Inflammation has become a trendy word in the world of health and nutrition. Why? Because it is at the root of most chronic health issues along with the microbiome. Let’s look at the causes of inflammation and talk about the foods that help reduce inflammation.
What causes inflammation?
Have you ever heard of Donna Gates? She is a pioneer in the gut health movement. Her book, The Body Ecology Diet, has become a classic.
She defines inflammation as your body’s response to stress. Some inflammation is useful and necessary, like when you catch a cold, but now we have an epidemic of chronic, low grade inflammation. She mentions two very important causes of chronic inflammation, which we have talked about on this blog: food sensitivities and microbiome imbalances. Along with that, there is stress, environmental toxicity and poor lifestyle choices.
What are the healing foods that help reduce inflammation?
As you might know, the excess of omega 6 found in processed foods is a major cause of inflammation. It follows logically that consuming omega-3 rich foods is helpful in reducing inflammation:
1- Fatty fish
2- Olive oil
3- Nuts and seeds
Fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, also help restore health and repair the body.
1- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, aragula, bok choy, cabbage, swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, etc. are nutrition powerhouses. If you struggle getting enough, adding them to smoothies and juicing them is a great option. I love this juice.
2- Ginger has been known mainly for helping with stomach upsets and nausea. Did you know that it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that has been used to treat arthritis?
3- Turmeric has been vastly studied in scientific literature. This beautifully coloured root has been shown to help as an antidepressant, an anticoagulant and guess what? An anti-inflammatory! You can use the fresh root to make tea, juices, curry and many other delicious dishes. You can also purchase turmeric in the form of a supplement.
4- Pineapple, rich in bromelain, also helps combat inflammation.
5- Celery, with its high vitamin and mineral content, has many health benefits. In particular, it is a great source of potassium and we are discovering that the right balance between potassium and sodium is also an important factor in fighting inflammation. Other potassium rich foods include squash, avocados, sweet potatoes, white beans and bananas.
6- Beets, known for their bright colour, are full of antioxidants. They also contain betaine and pectin, which help detoxify the body.
7- Blueberries have been known for their antioxidant properties for a long time! They also contain a strong anti-inflammatory called quercetin. Quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant, play an important role in fighting free radical damage and inflammation.
Food is fuel for your body. It sends information to your cells, that is why it is so important to emphasize foods that are healing in your diet. When you eat as much anti-inflammatory foods as possible, you have less space in your diet for the inflammatory choices that would harm you. I once read the advice that one should make sure to drink a quart of green juice, a quart of green smoothie and eat a great big salad each day. This advice was an eye opener for me. I haven’t put it into practice religiously, but I have taken to heart to focus on nutrient density in my diet. I think you should too!