The best defense against an inflammatory lifestyle is through diet. Start by replacing common irritants (sugar, wheat, and processed foods) with a variety of mineral dense powerhouses to set the foundation for you to crave health. An anti-inflammatory way of eating emphasizes foods high in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, probiotics, and fiber from a variety of natural food sources. If you read last week's post "Confronting Inflammation Part I" then you know all about the impact long term chronic inflammation can have on overall health.
The Top 6 Foods that Defend Against Inflammation:
Cruciferous vegetables, notably broccoli.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, along with cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. What makes this humble green so beneficial for your health may be related to the high content of the antioxidant sulforphane, which helps to abate inflammation by reducing levels of cytokines and NF-kB (another driver of inflammation). Research has also revealed that eating a generous amount of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a decreased risk for heart disease and cancer.
Branch out of from steaming these little trees with butter and try “broccoli rice” by grating the stems and sauteeing in olive oil and garlic.
What’s not to like here? This portable and versatile fruit is packed with beneficial nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, fiber, and monounsaturated fats. They’re rich in cancer fighting polyphenols and carotenoids. One study determined that avocados may reduce inflammation in young skin cells. Additionally, another study determined avocados have beneficial vascular and anti-inflammatory effects.
Try adding avocado to your morning eggs, top your salad with a scoop of guacamole, or make a decadent avocado mousse for dessert.
Berries are notable for their generous fiber and nutrient content, fatty acid profile, and low sugar level in comparison to many other fruits. This makes them a great companion to many nutrition plans that aim to stabilize blood sugar and hunger levels. When it comes to taming inflammation, blueberries in particular contain powerful anthocyanins that have been shown to decrease inflammation. Bioactive compounds, such as phenolic compounds and organic acids in blueberries and strawberries have also been associated with protective effects against inflammation driven chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.
Rotate your berries based on availability and add to smoothies, salads, or pour on your favorite unsweetened, full fat yogurt.
You’ve been told to eat chicken soup when you’re sick and run down, but have you ever wondered why? The health benefits of bone broth extend beyond getting in additional fluids and beneficial electrolytes. Bone broth is a great source of inflammation fighting amino acids such as proline and glycine. The gelatin in bone broth has been found to be protective and supportive of the mucosal lining of the digestive tract while collagen supports healthy hair and joints.
Sip warm bone broth for a filling and protein rich afternoon snack to get you through the 3 pm slump.
Fatty Fish: Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines, Caviar, Herring, and Oysters
Fish is a highly nutrient dense source of protein, but the real inflammation fighting ingredient comes from the generous omega 3 fatty acid content. Research indicates omega 3 fatty acids can reduce the production of substances and molecules associated with inflammation. In fact, research has associated omega 3 fatty acid intake with a reduced risk of certain inflammation driven chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and metabolic syndrome. Studies have shown Omega 3 fatty acids to be beneficial for reducing risk factors for heart disease and cancer.
Try to source wild caught fish whenever possible and aim for at least 2 servings per week.
Sauerkraut and kimchi naturally contain several vitamins, fiber, and healthy bacteria also know as probiotics. Foods rich in probiotics can help enhance gut flora and balance the microbiome, especially after antibiotic treatment. Due to their role in immune system modulation and anti-inflammatory response, probiotics have been used as part of the plan of care to treat chronic diseases. Fermented foods should be included daily, but when a stronger dose is needed, buy from a reputable source.
Try blending a little sauerkraut into a smoothie, top your burger with it, or heat some up in your favorite stir fry.
If you want to learn more about how to address inflammation through diet specifically for you, sign up for our next 30 day program starting October 2nd. The "Back to Basics" course is the ideal template to set the foundation for you to crave health. Sign up here today and join us exclusively online or in person.
Download a few of our favorite inflammation busting recipes here.