Healing Foods for Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is the bodies healthy response to injury or infection, but when inflammation becomes a chronic condition there can be other underlying causes such as diet, alcohol, exposure to toxins, inactivity and high stress. If chronic inflammation is not dealt with it can result in a more serious condition like heart disease and cancer.

A person can promote the healing of a chronic inflammatory condition through practicing light daily exercises and following a whole food diet plan. Diets containing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts will reduce inflammation, whereas processed foods high in sugar, artificial ingredients, refined white flours and saturated and trans fats have all been linked to triggering inflammation.

Saturated and trans fats can also be introduced into healthy whole foods through the cooking process. This usually occurs when foods are deep-fried or pan-fried using high-heat. Healthy cooking methods involve lightly pan-frying foods over low heat, baking and steaming. Many cooking oils also contribute to adding toxins into our foods, why it is important to only use healthy salad and cooking oils like extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil.

Just as there are certain foods that can contribute to chronic inflammation, there are also foods that can aid in the healing of an already existing condition. Foods that can reduce inflammation include omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, ginger root and garlic.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids have shown to have especially high anti-inflammatory qualities. Foods high in omega-3 include oily fish (such as salmon, herring, trout, mackerel and sardines), flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts. Changing protein intake to wild fish, yogurt, beans, nuts, chia seeds and vegetable protein over red meat will also reduce inflammation. Almonds, walnuts, cashews and almond butter also contain healthy fats and protein.

Foods high in antioxidants help to strengthen the immune system and fight infection, but they also reduce inflammation. The highest ranked antioxidant foods include wild blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, sweet cherry, black plum, red and black grapes, artichokes, red kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, cilantro and dark leafy greens.

Choosing whole-grains over refined grains and non-starchy vegetables will also assist in reducing inflammation. Non-starchy vegetables include alfalfa sprouts, amaranth leaves, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, bean sprouts, green beans, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, onions, leafy greens, leeks, mushrooms, peppers, radish, sprouts, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips, watercress and zucchini.

Ginger root and turmeric root have also been linked to reducing full-body inflammation. Fresh ginger root is commonly used in Asian cuisine, as well can be steeped in hot water and enjoyed as a tea. Ginger powder is traditionally used in baking but can be taken in capsule form to sooth an upset stomach, ease the nerves and for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Turmeric root is also used in Asian cuisine but can also be taken as a powder in capsule form for its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing benefits.

Eating a balanced diet plays an important role in combating chronic inflammation, just as drinking enough water is. Moderate water retention happens concurrently with inflammation, so it is important to also drink 8 to 10 glasses of purified water throughout your day.

Written by: J. Marshall

 

Try my Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry recipe! Cashews, chicken and vegetables are all excellent healing foods sources for inflammation.

 

Try my Seasoned Rice with Black Beans recipe! Black beans and whole-grain brown rice are excellent healing foods for inflammation.

 

References
•    Dr. Weil/ Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Pyramid / URL: https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-pyramid/
•    Arthritis Foundation / Anti-Inflammatory Diet / URL: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet.php
•    Dr. Axe: Food IS Medicine / Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods / URL: https://draxe.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/
•    Web MD/ Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Road to Good Health? / URL: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/anti-inflammatory-diet-road-to-good-health#1
•    Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School / Foods that Fight Inflammation / URL: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
•    Authority Nutrition: An Evidence-based Approach / Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101 – Fight Inflammation Naturally / URL: https://authoritynutrition.com/anti-inflammatory-diet-101/

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