How to Handle a Healthy Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
The 10 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Your Body
Inflammation is to your body what Spencer Pratt was to L.C. onThe Hills: a constant annoyance, creeping on your well-being and occasionally leaving you with a puffy, swollen face.
Okay, it's notallbad (Spencer is actually pretty funny on social media these days), but when it goes awry, inflammation is the ultimate PITA.
There is such a thing as good inflammation: When you twist your ankle and it swells, that's because your body is sending extra blood and immune cells to the injury site to fight off infection.
But the bad kind—chronic inflammation—causes your body to attack its own cells by mistake, says Ali Webster, R.D., associate director of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council.
Often triggered by weight gain, stress, and genetic conditions (say, if you have eczema or Crohn's Disease), chronic inflammation can last for a long time, and is associated with conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthiritis, and inflammatory bowel disease, says Megan Meyer, Ph.D., director of science communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation.
The good news: This is one problem that actually can be improved with food.
Certain foods contain ingredients that are known to directly fight inflammation—no crazy dietary overhaul required, says Kelly Springer, R.D. "You just have to make some simple changes to your diet," she says.
Start by shopping from this anti-inflammatory foods list:
Mmmm, salmon. Omega-3 is an essential inflammation-fighting fatty acid that our bodies don’t produce, says Springer. Luckily, it’s abundant in various types of fatty fish like salmon and tuna.
Load up that salad bowl: Weber says dark leafy greens like spinach are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin K—which is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Top it on cereal, blend it into a smoothie, or sneak it into your favorite snacks and baked goods for a boost. A 2019 review found that flaxseed reduced C-reactive protein (CRP)—a marker of inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease—in obese populations, says Meyer.
Over time, our bodies produce free radicals (damaged molecules that contribute to aging and disease) due to stress and poor diet, says Springer. But green tea is full of the active ingredient catechin, an antioxidant that helps fight inflammation-causing free radicals.
Avocados aren’t just a millennial form of currency. They’re chock-full of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, which many of us don’t get nearly enough of in our diets, says Springer. Avo toast, anyone?
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts are super-high in fiber. The good bacteria in our gut thrive off fiber-rich foods, says Springer, which in turn help fight inflammation.
Forget all the crazy influencer-endorsed juice concoctions. Plain old water does the trick perfectly well. How so? According to Springer, it keeps your digestive system moving. (When stool is just sitting in your colon, it causes inflammation). Plus, hydration also helps reduce inflammation of the joints.
Take your pick when it comes to nuts—they’re all high in omega-3s, says Springer. Whether you love almonds, cashews, or pistachios, any of them are a good choice for keeping inflammation at bay.
Video: Nutrition for Inflammation and Arthritis
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