When a fire occurs, the fire marshal goes in to investigate what elements started and fed the fire. And when we do the same to investigate the causes of human diseases, the most common factor is inflammation. Therefore, we can surmise that addressing inflammation by consuming a mostly anti-inflammatory diet, we can can eliminate some opportunities to develop disease.
Inflammation is a necessary function, whereby the immune system charges forward to transport white blood cells via increased blood flow to broken, injured or infected areas. We feel this process as pain, swelling and heat in the affected area; we can also see the swelling and redness. It may be uncomfortable but it's all a part of the healing process.
In a 2014 study done at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, titled "An anti-inflammatory diet as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a case series report", 33 percent of the patients in the study were opted out of an anti-inflammatory diet. The patients who did consume the anti-inflammatory foods experience enough relief that they felt comfortable tapering off of at least one of their prescribed medication. Still, physicians don't typically issue clear anti-inflammation dietary guidelines to patients who could benefit from the lifestyle change.
The foundation of anti-inflammation diet is also called a "Mediterranean diet", which indicates a diet high in fresh vegetables, fruits, health fats, seafood and some red meat. Hardly anything packaged, except for the salt.
Some compounds are especially efficient at soothing inflammation and inflammatory diseases, so foods that contain significant amounts of them are generally considered the best foods to eat for anti-inflammation.
Almost all fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory flavonoids but leafy greans, like spinach, kale and swiss chard have these compounds in spades. If green leafy vegetables turn you off, try blending them into a juice sweetened with blueberries (see #6) or pineapple (see #7).
Bok choy is rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals and hydroxycinnamic acids, which round up free radicals. Bok choy is popular Chinese cuisine but it's as versatile as most other leafy greens.
Celery seeds lower inflammation and to fight bacterial infections. Celery is interesting because it is such a rich and balanced source of potassium, antioxidants and vitamins despite most people perceiving it to be nutrient deficient because of its water content.
A deep purple color is an indication of antioxidants, and beets are all that. The antioxidant betalain in beets fights inflammation and repairs cell damage caused by inflammation. When added to the diet, beet benefits include repairing cells and adding high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.
Broccoli is high in potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants, which all help to lower inflammation. But broccoli is also a powerhouse of vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids that throw a blanket over oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. If you're eating for your inflammation, broccoli should be on your grocery list every time.
One antioxidant is an especially anti-inflammatory compound, called quercetin. Quercetin is found in citrus, olive oil and blueberries. A handful of blueberries in the morning can also help improve your memory and motor function.
Quercetin makes a perfect pair with the digestive enzyme, bromelain, which is found in high amounts in pineapple. Considered part of an anti-inflammatory diet, bromelain also regulates the body's immune response, in turn helping to eliminate excessive inflammation.
Salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3, which is potent anti-inflammatory fatty acid. The results of a diet high in salmon include inflammation reduction and a decrease in the number of inflammation-derived diseases, like heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
Bone broths contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and other minerals in a form that is easily digestible. Sufferers of chronic arthritis and joint pain see a big difference in the inflammation around their joints when they augment their diet with bone broth several times per week.
For those who follow a meatless or meat restrictive anti-inflammation diet, walnuts can provide both protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Herbs and oils work together to form anti-inflammatory partnerships, especially coconut oil and turmeric. Coconut oil fights free radicals with its high levels of antioxidants, and it has been known to treat inflammation disorders, like osteoporosis.
Chia seeds contain a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, making them an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. They actually reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and keep blood pressure in check.
Ground flaxseeds are a digestible source of Omega-3s, phytonutrients, antioxidants and polyphenols. The latter of those compounds aid in hormone balance, cellular health, and supporting probiotics in the gut.
The curcumin found in turmeric is its active anti-inflammatory component that relieves inflammation in numerous circumstances when used in an anti-inflammation diet. Turmeric is particularly effective at managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is a high concentration of inflammation in joints and other tissue.
Ginger in all forms modulates the immune system to reduce inflammatory responses. It may even help in treating the inflammation related to allergy and asthma disorders.
Establishing your anti-inflammation lifestyle fueled by fresh, whole anti-inflammation foods and regular cardiovascular exercise will set you on the path toward freedom from tissue inflammation and the diseases it creates.