Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting you from harmful stimuli or potential injury (so not necessarily a bad thing like people assume). It can appear in many forms, including pain, heat, swelling, redness, and a slowing down or complete halt of an organ’s function.
Inflammation may be either acute (a good thing) or chronic (not so good). Acute inflammation is the initial protective response of your bodies tissues, and could occur after a cut, scrape, or even surgery. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is prolonged and can become severe. It’s often caused by a poor diet or even an imbalance of bacteria in your gut. It can also be result of food allergies, toxic environment, and stress.
Your diet plays a HUGE role in decreasing or increasing inflammation in your body. If you consume sugary foods, processed foods, or if you’re regularly dehydrated, your body is more prone to inflammation while trying to heal itself. So while I always encourage eating an anti-inflammatory diet in general (fewer items from boxes, cans or bags), there are some great foods to help lower inflammation further.
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Blueberries can significantly reduce inflammation if consumed on a daily basis. They are rich in flavonoids, polyphenosl, resveratrol and Vitamin C, all of which are well known for reducing inflammation. On top of that, blueberries also have more anti-oxidants than any other fruit. Those fancy anti-oxidants can easily turn off and block all forms of body inflammations. Aim for 1/2-1c daily!
Ginger is used in a variety of organic medicines because of its anti-disease, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it contains properties that prevent the formation of inflammatory compounds (not to mention it’s great for nausea). You can add it as a spice in your foods, drink ginger juice, or blend it with honey and drink as a health shot. Mmmm.
Dark chocolate or cacao
Dark chocolate is one of the healthier varieties of chocolate. A true dark chocolate (over 72%) or cacao contains flavenoids, which are a source of antioxidants. In fact, it contains up to 4x the antioxidants of tea…and tastes delicious! Just make sure you are opting for one with little to no added sugar (I’m a fan of Lily’s).
Turmeric is also widely used in all-natural medicines. You can add to food as a spice or stir in a pinch to your coffee or smoothie. Turmeric helps slow the production of the two most inflammatory enzymes, 5-LOX and COX-2, and is often used (in supplement form as curcumin) to rapidly help reduce inflammation and even reduce joint pain.
There are a variety of foods you can add to your diet to help reduce or avoid inflammation. These are a few of the easiest and most accessible. If you are experiencing severe, chronic inflammation, I always recommend starting with diet. Beyond that, get some basic labs done and look for optimal ranges (not just normal), with someone trained in functional medicine…ahem…wink wink. There are also functional labs that can be done to explore inflammation further, but every person is unique.
Don’t forget, I’ve got a free meal plan that you can download HERE!