Inflammation or swelling can almost be considered as the body’s reflex action to fight injuries and infections. However, those are not the only two causes that cause inflammation in our bodies.
When our immune system goes into action without an injury or infection, inflammation occurs. Since our bodies are attuned to protecting us, our immune function is constantly working – even when there is nothing to protect us from. Thus, causing harm to healthy arteries, organs, and joints.
To avoid inflammation, include these seven commonly available foods:
Power packed with basic vitamins, minerals fibres and all things good – berries are natural anti-inflammatory foods that keep you healthy. Filled with anthocyanins – a type of antioxidants – berries have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce the overall risk of illnesses in our bodies.
Go ahead and indulge in a bowl of mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries or whatever else is in season. Easily available, incorporate them into your diet in smoothies or salads or eat them with yogurt or just as is as a snack.
2. Fatty Fish
Sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies – these fish are packed with nutrients and are some of the best sources of protein. Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA can be found in such fish, which makes them natural anti-inflammatory foods. Our bodies metabolize EPA and DHA into compounds such as resolvins and protectins, which in turn have anti-inflammatory effects.
Go ahead and grill yourself some salmon for lunch. Steam some mackerel with Asian herbs and seasonings. Incorporate anchovies into the next pasta dish or even salad dressing that you whip up for yourself.
There is a reason why we were served a generous portion of broccoli with almost all our meals at home. Broccoli is a nutrient dense food. Along with cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage, broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable – associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Sulforaphane is an antioxidant found in broccoli. It reduces levels of cytokines and NF-kB – both of which drive inflammation in our body.
Steam it, grill it, whizz it in a smoothie – try and eat broccoli as often as possible.
4. Dry Beans
Chock full of beneficial fibre – dry beans are natural anti-inflammatory foods. The most foundtypes of beans include:
- Red kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Navy beans
Beans are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory plant protein. Rich in B-complex vitamins and Vitamin K, they help prevent heart diseases, may curb blood sugar levels, and even reduce blood pressure.
Polyphenols found in dry beans work as antioxidants that help fight inflammation. Great in salads, soups or even eaten as a side, dry beans are a wonderful alternative for meatless meals.
Carrot is a root vegetable that is available throughout the year. Buy it fresh or frozen, the nutritional content is the same. Beta-carotene found in carrots is converted into Vitamin A, which is essential for our overall health. It is also a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Low in calories and high in fibre, carrots contain zeaxanthin and lutein – both of which are related to Vitamin A and its anti-inflammatory properties. Among the foods that fight inflammation, carrots sit at the top range of the table.
Eat them in salads. Make an interesting warm bowl of soup. Grill them with some herbs, there are various ways that the humble carrot can be enjoyed.
Almonds are a widely available variety of nuts that contain monounsaturated fats. Rich in Vitamin E and manganese, and a good source of magnesium – almonds are natural anti-inflammatory foods that can easily be included in your day-to-day diet.
While considered to be high on calories, the key with eating almonds lies in portion control. They are satiating and high on fibre and therefore only a handful of almonds can do the trick. Eating soaked almonds every day or snacking on 8-10 almonds is a good practice.
Turmeric is widely used in South East Asian cuisines. It is a revered spice for its natural healing properties, whether applied or digested. Packed with curcumin – a strong anti-inflammatory compound, turmeric can be eaten raw or dried. Turmeric is known to reduce inflammation related to arthritis and diabetes.
Blend in some fresh turmeric into your post-workout smoothie. Or brew yourself some aromatic golden tea with some cinnamon. Add it curries for a vibrant color, earthy aroma and health-boosting properties. However, to extract the maximum benefit from turmeric, it should be eaten with black pepper.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
While including all these foods are important, eating a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in prebiotics and probiotics can further help minimise inflammation. So, what exactly are prebiotics and probiotics?
- Probiotics are live organisms and bacteria that can be found in certain foods and natural supplements.
- Prebiotics are substances that are released from certain carbs that we consume which our bodies cannot digest. The good bacteria in our gut consume this fibre.
Our gut has a mix of both good and bad bacteria. Eating a healthy mix of prebiotics and probiotics helps keep a balance of the good and bad bacteria in our gut, impacting our overall health.
For a healthy gut, our everyday diets need to include generous portions of foods that fight inflammation and are probiotics. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha are some probiotics that are natural anti-inflammatory foods.
With our demanding lifestyles, only eating a balanced diet may not be enough. Compliment your diet with herbal supplements that support the immune function and reduce inflammation.
Kaer Naturals is a California-based wellness vitamins and supplements apothecary. Kaer’s Body Armor is a natural remedy for inflammation. It is a blend of natural anti-inflammatory foods that helps our body remove toxins and find our natural water balance.
Made with four mushrooms, Body Armor:
- Reduces water retention.
- Supports kidney function.
- Increases immune function.
- Combats fatigue.
Body Armor is safe to consume for everyone. It is a vegan, gluten-free product. Blend in one teaspoon with your favourite tea, smoothie, or coffee. Banish the bloat and take kaer.
Amber Tsai is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur in the wellness industry. She values her family and her health above everything else. Upon receiving her MBA from USC Marshall School of a Business, she began Kaer to as a continuation of her family’s legacy in the herbal supplement space.