Inflammation can cause a host of problems all throughout our body: skin conditions, pain, headaches, digestive issues, and so on. Even mental health issues are directly tied to brain inflammation.
Sure, you can pop an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen, but these medications are only meant to be used on an as-needed basis when physical symptoms are at their worst. While generally safe, NSAIDs don’t come without their own risks such as stomach ulcers or kidney problems.
If you want to reduce inflammation throughout your body, it’s best to opt for anti-inflammatory foods and adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Symptoms of Inflammation
While many symptoms of inflammation are obvious, some may be easily attributed to other conditions. The truth is chronic inflammation affects nearly every part of your body inside and out.
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- High blood pressure
- Kidney failure
- Shortness of breath
- Mental illness
- Digestive problems
Anti-Inflammatory Foods and Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle
Fortunately, nature gives you plenty of options for reducing your body’s inflammation and getting on-track to feeling great all the time. Everything you put into your body either promotes inflammation or reduces inflammation. The key is knowing which inflammatory foods to avoid and which to consume.
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
- Sugar: In all its forms, sugar is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to chronic inflammation. Unfortunately, sugar is extremely hard to avoid because manufacturers lace sugar into just about everything from drinks to frozen dinners. Make sure to read packaging very carefully.
- Dairy: While it might not upset your stomach, many adults cannot handle dairy products properly which leads to inflammation.
- Refined flour: Your body treats refined flour like sugar, so your glucose levels rise and your body becomes inflamed. Plus, these flours have virtually no fiber. Refined flour is one of the lesser known inflammatory foods to avoid.
- Artificial sweeteners: Sorry, but your body can’t digest artificial sweeteners properly which causes your body to produce more pro-inflammation enzymes.
- Meats: Processed meats are the worst, but conventional grain-fed meat like chicken, beef, and pork aren’t much better. The high saturated fats and antibiotics make your body think it’s in a constant state of attack.
- Alcohol: Unfortunately, even seemingly small amounts of alcohol trigger an inflammatory response in your body. One drink may actually reduce inflammation, but anything over that has the opposite effect.
- Artificial anything: Your body recognizes when something isn’t natural by labeling it as an invader and responds by inducing inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory Foods to Consume
- Turmeric: This spice is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods thanks to curcumin: turmeric’s active compound. Enjoy turmeric in face masks, soups, on chicken, and so much more.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Olive oil’s key component, oleocanthal, is only found in extra virgin olive oil and it can significantly reduce cartilage damage.
- Dark berries: Blueberries and cranberries are best. These dark berries have certain antioxidants called flavonoids that counter the negative effects of high-carb diets which work to reduce both inflammation and free radicals.
- Oats: Carb lovers rejoice! Raw oats are an excellent source of fiber and other gut-healthy nutrients to help reduce inflammation throughout your digestive system.
- Green tea: Green tea is full of beneficial antioxidants called catechins. The most powerful catechin, EGCG makes green tea beneficial for reducing whole-body inflammation.
- Pineapple: Although pineapple has a high sugar content, it also contains a powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelain. Most of the fruit’s bromelain is in the core which can be juiced or ground-up.
- Eggs: Eggs got a bad rap for a while due to their high cholesterol content, but eggs actually have high levels of amino acids and vitamin D. In addition to aiding bone health, vitamin D also promotes anti-inflammation throughout the body.
- Garlic: Pasta lovers, this one’s for you. (Keep it whole grain, though!) Garlic has a compound called allicin which suppresses inflammation.
- Yogurt: Yogurt stands out from other dairy products because it actually helps fight inflammation rather than contributing to it. Balanced gut health is essential for reducing inflammation. Fortunately, yogurt has many probiotics that contribute to a healthy gut.
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