I was excited to write this post, I feel like it's a great predecessor to my last article that talked about foods that can activate low-grade inflammation in the body. Here we're going to talk about foods that can actually help you fight inflammation. I’ve divided them up into four different categories. Fruits, vegetables, oils and spices, and animals products for those non-vegetarians out there. Foods are one of the most effective ways to help combat inflammation, and it doesn't require a prescription drug. As I like to tell my clients, it requires ‘eating from the rainbow,' aka- filling your diet with the most colorful fruits and veggies you can find. I’ve added some great simple recipes for you to try too!
Let’s start out with the fruits. Usually, everyone's favorite, because let’s be honest who doesn’t have a sweet tooth? I recommend keeping fruit intake to about two cups a day. At the end of the day, fruit still has sugar in it. Although it is natural sugar, it’s still sugar, and too much of it can cause inflammation. So just be mindful of how much you are eating. I personally love adding 1 cup of blueberries to my salads, one cup of pineapple to a veggie smoothie, or an apple with nut butter for a snack.
Pineapple consist of Bromelain, which is a digestive enzyme. Studies show that Bromelain has immune-modulating capabilities, which means it helps regulate the immune response that can so often create low grade chronic inflammation. Not only is it anti-inflammatory, there are many other benefits to eating pineapple. It’s packed with Vitamin C which makes it immune boosting, improves fertility, great for cardiovascular health, helps fight Cancer, prevents Asthma, aids in digestion, & fights depression and anxiety.
Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents, specifically polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins. Blueberries help prevent inflammation and oxidative stress, which can lead to inflammation. Want more benefits? They boost brain health, support digestion, encourages weight loss, great for cardiovascular health, and helps fight Cancer.
I’ll be getting my total daily servings of fruit tomorrow moring, because I’m making myself this delicious blueberry-pineapple smoothie as soon as I wake up! YUMMMM!
1 cup Blueberries
1 cup Pineapple
1 cup spinach
1 cup frozen zucchini
1-2 celery stalks
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
A dash of turmeric
A dash of Cayenne Pepper (to help your body absorb the turmeric)
1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds (optional)
1 TBSP of Coconut oil or butter
1 small knob the size of a quarter of fresh ginger root
*Add your liquid of choice, I prefer New Barn Almond Milk
How do you think Popeye got so strong? I remember my grandpa saying this to us as kids when encouraging us to eat our spinach. I find myself saying it now, to my kids, and they look at me like "Who the hell is Popeye?"
Not only is Spinach great for reducing inflammation but so are other leafy greens including kale, chard, arugula, endive, collard greens, turnip greens, and beet greens. They all contain significant concentrations of Vitamins A, D, E, K, alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 fats, all of which have been found to reduce chronic inflammation.
*The darker the greens, the more healthy nutrients they contain.
*Pair your greens with some Olive or Coconut oil. Not only will you get a bigger boost of anti-inflammatory benefits, but your body will be able to absorb the nutrients of the greens better. Studies show that greens can only be absorbed by our bodies in the presence of oil.
Here’s a great salad dressing I like to make with Blackstrap Molasses, which has a high iron count. Great for that time of the month for you women, it helps increase iron levels, helps relieve cramps, and other PMS symptoms.
Anti-Inflammatory Salad Dressing:
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP Blackstrap Molasses
2 TSP dijon mustard (Gluten free)
1/4 TSP fresh ground black pepper
1/4 TSP sweet paprika
1/8 TSP freshly minced garlic
A pinch Himalayan sea salt
Broccoli is an antioxidant powerhouse! It is is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which can drive inflammation. It also high in potassium, magnesium, flavonoids and carotenoids, all of which work together to help fight chronic inflammation!
Beets have so much protection!! They are great sources of betaine, a nutrient that helps protect cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. Betaine also fights inflammation, which as you know, helps protect us from developing chronic diseases. What else does it protect? Well, it protects our internal organs, improves vascular risk factors, and enhances our bodies optimal performance.
Avocados have an abundance of carotenoids, which benefit us with their anti-inflammatory properties. Because of its super high carotenoid content combined with the dietary fats found in an avocado, plus its abundant supply of oleic acid, avocados provide us with optimal carotenoid absorption. And it’s not just the carotenoids found in the avocado itself, but also the carotenoids found in other foods eaten at the same time. So start pairing your avocados spinach, kale, & salmon for an extra boost of anti-inflammatory magic.
