Inflammation happens when your immune system spots a problem, like an injury, damaged cells, foreign bacteria, or virus, and tries to destroy the problem-causing agent before it has a chance to cause more damage. It can feel like your body is on fire, with redness, swelling, heat and discomfort.
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural inflammation-fighters hiding in foods you may already have in your kitchen. Here are a few excellent ones to add to your regular nutrition plan for health.
Ginger fights pain and inflammation on two different fronts. It can stop inflammation before it ever starts by inhibiting the formation of inflammatory compounds in your body, and it has anti-inflammatory effects that can help reverse the inflammation process once it starts.
These anti-inflammatory compounds are called, aptly enough, gingerols.
Ginger’s been mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern writings for its medicinal, as well as its culinary, benefits.
Studies have shown that people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have less pain and increased mobility when they consume ginger regularly.
Pineapples are a super-rich source of vitamin C, which helps fight the free radical damage that contributes to joint pain and disability that can accompany osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The stem and core of the pineapple fruit contain a complex mixture of substances known as bromelain. So do not throw away the core!
Bromelain has been linked to reductions in excessive inflammation.
Many fruits and veggies start to lose nutrients the moment you pick them, but not pineapple! If chilled, even cut fruit retains many of its nutrients for at least six days.
SALMON AND SARDINES
It’s the high concentration of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids that make cold-water fatty fish like salmon and sardines effective pain-fighting foods.
Omega-3s may reduce risk of inflammatory-related chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
You can also get omega-3s from plant sources, but cold-water fatty fish contains the EPA and DHA forms of omega-3s that are the easiest for your body to use.
While you can get bioavailable omega-3s from a wide variety of fish, smaller fish like these have lower concentrations of toxins, like mercury, than larger fish like swordfish and tuna, and are easier to fish in sustainable ways.
Having enough anti-inflammatory omega-3s in your diet helps balance out the levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 EFAs (which are found in more foods).
Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants. We’ve been growing it for over 5,000 years.
Garlic is rich in sulfur-containing compounds that give it its distinctive smell, but also its health benefits.
These sulfur-containing compounds help protect you against both inflammation and oxidative stress.
Once you’ve chopped or crushed your garlic, let it sit for a few minutes before cooking or adding other ingredients. This will allow those sulfur-containing compounds to fully activate so they’re more effective!
With mostly monounsaturated (healthy) fats, avocado is a super good. Remember, it’s not fat that makes you fat. Sugar does.
Avocado is a perfectly balanced food, it’s got healthy fat, fibre and protein!
Avocados even have a special type of fats (phytosterols) that provide important anti-inflammatory benefits to our body systems.
These phytosterols are anti-inflammatory, but avocados pack even more pain-fighting power in with other anti-inflammatory nutrients like carotenoids, catechins and procyanidins.