Eating more anti-inflammatory foods can make you healthier, even if you don’t feel “inflamed.”
Foods That Fight Inflammation
Now, for the fun part: foods to eat more of!
Foods high in antioxidants are powerful inflammation fighters. Fruits and vegetables are the best source of dietary antioxidants. As a rule of thumb, the more brilliantly colored the produce, the higher the antioxidant content. Berries, melons, citrus fruits, peppers, carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and all the leafy greens are great choices. Go for as much variety as you can to maximize your antioxidant repertoire.
Eating more fruits and vegetables will also up your fiber intake, which works out perfectly because people who eat more fiber also tend to have less inflammation in their bodies. Beans, legumes, bran, and whole grains are other good fiber sources. That reminds me of an email I got this week from Jackson. He says there’s an old saying in the Philippines, where he lives, that eating legumes makes arthritis worse and wonders whether there’s any truth to this. Jackson, I’ve never seen anything to support this. If anything, arthritis seems to be less common in people who eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
I talked earlier about cutting back on fried foods and saturated fats. Instead, eat foods that contain healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which reduce inflammation in your body. You’ll find these healthy fats in olives, olive oil, avocados, almonds, walnuts, and oily fish, especially salmon, herring, mackerel, and anchovies.
To answer a question that Andrew recently sent me, taking fish oil in capsule form is an excellent way to get more omega-3 fats into your diet if you don’t care for fish.
Heat Things Up with Anti-Inflammatory Spices
And finally, there are a few spices that are really helpful in beating inflammation. In fact, their action in the body is very similar to anti-inflammatory drugs, except that they are much easier on the stomach.
Inflammation-fighting spices include garlic, ginger, hot chilis, and turmeric, which is the main ingredient in curry powder. You can even take these spices in capsule form, but I think it’s a lot more fun to find recipes that use them. Indian curries, Asian stir fries, and Latin-American dishes with chili peppers are all delicious ways to beat inflammation.
In The Inflammation Free Diet Plan, I included a lot of anti-inflammatory recipes. I’ll also post some links to some additional recipes and more information on diet and inflammation in the show notes.
To find out how vegetarian diets effect inflammation, please refer to my Quick Tip on vegetarian diets and arthritis.
This is Monica Reinagel, the Nutrition Diva, reminding you that these tips are not intended as medical advice. Please work with your health professional to determine what’s right for you.
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Have a great day and eat something good for me!