Inflammation is just our bodies natural response to foreign entities in the body that seek to cause harm. When our immune system is triggered to fight off these aggressors, a host of white blood cells are sent to the affected area for treatment.
In some cases, though, as with auto-immune disorders such as arthritis, the immune system induces inflammation in areas where there is no apparent threat, unable to differentiate regular healthy tissue from disease.
This, of course, is not ideal as the symptoms of inflammation are unpleasant to say the least and a cause of great distress for prolonged periods of time. Inflammation can be short lived, or it can persist well beyond its welcome period.
However there are practical steps we can start practicing today to subside unwelcome inflammation, and it all comes down to what we are putting (or not putting) into our bodies.
One of the absolute best ways to fight inflammation in the body is not with a myriad of concoctions and prescribed tonics but with the foods we eat.
These are just a selection of items you can add to your grocery list to help you keep inflammation at bay.
One of the most popular foods for fighting inflammation is a regular old tomato. Tomatoes are packed with nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C which are fantastic for fighting off inflammation.
Tomatoes are also a great source of potassium, which our bodies need to maintain bone health and keep blood pressure in a healthy range.
As we do not produce potassium ourselves, we need to be getting our intake from external sources, like the tomato.
Broccoli sprouts are hands down the single best food you can consume for inflammation.
Not only do broccoli sprouts help our bodies release and reduce inflammation causing biomarkers, but they taste great and are super easy to make right from your own kitchen.
All you need is some broccoli sprout seeds and about 5 days then you’re good to go!
Dark chocolate is a delicious treat in moderation and an effective defence against inflammation due to its antioxidant rich flavanols. It is also packed with zinc, iron, and magnesium, all of which we need to maintain a healthy body over 50.
When selecting a dark chocolate, look out for higher coca concentration with anything 70% and above being the most potent.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil has been found to reduce the risk of inflammation thanks to an antioxidant compound known as oleocanthal, which has been shown to inhibit inflammatory enzymes.
This olive oil can easily be included in your diet in cooking and as a dressing for salads.
Studies have also shown that the high concentration of healthy fats in extra virgin olive oil can help reduce heart disease and maintain healthy cognitive function.
Mushrooms are an excellent addition to your diet as they are ultra-low in calories and super high in essential nutrients like b vitamins and vitamin D. These vitamins are proven to help fight of inflammation.
Some studies show that cooking your mushrooms may lower their antioxidant potency so try chopping them up raw in a salad or sandwich.
Avocados, like extra virgin olive oil, are super high in healthy fats for our heart and brain and come packed with potassium, magnesium, and fibre. Avocado’s antioxidants will also help keep inflammation down.
Ginger has been used in tradition eastern medicine for centuries for good reason. Acting as a digestive enzyme, ginger can help along your body’s digestion process naturally, reducing inflammation in the process.
While it’s important to keep an out for foods that lower inflammation, it’s equally important to omit foods form our diet which may increase the risk of inflammation.
Try to eliminate or lower your intake of the following foods.
- Fast food (Pizza, McDonalds etc)
- White bread and pasta
- Cookies and biscuits
- All fried food
- High sugar drinks such as soda and sweetened tea
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Foods To Avoid That Promote Inflammation
Fast food, packaged snacks, and sugary drinks are high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and additives. These can cause inflammation in the body and make it more likely to get a long-term illness. Whenever you can, choose whole, unprocessed foods.
The fiber and nutrients have been taken out of refined grains like white bread, white rice, and pasta. They can make your blood sugar go up, which can lead to inflammation. Instead, choose whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and bread made from whole wheat.
Eating too much sugar has been linked to inflammation and other health issues. Avoid drinks, desserts, and processed foods that have sugar added to them. Go for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in moderation.
Fried foods, margarine, and a lot of processed snacks have trans fats. Not only do they cause inflammation, but they also raise levels of bad cholesterol. Read the labels on food and stay away from products with partially hydrogenated oils.
Eat the foods that lower inflammation can have a big effect on your overall health. These dietary changes reduce chronic inflammation and lower your risk of chronic diseases.
Always choose whole, unprocessed, anti-inflammatory foods. You can also eat fatty fish, berries, leafy greens, turmeric, and olive oil.
Avoid processed foods, refined grains, sugar, and trans fats as much as possible.
Remember, small changes can reduce inflammation and improve long-term health.
Make healthy, inflammation-free diet choices today to take charge of your health.
Your body will thank you!