Inflammation is part of the body’s normal immune response; without it, we can’t heal. But, recent studies have shown that chronic inflammation is a leading cause of many diseases including allergies, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and painful arthritis. Foods high in sugar and saturated fat can spur inflammation by causing over-activity in the immune system. Adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can make a difference.
- Fatty Fish – Oily fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation.
- Dark Leafy Greens – Vitamin E may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines – one of the best sources of vitamin E is dark green veggies, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens.
- Nuts – particularly almonds, which are rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamin E, and walnuts, which have high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fat. All nuts, though, are packed with antioxidants, which can also help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation.
- Soy – Several studies have suggested that isoflavones, the estrogen-like compounds found in soy products, may help lower inflammation levels in women. Incorporate soy milk, tofu, and edamame (boiled soybeans) into your regular diet.
- Beets and Berries– beets are full of antioxidants and have been shown to reduce inflammation, as well as protect against cancer and heart disease, thanks to their hearty helping of fiber, vitamin C and plant pigments called betalains. Berries, especially red ones, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties—possibly because of anthocyanins, the powerful chemicals that give them their rich color.