What to Eat to Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is its simplest form is an important part of the immune system because of the way it helps respond to and fight off injury and infection. It does this by causing tissues to swell which the immune system then attends to and treats accordingly. Without it, our bodies would quickly become overwhelmed by foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. When this inflammation becomes chronic or prolonged – the result of an auto immune disorder, extended exposure to certain chemicals or pollutants and poor diet, excess alcohol and stress – our bodies are constantly in fight mode which can cause problems. When this happens it’s important to try and give your body the best possible chance of getting back on an even keel, and as with most things, diet plays a huge role in that. Here are five potent anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet.
Darkly coloured berries like raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are packed full of antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, which are naturally high in inflammatory-busting properties. That’s because the more of these compounds you eat, the more NK cells your body is able to produce, which are needed for proper functioning of your immune system.
Fatty fish and fish oils
High in anti-inflammatory omega-3 long-chain forms eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and fish oil sourced from algae and krill, this is a great addition to your anti inflammation diet, especially if you work out with any regularity. According to various studies, regular consumption of fatty fish helps reduce post workout soreness and muscle tears that are par the course after an intense session.
Vegetables like broccoli, sprouts and kale are rich in an antioxidant called sulforaphane that fights inflammation and helps reduce the levels of inflammatory markers in your body. High levels of this kind of inflammation have been shown to lead to inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, so ensuring you eat these regularly is good for maintaining overall good health, especially as you get older.
Most tea is loaded with compounds called Polyphenols, or flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce and detoxify the inflammation caused by free radical damage – up to 8-10x more so than most fruit and vegetables. Green tea however, is especially high in antioxidants and contains a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which negates the damage caused by free radicals.
A lot of noise has been made about the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and rightly so. This root native to south Asia has been used in classic Indian medicine for years for its significant anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that its active component curcumin has the ability to block the action of inflammatory molecules in the body, helping to prevent and reduce inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and joint pain.