Inflammation is something that you can’t always see or feel, but it can slowly harm your body over time. Left unchecked, inflammation can increase the risk of premature aging and chronic diseases. There are actions you can take to help reduce the damage, which is why we gathered information from dietitians about how to do that. According to research, you can do little things every day to help reduce inflammatory markers and improve overall health.
Sip Some Ginger Tea
Most people with inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis, tend to experience pain or stiffness. In order to reduce swelling in the joints or the general discomfort of inflammatory flare-ups, health experts encourage you to drink ginger tea. Ginger exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and various antioxidants that fight oxidative stress, a contributing factor to chronic inflammation.
Sprinkle In Some Seeds
Enjoying a salad? Add some sunflower or pumpkin seeds! Enjoy a smoothie or bowl of oatmeal? Incorporate some chia, hemp, or flax seeds! Dietitians encourage people to consume about two tablespoons of seeds per day because they are rich in fiber, protein, and lots of omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming more omega-3s provides your cell membranes to make more omega-3-derived metabolites, most of which turn off inflammatory responses or turn on healing responses that repair cell tissue and damage caused by inflammation.
Opt For Phytonutrient-Rich Foods
According to studies, phytonutrients are active compounds in plant-based foods that have proven to reduce inflammation. In addition to their anti-inflammatory effects, phytonutrients exhibit anti-aging, neuroprotective, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, among other health benefits. The easiest way to add more phytonutrients to your diet is by eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Studies show that people who consume more fruits and vegetables have lower levels of inflammatory markers in their blood than those who consume fewer plants.
Limit Refined Oils
Canola, vegetable, soybean, corn, sunflower, and safflower oils all fall under the refined oil umbrella. These oils contain high amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Although omega-6s are beneficial in moderation, too much can raise inflammatory markers in the body. One study found that linoleic acid, an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat, increased the risk of oxidative stress and chronic low-grade inflammation. Instead of refined oils, opt to use healthier oils like olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.
Eat More Fermented Foods
Gut health has been trending for quite some time, and for good reason! More and more research confirms that there is a strong link between gut microbiome and inflammatory responses. The healthier the bacteria are in your gut, the less likely you are to have high inflammatory markers in the body. In order to nourish the bacteria in the gut, consume more fermented foods, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, and kombucha.
While fermented foods are great for the gut and provide probiotics, you need something to feed those probiotics. Prebiotics are types of fibers that act as food for probiotics, in addition to playing a role in reducing inflammation. If you consume a lot of high-fiber foods, you may have prebiotics in your diet already. If you want to consume more prebiotics, focus on leeks, garlic, onion, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
Spice It Up
Easy up on the salt and focus on enhancing your food with spices that keep inflammation at bay. Research shows that many spices contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. These spices interact with chemical pathways in the body associated with inflammation. Some of the most well-researched anti-inflammatory spices are ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric. A little pinch goes a long way, so start adding turmeric to your rice or potatoes, cinnamon to your oats or smoothies, and ginger to vegetables or smoothies.