The awful swelling and puffiness can make you feel achy and sore and can be downright painful. It can be unsightly or making doing normal activities impossible.
A lot of foods can make or break whether you feel good or not. Things like dairy, wheat, and processed foods can increase the inflammation in your body.
But, some foods help. They're not going to take away your inflammation, but they can help give your body some natural relief and maybe even help calm down your body's natural reaction.
Lycopene, the antioxidants found in cooked tomatoes, is wonderfully anti-inflammatory. Tomatoes themselves are high in vitamin C, potassium, and other minor antioxidants, as well. You can even get more out of your tomatoes by consuming them cooked with olive oil, perfect for Italian dishes.
Olive oil contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation. It features prominently in the Mediterranean diet, and many of the studies around this diet believe olive oil consumption is one of the primary factors in why the diet is so healthy.
The primary antioxidant in olive oil, oleocanthal, has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Be sure to choose extra virgin olive oil because the refinement process tends to reduce the antioxidants.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are a significant source of magnesium and chlorophyll, and both would help your body maintain normal, healthy levels of inflammatory markers. Chlorophylls help heart disease, cancer, and pain. They also contain sulforaphane, which is anti-inflammatory and may help protect you from cancer.
EGCG, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, was all the rage a few years ago. It's a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant that helps reduce the cytokines that damage the fatty acids in your cells. It's also linked to helping to reduce dementia, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Drink a cup or two of green tea to help your body!
Peppers contain lots of vitamin C and the antioxidant quercetin. Both of these help reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, chili peppers contain capsaicinoids, known to help reduce pain.
Peppers are best fresh, but you can also pick up supplements that can give you the health benefits. Hot peppers are better at reducing inflammation, but not everyone enjoys a hot pepper.
Ginger & Turmeric
Gingerols and curcumin are two potent antioxidants specifically for inflammation. These are well known to reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
We recommend consuming ginger and turmeric with black pepper. The piperine in black pepper is another anti-inflammatory herb, but it also helps increase the absorption of curcumin and gingerol, making it a winning combo of taste and health benefits.
Fatty fish contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA. These are known to help reduce inflammation in the body, particularly around your heart. Food like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerels, and anchovies are all high omega-3 fatty acids. If you don't like fatty fish, you can choose a quality fish oil supplement.
Nuts Like Almonds And Walnuts
These contain more of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Plus, they have diverse phytonutrients that help the whole body. Almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans are the best for anti-inflammatory nuts.
Strawberries, Blueberries, Cherries, And Oranges
They're delicious and good for you, packed with lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and especially antioxidants. Many berries contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant that can help reduce specific inflammatory markers. One serving a day of dark-colored fruit can give you a considerable boost.
Many mushrooms have been used in herbal medicine. Lions main, shiitake, reshii and more have long uses and well-documented research to back up their health claims.
Mushrooms contain beta-glucan, a polysaccharide (long sugar molecule) that stimulates the immune system and reduces inflammation. This molecule may have anti-cancer potential and many companies and universities are looking at it.
The great thing is you can eat all the mushrooms you like and get the health benefits.
Cacao, the unrefined version of cocoa, contains some of the most potent groupings of anti-inflammatory antioxidants out there. Even after refining into cocoa and being processed into chocolate, the nutrients within 1 oz of dark chocolate still rank as some of the highest in all of the foods. Plus, dark chocolate taste wonderful, and you can't really be on a diet if you're eating chocolate, right?
We hope you start including a lot of these foods into your diet. Adding more fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to your five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.