Inflammation in any part of the body is your body’s natural response to an injury or any foreign bodies such as bacteria or viruses. It is your immune system’s attempt at healing and repairing tissues. Without inflammation your wounds could fester and the minute infections may even turn fatal. However, in cases of chronic diseases the inflammation can be challenging and irritating too. Inflammation usually occurs in form of redness, swelling, immobility and pain and sometimes even some raised temperature.
In case of a mild injury your body’s biochemical reaction releases a protein called ‘cytokine’. This sends emergency signals to your brains which are then transmitted to your immune cells. As a result your hormones, white blood cells and nutrients come into action. So what causes this inflammation?
- In case of an injury or foreign body invasion arteries widen to make space for increased blood flow and capillaries make way for hormones, white blood cells and nutrients to fill in the gaps in between the cells. This often appears in form of swelling.
- The white blood cells gather in the injured or infected area and play their role in warding off germs, dead cells, damaged tissue or any other foreign bodies to help in making the healing faster. That is why our WBC count is usually on the higher side when we get an infection or injury.
- Hormones swarm in that area too and form blood clots. This makes the healing rapid and once the damaged area is healed they help in removal of damaged tissue. This often times triggers pain and raised temperatures as well.
- Swelling is a result of fluid which the WBCs, hormones and nutrients are surrounded by. This accompanying fluid puts increased pressure on our nerve endings which causes the pain in inflamed area.
- Inflammation can be both acute and chronic. Chronic inflammation often if not always occurs in patients suffering from illnesses such as:
- Heart diseases
- Lung Diseases
In such cases doctors often subscribe ANSAIDS or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. These drugs take care of the inflammation to an extent, but their long term usage has a number of side-effects and the body often develops resistance over prolonged use. Did you know there are a number of foods that fight inflammation and including these anti inflammatory foods in your diet can reduce inflammation, swelling and pain to a large extent? Here is a list of 12 natural anti-inflammatory foods.
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12. Leafy Green Vegetables
Let’s just call them “nature’s powerhouse”. They are a good source of vitamins A, C and K, folic acid minerals such as magnesium and dietary fiber. They are rich in antioxidant properties which are pivotal for your cellular growth and flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin K is good for your bones and is also an immunity booster. It is highly recommended to include Vitamin K foods in your diet to improve your immune system. The cruciferous family includes: spinach, mustard greens, lettuce, and romaine lettuce.
- Try adding a few leafs of baby spinach to your fruit smoothies to enjoy amazing benefits of spinach.
- You can also make anti-inflammatory juice by combining any of the leafy vegetables and for some flavor just add some honey and lemon juice.
- Vitamin k in these vegetables also fights against the inflammation in brain which occurs due to free radical damage in cases of prolonged depression.
Both celery in fresh form and its seeds are phenomenal reduce inflammation. Recent studies have shown celery is one of the best anti inflammatory foods, as it has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in vitamins and potassium, which is known to flush out toxins. Most of the processed foods which are high in sodium are inflammatory foods. Balancing your diet with potassium can be very beneficial, especially the inflammation caused due to hypertension.
- As celery promotes flushing out of toxins it is beneficial to have celery soup or include it in your diet in case of flu or viral infections. It is also very effective in preventing and providing relief in kidney infection.
- You can even find celery seeds both in whole as well as ground form. They are anti-inflammatory and help fight bacterial infections.
- Including celery in your diet is a great way to ward off mineral imbalance which is often caused by free radical and toxin build-up caused by poor dietary choices.
Beets along with their rich color are loaded with a number of nutrients. One of the prime one being antioxidant betalain which is high in anti-inflammatory properties and also responsible for the root’s rich color. Beets have the ability to fight cell damage and heal and repair them. They are also a rich source of magnesium and potassium which makes them one of the best anti inflammation foods. They cover up the magnesium deficiency and the high content of folic acid in them helps in iron deficiency. Iron deficiency not only gives you severe weakness but can also lead to anemia. They are also used in many effective home remedies for kidney stones.
- Magnesium deficiency causes calcium build-up, as our bodies are not able to process the calcium it weakens our bones and causes inflammation. Calcium build-up may even lead to kidney stone formation.
- The potassium deficiency leads to high levels of sodium in our body. One of the problems which arise when there is lack of mineral balanced diet is diseases such as high blood pressure and thyroid problems.
- Beets help in maintaining mineral balance in our bodies and ward off inflammations which occur as a result.
You must have heard numerous benefits of broccoli by now. Did you know it also happens to be one of the foods that fight inflammation? When it comes to foods that reduce inflammation, benefits of broccoli are invaluable. It is potent in both magnesium and potassium, which we have already explained are pivotal when it comes to fighting inflammation. It is also one of the most beneficial calcium rich foods for your health. Along with these broccoli is rich in vitamins, flavonoids and cortisones. They ward off oxidative damage to organs. They in combination also keep cancer cells from forming and help in reducing chronic inflammation such as in case of arthritis patients.
