Inflammation is a pain in the a** and there are no two ways about it. It’s annoying, it ruins your well being and it leaves you feeling puffy and swollen. However, sometimes, there is such a thing as good inflammation. Like when you twist your ankle and it swells – that’s because your body is sending extra blood and immune cells to the injury site to fight off infection.
The bad kind, however, is chronic inflammation. This can cause your body to attack its own cells by mistake. Often triggered by weight gain, stress, and genetic conditions (say, if you have eczema or Crohn’s Disease), chronic inflammation can last for a long time and is associated with conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. But, for all those lovers of grub out there, the good news is that the problem can actually be improved with food.
Here are the best foods that directly fight inflammation.
1. Fatty fish
Omega-3 is an essential, inflammation-fighting, fatty acid that our bodies don’t produce. Luckily, it’s abundant in various types of fatty fish like salmon and tuna, which are both great raw and grilled with a glaze. Mmmm glaze *homer drool*
2. Leafy green vegetables
Load up that salad bowl! Dark leafy greens like spinach are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin K – which is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Berries have tons of fiber and antioxidants, meaning that they’re super anti-inflammatory. What little overachievers they are. A 2016 meta-analysis in the journal Nature showed that berry consumption could help prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.
4. Flax seeds
Top it on cereal, blend it into a smoothie, or sneak it into your favorite snacks and baked goods for a boost. A 2016 review found that flaxseed reduced C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease – in obese populations.
5. Olive oil
Olive oil’s naturally-occurring compound oleocanthal has been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory effects similar to ibuprofen. More studies need to be done, but following a Mediterranean diet (which involves eating lots of olive oil), is associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions.
6. Green tea
Over time, our bodies produce free radicals (damaged molecules that contribute to ageing and disease), due to stress and poor diet. Enter green tea, the brew is full of the active ingredient catechin; an antioxidant that helps fight inflammation-causing free radicals.
Avocados aren’t just a millennial form of currency. They’re rammed full of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, which many of us don’t get nearly enough of in our diets. Let no one stop you spreading them on toast.
8. Cruciferous veggies
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts are super-high in fiber. The good bacteria in our guts thrive off fiber-rich foods which, you guessed it, HELP FIGHT INFLAMMATION.
I’m not talking about that water you see on Tumblr or Instagram, plain old water does the trick perfectly well. How so? It keeps your digestive system moving. You see, when stool is just sitting in your colon, it causes inflammation, so water helps move it on. Plus, hydration also helps reduce inflammation of the joints.
Take your pick when it comes to nuts – they’re all high in omega-3s. Whether you love almonds, cashews, or pistachios; they’re all a good choice for keeping inflammation at bay.
Being a sufferer of chronic inflammation myself, I couldn’t advocate this list enough. If these aren’t apart of your everyday diet, start off introducing them into your routine little by little and, before you know it, your body will be in such good condition that you can finally fulfil your dream of being a movie star or athlete… or both.