

That’s it for our 10 foods that help reduce inflammation! Of course, these foods are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to controlling inflammation, and should be consumed as part of a well-rounded diet. Let us know your anti-inflammatory tips or questions in the comments below!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6124384/

https://www.familyrecoveryspecialists.com/alcohol/swollen-feet/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-olive-oil 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24512603/ 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324747#:~:text=Anti%2Dinflammatory%20effects,-Share%20on%20Pinterest&text=Dark%20chocolate%20contains%20compounds%20with%20anti%2Dinflammatory%20properties%20that%20may,chocolate%20on%20the%20immune%20system

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#:~:text=Turmeric%20and%20especially%20its%20most,symptoms%20of%20depression%20and%20arthritis.

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/12/12/could-fish-oil-fight-inflammation#:~:text=A%20study%20published%20Thursday%20in,certain%20components%20in%20the%20blood.

 

 

 

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