Combatting Inflammation with Food

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What is Inflammation and Its Causes?

Inflammation has been found to be associated with many of the diseases that plague our society including arthritis, heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. However, inflammation is not always a bad thing – it’s our body’s immune response to sending white blood cells to the area of concern during injury or illness.  However, if the immune system’s response overreaches and goes out of control, it can damage otherwise healthy parts of the body. Researchers believe that diet plays a strong part in the inflammation response.  Foods high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fat can trigger inflammation.  Other foods may help to alleviate it.  Here are some foods you can add to your diet to help combat inflammation:

  1. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens and broccoli.  These veggies are loaded with vitamin E and antioxidants, both of which play a key role in protecting the body.
  2. Fruits, in particular berries.  All fruits have antioxidants, but researchers have discovered that berries have the added benefit of anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines.  These fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation.
  4. Nuts, particularly walnuts and almonds, are packed with protein, omega-3, antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats and vitamin E.
  5. Beets.  The antioxidant betalain gives beets their signature color and is a nutrient that fights inflammation.
  6. Ginger and turmeric.  These spices are rich in antioxidants and have both shown to reduce inflammation.
  7. Tomatoes.  They are a great source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps protect the brain and fight inflammation, particularly in the lungs.
  8. Chia Seeds.  These little seeds are considered an anti-inflammatory superfood.  Packed with fiber, omega-3, healthy fats and antioxidants, chia seeds may also help with weight loss, lower the risk of heart disease and regulate cholesterol.
  9. Coconut oil, which has surged in popularity in the last few years, has high levels of antioxidants that have shown to reduce inflammation. It is considered a natural treatment for arthritis and osteoporosis.
  10.  Dark chocolate.  For all the chocolate lovers out there, don’t feel guilty about indulging every so often!  Just to be sure to choose the right kind – look for a cacao content of at least 70% for the most beneficial amount of antioxidants.