We’re guessing you’ve heard the term inflammation thrown around quite a bit these days. Inflammation is a natural immune response that happens when your body interacts with anything it identifies as foreign. Even the common cold causes temporary inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation, i.e. the kind that continues in the absence of germs and other invaders, isn’t so great. A number of factors can cause inflammation in the body, including food. Here’s what you need to know about inflammation and how the right foods can keep it to a minimum.
Understanding Chronic Inflammation
“Your immune system kicks in when it’s greeted by anything that seems foreign to it, which triggers a process called inflammation,” explains Sheela Prakash, RD and food editor. “While occasional inflammation is normal, chronic inflammation is not part of the body’s natural process and can be linked to a number of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimers, arthritis, and more. Food plays an integral role in chronic inflammation — certain foods can help reduce it while others can actually cause it or make existing inflammation worse. “
But it’s not all bad news: You can counteract this kind of chronic inflammation by eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods—and, just as importantly, avoiding foods that trigger the inflammatory process.
Choose fruits, veggies and nuts and seeds and their butters. Whole grains are another great option like quinoa, oats and brown rice. Other great nutrients are plant-based fats from avocados and olives and their oils; and omega 3 fats from oily fish. When it comes to herbs and seasonings choose turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and saffron.
If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ve narrowed it down to three delicious anti-inflammatory superfoods that are easy to add to your day.
3 Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Should Add Your Diet
“Turmeric is nothing short of nutritional gold for brain and body,” says Dr. Nick Bitz, Chief Science Officer for Youtheory®, a health supplement brand based in California. The company is one of the largest manufacturers of turmeric in the U.S. and their formula maximizes the benefits of this super-spice. Youtheory® Turmeric contains 25 times more curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, than normal turmeric powder. It also offers black pepper to increase curcumin’s bioavailability. Youtheory® Turmeric is a supplement that’s easy to take with any meal.
Prakash adds that “High levels of turmeric are needed for the body to reap its benefit, which is why taking it in supplement form is a good option.”
In general, nuts are great anti-inflammatory foods. Prakash explains that “Walnuts contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory properties. They’re a good source of magnesium and among all nuts, they rank the highest in alpha-linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) and polyphenols (a micronutrient rich in antioxidants). All three are known to fight inflammation.” Walnuts are incredibly easy to add to your diet. Snack on them, add them to homemade trail mix, throw them in baked goods or toss them on salads.
Avocado toast isn’t just an Instagram thing. “They’re a rich source of monounsaturated fat and an antioxidant called carotenoids, both of which help reduce inflammation,” says Prakash. Don’t think you have to stick to toast when it comes to adding avocados to your diet. They’re delicious in everything from smoothies to sandwiches, and with a squeeze of lemon and a fat pinch of sea salt, half an avocado makes for a satisfying mid-day snack.
Make it Easier
We know you’ve got a long list of to-do’s, and we want to help make things a little easier and breezier. Because, let’s face it, most of the time, it’s the small stuff — like packing a lunch, getting in a quick walk, or even figuring out what’s for dinner — that stresses us out. We’re here to help with advice and insights from influencers and experts. Stay tuned for tips, tools, and strategies designed to make your life simpler, healthier and more delicious.