By now, you probably know that inflammation isn’t always a good thing. Sure, it can be very helpful when you cut or injurr yourself. But, the chronic, low-grade inflammation that is rampant in so many women is actually quite harmful. And that’s why it’s becoming SO important to eat foods to reduce inflammation more and more often.
Over the past few years, inflammation has become front and center in the health industry, especially for holistic health. Scientists are finding that chronic inflammation is a key factor behind diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart attacks. Plus, inflammation plays a role in mental health disorders too. Alzheimer’s, depression and anxiety can be reversed with lowered inflammation.
So, what’s a person to do to keep inflammation in check?
Make sure you add these 5 foods to reduce inflammation to your daily diet!
My Favorite Foods to Reduce Inflammation
First of all, foods rich in antioxidants are some of the very best foods to reduce inflammation.
Essentially, think of colorful fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, and healthy fats to help reduce inflammation. And stay away from pro-inflammatory foods like refined white sugar, refined (white) grains, processed vegetable oils, dairy and anything containing trans fats.
Berries, Grapes, and Cherries
Perhaps my FAVORITE way to enjoy anti-inflammatory foods, berries, cherries and grapes are powerhouses in this area.
They’re all packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals to help reduce inflammation.
Plus, they contain something called ‘phytochemicals’ that are really super concentrated antioxidants. Ever heard of the resveratrol in red wine? This is the grape phytochemicals that help ward off heart disease. Because grapes are just one of the many foods to reduce inflammation!
Not only very delicious, these foods are probably the best source of antioxidants too.
So, eat up!
Broccoli and Peppers
Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, broccoli contains an antioxidant called ‘sulforaphane’. One bonus of this antioxidant is that it helps reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Plus, broccoli can help women in their menopause years ward of hot flashes and other annoying symptoms.
Another of the many foods to reduce inflammation are bell peppers.
Bell peppers contain tons of vitamin C and an anti-inflammatory compound known as ‘quercetin’. Quercetin is helpful is keeping gout at bay. Red peppers are actually higher in these nutrients than the other colors.
Do you know why? Because green, yellow and orange bell peppers are actually not totally ripe yet! This means they don’t have as many anti-inflammatory properties as the red peppers.
Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)
Ah, okay, this is also one of my most favorite ways to reduce inflammation!
It’s true that some fats can promote inflammation. Those fats are typically processed to the point where their chemical component is changed. When this happens, your body can’t digest them and it causes inflammation and free radical damage.
On the other hand, there are some super anti-inflammatory fats that you MUST add to your diet STAT!
Anti-inflammatory fats fall into the category of ‘omega 3 fatty acids’. Most North Americans definitely do not eat enough of these healthy foods; instead, they tend to have way too much pro-inflammatory fat in their diet!
So, go ahead and add TONS of healthy omega 3 fats to you diet (while ditching sugar and grains at the same time for balance). Choose unsaturated fats over saturated, if possible. One exception is virgin organic coconut oil – this specific type of saturated fat actually helps reduce your total cholesterol ratio. This means it’s great for cardiovascular health.
Plus, coconut oil has been proven to aid in weight loss. Probably because it’s so delicious and filling, you just don’t want to eat anything else afterwards!
The best foods to reduce inflammation are avocados, extra virgin olive oil, sardines, wild-caught salmon, chia seeds and ground flax.
Raise your hand if you love a hot cup of green tea on a cool morning?!? I know that on cool days in the office, I often turn to green tea. Something about drinking tea makes me feel cozy and relaxed.
Green tea is especially great for reducing inflammation. It contains something called ‘epigallocatechin-3-gallate’. Maybe you’ve seen this as EGCG (which is much easier to say, right?).
EGCG is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.
You have a couple of options for green tea. I LOVE the Drop the Sweet Beet green tea from Steeped Tea.
And steeping your tea is GREAT. However, did you know that matcha green tea has like 10 times as many antioxidants than loose leaf green tea?
If you aren’t a fan of matcha green tea, try adding a teaspoon to your favorite smoothie! You probably won’t even know it’s in there.
Another power player in the foods to reduce inflammation!
Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin. Curcumin helps reduce arthritic pain and it has anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.
It’s so easy to add turmeric to your diet too.
Just sprinkle some in your favorite pasta sauces, stews, soups or stir-fries. Or, add a bit to your smoothie!
Good news for chocolate lovers!
70% or higher cacao (or raw cacao powder) is amazing stuff. Dark chocolate contains the antioxidant ‘flavanol’ that helps reduce risk of heart disease and inflammation of the brain and nerves. This means that dark chocolate is super helpful for anything dealing with depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety or other mental health concern.
To be perfectly honest, my daily tablespoon of raw cacao powder has probably been a game-changer. Not only do I rarely crave chocolate at any time of the month, but my brain fog has almost disappeared. And these are no small feats!
The biggest takeaway here, though, is to NOT do more damage than good. So, that means, ditch the milk or white chocolate candy bars. You already know sugar is pro-inflammatory, right?
Stick to chocolate that is at least 70% cacao.
Alright, you can probably tell that there are tons of foods to reduce inflammation. And, hopefully, you can see how easy it can be to lower your chronic inflammation. Right?
Rule of thumb – choose brightly colored fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, cold-pressed vegetable oils, and wild-caught fish more often.
With so many options to choose from, how are you going to reduce your inflammation this week???