- Broccoli also happens to be loaded with calcium and fiber.
- It is also loaded with D-Glutamate an antioxidant which absorbs into your blood stream in gel form and helps in flushing out toxins and estrogens.
- You can eat broccoli raw, sautéed or grilled, to get the maximum benefits out of it, just leave a little extra stem which has the most amounts of vitamin K.
“Inflammation in any part of the body is your body’s natural response to an injury or any foreign bodies such as bacteria or viruses. It is your immune system’s attempt at healing and repairing tissues. Without inflammation your wounds could fester and the minute infections may even turn fatal.”
Some of the recent studies have made blueberries one of nutritionist’s favorite foods. It is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and also happens to be a very powerful antioxidant. The substance responsible for both these properties is ‘quercetin’. Studies have found that this powerful flavonoid not only can fight inflammation but also has the properties to fight off cancer cells and keep them from growing. It is one of the most effective immune boosting foods you can eat regularly.
- Blueberries are great anti-aging super foods and ward off damages caused by ageing
- Consuming blueberries on regular basis has been beneficial for treating those suffering from IBD as it repairs the damage in colon and gut
- Blueberries are protective against oxidative damage.
Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain which is included in a number of supplements to support digestion process and reduce inflammation that makes it one of the best anti inflammatory foods. Bromelain is often combined with quercetin to boost its anti inflammatory properties. Several studies have revealed that bromelain has immune boosting qualities. Since it boosts up our immune system it can fight inflammations in different parts of the body against foreign bodies. Pineapples are also a good source of Vitamin C, B1 magnesium and potassium and loaded with antioxidants as well. Pineapple has phytonutrients in the purest form which makes the medicines work more efficiently. These benefits can only be reaped when taken in fresh form because preserving it makes it loose the nutrients. Eating a pineapple regularly is considered among the best home remedies for heartburn and digestion problems.
- Pineapple is also beneficial for heart health, as it keeps blood clots from forming. Often heart patients take an aspirin a day for this purpose; consuming fresh pineapple on daily basis can serve the same purpose.
- As blood thickens blood clots tend to stick to arteries and creating blockages, the nutrients in pineapples also keeps this from happening.
- Pineapples are also beneficial to reduce inflammation brought on by arthritis.
Salmon and other fish such as tuna are a good natural source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 is considered to be one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory natural nutrients. Consuming fish on a regular basis, say at least three times a week reduces chronic inflammation significantly. It even reduces chances of getting chronic illnesses such as high cholesterol and other heart related diseases, arthritis and even cancer. It is especially known among the foods that lower cholesterol and prevent heart problems.
Also Read: Home Remedies for Arthritis
- Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the brain function and even help in reducing inflammation in the brain which may have been caused to neurological disorders, chronic depression or any other head injuries.
- It is beneficial for cognitive and behavioral functioning of the brain
- You may also intake one tablet of omega-3 daily, which is often subscribed to arthritis and cardiovascular patients.
- When buying fish remember that farm-bred fish often lacks the same amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and may also be high in mercury.
“Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain which is included in a number of supplements to support digestion process and reduce inflammation that makes it one of the best anti inflammatory foods. Bromelain is often combined with quercetin to boost its anti inflammatory properties.”
5. Bone Broth
Bone broth is filled with nutrients. It can be very beneficial for fast pain relief, feeling energized, recovering from an illness and reducing inflammation which is caused by illness or injury. It helps in recovery as it gives a boost to your immunity. It is a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulphur, some amino acids, proline and even glycine. It can help reduce inflammation. You can extract broth or stock from beef or chicken bones.
- A yummy recipe is to simply let the bones boil for a good 2 hours or so. Add vegetables such as ginger, carrot, onions, and a pinch of turmeric some salt and pepper for flavor.
- You can just take out and store this broth and use it in soups and gravies.
- Another idea is to substitute broth with water in some recipes which will not only enhance the flavor but also nutrient value of all your meals.
Often when trying to reduce inflammation doctors recommend avoiding red meats. To make up for the protein deficiency nuts can be your best option. Among nuts walnuts are a cardiologist’s favorite nuts. Many nutritionists and doctors recommend having a handful of unprocessed nuts everyday for health and vitality. Nuts are a rich source of minerals and also the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. The natural fats in walnuts are similar to those in olive oil. The saturated fats give a boost to your HDL, the good cholesterol.
- To include walnuts in your diet add crushed walnuts to any salad and drizzle it with some olive oil.
