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In recent years, scientific research has revealed that it’s much more than an ache, pain or arthritic condition. It’s now recognized that every single disease begins with chronic inflammation in our cells.
Inflammation is a natural function of the immune system but due to modern lifestyle stressors, we all face the likelihood of an increased inflammatory response. While we can’t see it, our immune system is constantly working to keep the level of inflammation in our cells at bay.
Fortunately, consuming anti-inflammatory nutrients and foods daily has been scientifically proven to assist the immune system in its everyday inflammation-fighting battle.
A few years ago, a group of researchers developed an inflammatory index of foods and nutrients. This was a scientific breakthrough as previous to this we had no way to compare how anti-inflammatory diets influenced the outcomes of many health conditions.
The development of the inflammatory index has resulted in more than 150 research studies within just a few short years. Even though research in general has come under fire recently, shedding some unwelcomed light on biased reporting of cherry-picked data, the amazing thing about these studies is: all 150 of them came to the same conclusion… that following an anti-inflammatory diet reduces your risk of all types of diseases.
Below are the top eight anti-inflammatory nutrients and foods…
Magnesium is needed in more than 300 enzymatic functions in the body, which may explain why it’s top of the list. Magnesium-rich food sources include seaweed, spinach, chard, shiitake mushroom, sundried tomato, acorn squash, kale and other leafy greens. Guard against these things that can deplete it.
With hundreds of studies exploring its positive benefits, turmeric can be consumed in its fresh, root-like form, as a dried, ground spice, or in supplement form. Follow these three steps to optimize turmeric’s cancer-fighting benefits.
- Beta carotene/ Vitamin A
Food sources of these vitamins include sweet potato, frozen peas and carrots, spinach, kale, raw carrots, mustard greens, pumpkin, and collards. How you prepare these foods can affect how much of this vitamin beneficial vitamin you ingest.
The most effective teas are green tea, black tea, oolong and the herbals chamomile, devil’s claw, meadowsweet and ginger. Check out the beginner’s guide to Chinese tea for health.
Although grain-based foods are promoted as fiber-rich foods, vegetables contain just as much fiber, along with providing more vitamins and minerals. For example: 3.5 oz sun-dried tomatoes, peas or artichoke contain around 5.5 grams fiber while the same quantity of brown rice contains 4.7 grams. Choose a wide variety of vegetables to boost up your fiber intake. Fiber is a disease-fighting must-have!
Quercetin is a flavonoid, a type of beneficial plant pigment. Most vegetables and fruits contain quercetin at varying levels but foods with higher amounts include dill, buckwheat, cacao powder, red onions, spring onions, raw cranberries, raw kale, white onion and cilantro. Fight protate cancer with quercetin and green tea.
Luteolin is another type of flavonoid that can be found in lemongrass, broccoli, green beans, carrots and bell peppers, and it is considered Traditional Chinese Medicine’s most promising cancer and inflammation fighter.
- Omega 3
Omega 3-rich food sources include mackerel, herring, red salmon, sablefish, pink salmon (canned), sardines (canned), tuna (canned), cold-pressed flaxseed oil, flaxseed, chia seed, hemp seed and walnuts. Krill oil is a great choice because of it’s high anti-oxidant content.
One thing you may notice about the list above is that it contains natural, nutrient-dense food sources. That’s because foods that are largely devoid of nutrients — sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, hydrogenated fats — are pro-inflammatory foods that promote increased inflammation in our cells.
What makes a diet anti-inflammatory is one that is filled with nutrients. That’s exactly what your body needs — each and every day — to support the millions of living cells in your body, your organs and your immune system to help them function at their best to keep you disease-free.
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Shivappa N, et al. Designing and developing a literature-derived, population-based dietary inflammatory index. Public Health Nutrition. 2014;17(8):1689-96.
Food composition databases. Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods