Inflammation. While the word itself sounds daunting, inflammation is actually a natural response by your body to a stressful situation. Inflammation is the first response as your immune system protects your body from infections, irritation and allergies. Even good sources of stress—such as exercise—can increase inflammation in your body. Unfortunately the swelling, redness, and pain that inflammation can cause is not always wanted, and chronic inflammation can cause more serious illnesses. Help your body protect itself by adding foods that promote health, while reducing unnecessary inflammation. Here are 5 anti-inflammatory foods to add to your grocery list today:
Want to reduce inflammation after exercise? Popeye knew what he was doing with his spinach consumption! Spinach contains antioxidants vitamin C, and E, as well as carotenoids and flavonoids—all which fight against inflammation. If you’re already eating spinach salads, try adding a handful to your Vega One® smoothie for an extra green boost!
2. Tart Cherries or Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherries contain compounds called anthocyanins, which can block inflammation while helping to prevent muscle damage.Connolly, DA et al. (2006).Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 40(8):679-83. Accessed 7/1/13 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2579450/ Add tart cherry juice to your post-workout drink to gain benefits, or eat a couple as an after-dinner treat.
It’s no wonder that garlic is loved by many countries around the world—it’s rich in anti-inflammatory compounds diallyl sulfide (DAS) and thiacremonone.Ban JO, et al. (2009). Anti-inflammatory and arthritic effects of thiacremonone, a novel sulfur compound isolated from garlic via inhibition of NF-kappaB. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 11(5):R145. Accessed 7/1/13 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2787296/ Just one clove of garlic offers many compounds that are known to help lower inflammation and increase circulation, such as phosphorus, selenium, zinc, polyphenols, arginine and vitamins B6 and C.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
When you consume Omega-3s, your body makes resolvins. Resolvins help fight inflammation by inhibiting the production and regulating the movement of inflammatory chemicals.Serhan, Charles N. and Petasis, Nicos A. (2011) Resolvins and Protectins in Inflammation-Resolution. Chemical Reviews, October 12; 111(10): 5922–5943. Accessed 7/1/13 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3192290/Top plant-based sources of Omega-3s include flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.
5. Kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha
Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha contain probiotics that help to support your immune system and fight inflammation.Jirillo E, Jirillo F, Magrone T. (2012). Healthy effects exerted by prebiotics, probiotics, and symbiotics with special reference to their impact on the immune system.) International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 200-8 Probiotics help to support immune system by nourishing your good gut bacteria while crowding out of bad bacteria.
What are your favorite anti-inflammatory foods?