By Francesca Pucher, Health & Wellness Expert, Co-Owner Fitness 1-2-1
I am a huge nutrition follower and coach many people in varying levels of health & fitness. I have been following a clean, anti-inflammatory based lifestyle for a long time and feel great. Along with my Shakeology, I wanted to share some things you can add into your eating plan for long lasting health.
Top 14 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
By adding in the anti-inflammatory foods that fight inflammation and restore health at a cellular level, you can begin to repair the body without any drastic changes. Once you find foods that heal your body and satisfy your palate, you can remove the inflammation-causing offenders without feeling deprived. Let’s take a look at 14 of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet.
1. Green Leafy Vegetables--The produce drawer is the first spot in your refrigerator or pantry to fill when fighting inflammation. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Swiss chard nutrition, for example, is extremely high in the antioxidants vitamin A and C, as well as vitamin K, which can protect your brain against oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. Eating chard can also protect you against the common vitamin K deficiency.
2. Bok Choy--Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. In fact, recent studies show that there are over 70 antioxidant phenolic substances in bok choy. A versatile vegetable, bok choy can be made in many dishes outside of Chinese cuisine, so make it one of your go-to anti-inflammatory foods.
3. Celery--In recent pharmacological studies, benefits of celery include both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent heart disease. It’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.
4. Beets--A marker of a food chock-full of antioxidants is its deep color, and beets are a prime example! When added to the diet, beet benefits include repairing cells and adding high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.
5. Broccoli--The poster vegetable for healthy eating, it’s no secret that broccoli is a valuable addition to any diet. For an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s invaluable. Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and its antioxidants are particularly potent anti-inflammatory substances in their own right. Broccoli is an antioxidant powerhouse, with key vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids. These work together to lower oxidative stress in the body and help battle both chronic inflammation and the risk of developing cancer.
6. Blueberries--One antioxidant in particular stands out as an especially strong anti-inflammatory, and that’s quercetin. Found in citrus, olive oil and dark-colored berries, quercetin is a flavonoid (a beneficial substance or phytonutrient that’s prevalent in fresh foods) that fights inflammation and even cancer. The presence of quercetin is one of the health benefits of blueberries.
7. Pineapple--The benefits of pineapple are due to its high supply of vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium and manganese, in addition to other special antioxidants that help prevent disease formation. Pineapple is filled with phytonutrients that work as well as many medicines do to reduce symptoms of some of the most common illnesses and conditions we see today.
8. Salmon-An excellent source of essential fatty acids, and considered one of the best omega-3 foods. Omega-3s are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances, showing consistent relief of inflammation and reduction of the need for anti-inflammatory medications. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.
9. Walnuts--When following a diet without a lot of meats, nuts and seeds can make up the difference for protein and omega-3s. Add omega-3-rich walnuts to green leafy salads drizzled with olive oil for a satisfying anti-inflammatory meal, or grab a handful for an on-the-go snack. Phytonutrients can help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. And some phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in any other foods.
10. Coconut oil--So much can be written about the way herbs and oils work together to form anti-inflammatory partnerships. Lipids (fats) and spices create strong anti-inflammatory compounds, especially coconut oil and the components of turmeric. In a study in India, the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil reduced inflammation and healed arthritis more effectively than leading medications. Also, oxidative stress and free radicals are the two biggest culprits of osteoporosis. Since coconut oil benefits include fighting such free radicals with its high levels of antioxidants, it’s a leading natural treatment for osteoporosis.
11. Chia seeds--Fatty acids found in nature are more balanced than the fats we typically consume in our typical diets. Chia seeds benefits, for example, offer both omega-3 and omega-6, which should be consumed in balance with one another. Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health.
12. Flaxseeds--An excellent source of omega-3s and phytonutrients, flaxseeds benefits include being packed with antioxidants. Before you use them alongside your other new anti-inflammatory foods, consider grinding them in a coffee grinder to ensure the digestive tract has easy access to their many benefits.
13. Turmeric--Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory component. Documented for its affects against inflammation in numerous circumstances, turmeric health benefits prove invaluable in an anti-inflammatory diet. The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds. It found that aspirin (Bayer, etc.) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) are least potent, while curcumin is among the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world. Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is highly effective at helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Can be taken in a pill form as well.
14. Ginger--Used fresh, dried, or in supplement form and extracts, ginger is another immune modulator that helps reduce inflammation caused by overactive immune responses. Ayurvedic medicine has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system. In fact, ginger health benefits may even include treating inflammation in allergic and asthmatic disorders.
Healthy Recipe of the Month:
Gluten Free Vegetable Pizza
1-2 already made gluten free pizza dough (I love ‘Against the Grain’ brand frozen section)
1 cup of marinara sauce (use Pompi brand)
1 cup (lactose free) shredded mozzarella (use Go Veggie Mozzarella)
Any vegetable of choice (asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach)
Olives, Artichokes, Basil
Heat the oven according to package of pie crust, and put pizza stone in to heat up. Place pie crust on a pizza stone and cover with marinara sauce and your toppings of choice. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until crust is about the texture you like. Remove and serve. Makes a great gathering meal for friends and family.
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