Inflammation is your body’s natural reaction as it fights off tissue damage, chemicals, or other injurious elements. Although natural, a continued state of inflammation may lead to common diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Inflammation can also exacerbate pain among chronic pain sufferers. Incorporating foods that fight inflammation into your diet can keep you healthy and decrease pain.
Although all fruits and vegetables contain powerful micronutrients that target your cells and boost your overall health, some foods carry extra anti-inflammatory benefits. Here’s a list of the top five best anti-inflammatory foods:
Fish, especially salmon, tuna, herring, anchovies, and sardines, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to your heart health by lowering triglycerides and blood pressure. They also fight inflammation in your joints, blood vessels, and other locations in your body. Try wild caught fish for maximum health benefits, and include it in meals at least twice per week. Bake or broil the fish using heart-healthy olive oil instead of butter to keep it healthier.
Ginger offers potent anti-inflammatory powers. A 2013 study published in Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin found that diabetic patients suffering from low-grade inflammation who took two ginger tablets daily experienced significantly reduced inflammation. Although pills work well, fresh ginger makes a delicious add-on in fish and Asian-inspired dishes.
3. Whole grains
The term whole grain literally means a food containing an entire grain–the bran, endosperm, and germ. These heart-healthy foods also help fight inflammation. Options include whole-grain bread, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and millet. Many labels are misleading and might say “containing whole grain,” which does not mean they contain enough of the healthy parts to offer the health benefits you seek. Read the ingredients and make sure the first ingredient says “whole grain.”
4. Dark green vegetables
These strong-tasting vegetables include kale, spinach, broccoli, and chard. Not everyone loves the taste, but incorporating these incredibly healthy plants into your diet will make your body happy. These vegetables contain a dense array of potent anti-inflammatory vitamins including A, C, and K. Try sauteing the vegetables in olive oil and garlic or adding them to a soup.
5. Green tea
Green tea is more a drink than a food, but it ranks among the healthiest drinks available. Green tea’s leaves are unfermented and the resulting beverage is rich in a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). A 2007 study from the University of Michigan found EGCG stalled the formation of molecules that cause joint damage and inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis. For maximum benefit, try drinking two to three cups per day.
What’s your favorite anti-inflammatory food?
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