- The polynutrients in walnuts prevent metabolic syndrome, cholesterol related inflammation and type-2 diabetes.
- Walnuts also help reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and are also great for increasing bone density.
“We have all heard how great it is for weight loss but did you know that chia seed also happens to be one of the best anti-inflammatory foods? It is a rich source of not only omega 3 but also omega 6.”
3. Chia Seeds
Just like nuts, there are some seeds which are considered very potent when it comes to anti inflammatory foods. One such seeds is chia seed. We have all heard how great it is for weight loss but did you know that chia seed also happens to be one of the best anti-inflammatory foods? It is known for abundance of rich minerals and healthy vitamins for women health. It is a rich source of not only omega 3 but also omega 6. It is rich in vitamins A, B, E and D, essential fatty acids, iron, iodine, strontium, manganese, magnesium, niacin, dietary fiber and linoleic acid. The tiny black seeds are hands down a power house when it comes to foods that fight inflammation. The fatty acids in chia are more balanced and beneficial than the fats in our diets.
- Health benefits of chia seeds include lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol.
- It reverses oxidative stress and reduces chances of developing atherosclerosis
- They line your digestive tract and gut, reduce constipation and also are beneficial for IBD
- When dissolved in water, they release a gel like substance which is great for your joints and curbs inflammation which is brought on by joint related diseases.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is not just a product to be kept in your vanity anymore. It happens to be one of the foods that fight inflammation. Health benefits of coconut oil are numerous for all kinds of problems. This oil just has so much nutritional value that fitness trainers such as Jillian Michaels and a number of Hollywood celebrities cook only in extra virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil is rich in antioxidant properties as well. Studies done in India revealed that coconut oil reduces inflammation in arteries and heals them and restores their elasticity much better than any medicine.
- Did you know that oxidative damage and free radicals are the biggest culprits behind osteoporosis? Having one tablespoon of coconut oil daily flushes these radicals and toxins out of your system and reduces your chances of getting the disease.
- Coconut oil happens to be heat/temperature stable oil. This makes it ideal for cooking and sautéing vegetables.
- The oil is loaded with antioxidants and the good fats which makes it one of the best anti-inflammatory foods.
The root is used regularly is Chinese herbal medicines and in Ayurvedic treatments, and happens to be one of the best foods that fight inflammation. It can be used in dried, fresh or even supplement form, as it doesn’t lose its nutrient value in any form and continues to be equally beneficial. Ginger has amazing healing properties and is an immune modulator. This gives it the properties to reduce inflammation in case of an over-reactive immune system. Since it’s a root it absorbs nutrients and minerals from the soil. The healing powers of ginger are one of the best health benefits of ginger. For healing purposes it is best to use organic ginger or at least know your source.
- Ginger has the ability to provide warmth to your body. This helps in breaking down toxin build-up and prevents toxin accumulation.
- It is very effective in cleansing the lymphatic system. The lymph nodes function as our body’s sewage system and remove any toxins by blushing them out.
- You can also make delicious ginger tea which is great for fighting viral and bacterial infections.
- Adding a slice of ginger to your green tea works like an immunity booster and also keeps any inflammation and pain which an over-reactive immune system may bring on.
“Coconut oil is not just a product to be kept in your vanity anymore. It happens to be one of the foods that fight inflammation. There oil just has so much nutritional value that fitness trainers such as Jillian Michaels and a number of Hollywood celebrities cook only in extra virgin coconut oil.”
Some More Tips to Fighting Inflammation Naturally
We have given you a fair idea about which foods reduce inflammation. There are some herbs and seeds too which can be helpful when trying to reduce inflammation.
- Turmeric has active anti-inflammatory ingredients. Boosting immune system is one of the most amazing health benefits of turmeric. Always add a pinch of turmeric to your food whenever you can.
- From the seeds another seed to include in your diet is flax seeds. They are rich in anti oxidative properties, packed with omega 3s and also rich source of dietary fiber.
- Herbs such as rosemary, cayenne, nutmeg, oregano and cloves also are potent anti inflammatory foods.
- Along with this it is also a good idea to know the inflammatory foods or food which causes inflammation. Some of these include:
- Saturated and trans fats found in processed and packaged foods
- Refined sugars and carbohydrates, they in fact act as a hindrance at the time of recovery after an injury
- Red meat such as beef and pork
- Refined grains such as white flour always opt for whole grains over refined ones.
- By reading this article you must have understood that sometimes it is the deficiencies and imbalanced diets which increase a lot of problems in our system. Having a well balanced diet and one which includes minerals and omega 3s and mega 6s will help you fight inflammation much better
- Coupling your diet with moderate physical activity will also reduce inflammation significantly and also improve your health in case of chronic inflammation of any kind.