*I use cold pressed Avocado oil as my face serum morning and night. It’s extremely hydrating, keeps the puffiness away in the morning, boost collagen production, and speeds up wound healing.
Oils and Spices not only add flavor to your foods, but they are extremely potent in small amounts. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants they can amplify anti inflammatory power of your meal!
Cinnamon has many health benefits, including potent anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon can be helpful in the prevention of heart disease, and improves circulation because it consists of blood thinning compounds. Good blood circulation, provides oxygen supply to your cells, which leads to higher metabolic activity and further protection against heart disease.
* Add a drop of Cinnamon Bark Oil to some ginger tea and drink before your LED Light Therapy session, get ready for some major inflammation fighting!
Ginger has been used medicinally for reducing inflammation for centuries. Studies show that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level. It can be effective in calming the digestive system, relieving pain from menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, muscle soreness, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and more. Plus, it helps in the prevention of cancer. A total win win in my book!
Turmeric consists of compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important one is curcumin. Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, not to mention it’s a strong antioxidant. It also can improve brain function, fights depression, lowers risk of heart and brain diseases including Alzheimer's. Curcumin is so potent, that it can be just as effective as some anti- inflammatory prescription drugs out there, minus all those nasty side-effects. Cheers to that!!
*Black pepper helps activate the turmeric, helping us absorb it better.
Olive Oil contains more than 36 phenolic compounds, all of which have beneficial effects. There is one distinct compound in particular, known as oleocanthal, that is filled with powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have found that oleocanthal exhibits the same anti-inflammatory response in the body as the prescription drug ibuprofen. Compared to ibuprofen, olive oil’s potency is only 10% less. Plus, it’s super affordable, it has no nasty side effects, it’s 100% natural, and its a super easy thing to add to your daily dietary routine.
Studies have shown that coconut oil provides a myriad of health benefits including reducing inflammation, fighting germs and supporting almost all processes of the body. It contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), otherwise known as fatty acids. The most critical of those MCTs is lauric acid, which helps strengthen the immune system, relieve pain, and soothes muscles cramps. Goodbye period cramps!
*Use coconut oil topically for arthritic pain, before/after workouts, and on your lower belly and back to relieve period cramps.
For those of you looking to add meat and fish to your diets, bone broth and Salmon both have excellent anti-inflammatory benefits.
Bone broth has been making a huge comeback in our daily diet. Although it has been around since like the beginning of time, it seems like we are using it now more than ever. Bone broth, contains the high anti-inflammatory amino acids: glycine and proline. These two elements are so highly concentrated, that people who suffer from inflammation and inflammatory diseases, will benefit greatly, from consuming the broth. Also, because of the high amounts of collagen and gelatin it’s amazing for our hair, skin and nails, and helps heal leaky gut (which essentially leads to inflammation in the digestive system). So bottoms up my friends!
Salmon is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation. Omega-3s decrease the production of chemicals that can spread the inflammation and it also inhibits the enzymes that can trigger it. When choosing either wild or farmed, always go for wild. The fish will have less POP’s (persistent organic pollutants) which can cause inflammation, thereby defeating the purpose of everything you worked so hard on.
Here is a jam-packed anti-inflammatory lunch or dinner recipe:
Ginger Salmon Salad:
Rub salmon fillets with coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (gluten-free)
2 teaspoons grated fresh grated ginger
Mix ingredients together and brush on top of salmon fillets, dust with Himalayan sea salt and cracked pepper.
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
* Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
1 cup of kale
1 cup of spinach
1 cup of microgreens
*Sprinkle with more grated uncooked fresh ginger
*Drizzle with a TBSP of olive oil
An anti-inflammatory diet isn't just for people with autoimmune disorders, thyroid and digestive issues, or chronic inflammatory diseases. Integrating nutritious foods like these, into your diet daily, will help you build a strong, thriving immune system! Not only can it lessen your inflammation, it will have a influential effect on your physical and emotional health. A healthy diet is crucial for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, mood elevation, and improving overall quality of life. So turn up them beets and eat your greens friends!