According to Harvard Medical School, doctors are learning that the best way to reduce inflammation is by changing your diet. The answer to fighting off inflammation is not in the medicine cabinet; rather, it is a long list of anti-inflammatory foods that you can find at your local grocery store. Choosing anti-inflammatory foods over inflammatory foods can improve the overall health of the body, reducing the risk of various illnesses.
Even though inflammation is a natural immune response to the presence of a foreign invader that enters the body, excess inflammation can hinder healthy joint and organ function. Not a lot of people that they are eating their way into an inflammatory state. This is due to the foods (meats, dairy products, refined carbohydrates, sugary beverages, shortening, lard, fried, foods, and processed foods) in the Standard American Diet. These foods have become commonplace for the average American, and vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole grains fall by the wayside.
Good With The Bad
The process of inflammation is to a) remove bacteria/pathogens and bodily tissues that were damaged by those foreign invaders; and b) begin the body’s natural healing process. So what makes it bad? Well, inflammation does not always get resolved. What we mean by this is that inflammation can become chronic, ultimately destroying bodily tissues. That is not what the immune system is supposed to do.
High levels of inflammation have been linked to various cancers, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. In order to get rid of excess inflammation, there are a few things you can do, the easiest of which is to incorporate more plant-based foods that contain lots of anti-inflammatory properties. While there are a lot of anti-inflammatory foods, here are some of the best herbs to get you started.
Turmeric is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods out there; it’s just that simple. The active anti-inflammatory ingredient is curcumin, and it is more potent than Advil or ibuprofen. It’s great for people with arthritis because it helps with joint health! If you want to increase the effectiveness of reducing inflammation, consume turmeric with black pepper because black pepper increases the body’s ability to absorb curcumin. This food combination has helped to decrease CRP, an inflammatory marker in people with metabolic syndrome.
Nettle is rich in iron and carotenoids, as well as incredible anti-inflammatory properties. You have to be careful when collecting it, though, because it definitely stings. One study, which monitored a group of people with arthritis, used those stings to naturally remedy arthritis. It helped to reduce arthritis pain, but it isn’t worth the skin irritation. We recommend drinking nettle tea to help purify the blood and reduce inflammation.
Ginger is an amazing root that has a wide variety of known medicinal properties. You can brew it into a tea to soothe a sore throat, or add ginger slices with lemon to water to help calm indigestion. One of the coolest things that ginger does is that it helps to inhibit inflammatory enzymes, making it beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of cognitive disorders. For those with cardiovascular disease, ginger is an ideal plant to consume because it can improve arterial health.
#4: Rose Hip
Not a lot of people mention rose hip when it comes to anti-inflammatory foods. Rose hip has been shown to help relieve pain in those with arthritis by reducing C-reactive protein, which is related to inflammation. Rose hip contains a lot of vitamin C and galactolipid, which has an anti-aging effect on your skin. The best ways to use rose hip are to brew it into a tea, or use rose hip oil on your skin and hair.
Garlic is a true superfood, which has been used for over 5,000 years. It can be used to help get rid of intestinal worms, skin irritations, gas, bloating, joint pain, or ear infections. Garlic contains a lot of antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and detoxifying properties, so you don’t have an excuse for it to not be in your kitchen at all times; unless of course you are allergic to garlic. You can massage garlic oil on your inflamed joint to help reduce inflammation, or you can add it to your daily meals.
Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, & raspberries)
- Green Leafy Vegetables (spinach, kale, collards, & chard)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Raw Cacao Powder