You may or may not believe that food is medicine. However, everything you consume impacts your body’s chemistry. Some meals prompt an inflammatory response, increasing pain and leaving you feeling under the weather.
However, the news isn’t all dire. You can also tailor your menu to fight this painful condition. Here are nine of the best foods to eat to fight inflammation.
1. Fatty Fish
If you want to live longer, you should make like the Catholics and embrace fish Friday. Fatty fish such as mackerel offers some of your best protection against heart disease. This condition remains the No. 1 killer of men and women worldwide.
Eating more seafood could also help boost your immunity and ease inflammation during these crazy COVID-19 days. A Harvard School of Public Health study indicated that eating two or more servings of seafood per week improved immune function among hundreds of thousands of participants.
2. Broccoli and Kale
Broccoli and kale originate from the same mustard plant species, but farmers have selectively bred them for certain qualities over the years. Cabbage also stems from the same origin. These foods have a high level of B vitamins, vital for energy production and to stave off inflammation.
Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 can lower your homocysteine levels, a substance that increases your risk for heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Grains like bread and pasta often come enriched with additional folate. However, you’re better off getting it from the whole grain rather than the bleached version. Although researchers remain unsure precisely why, your body tends to absorb nutrients more efficiently from food than supplements.
If you have multiple sclerosis, you might want to make avocados your best friend. These fruits are rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, both of which work to reduce inflammation in your body — including that affecting the myelin sheath lining your nerve tissue. The properties of this plant are so strong that they can offset some of the less healthy choices you make.
Why not try potato chips fried in avocado oil if you can’t say no to this salty snack? You’ll adore the rich, buttery taste. Better yet, use the oil as a substitute in salad dressings. You’ll get the full fatty flavor with just a small amount, keeping excess calories off your plate.
4. Olive Oil
You probably heard that olive oil is one of the healthiest things you can eat for your heart. The magic lies in part with the anti-inflammatory properties. One of the key ingredients is oleocanthal, a substance that works similarly to ibuprofen to reduce pain.
Olive oil also has a high smoke point, making it ideal for cooking. Use it as a substitute for other vegetable oils when making stir-fries. You can even drizzle it on bread or mix it with a bit of balsamic vinegar and herbs for a simple salad dressing.
5. Turmeric and Black Pepper
Curcumin is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances on the planet, and you can find it in turmeric. This Indian spice adds golden color to curries, but it also lends a light chai flavor to your morning cup of joe. You can add a bit of the root with a sprinkle of black pepper directly to your morning coffee grounds.
Why do you want to add black pepper? The secret is bioavailability. The piperine in the black pepper fruit increases the amount of curcumin your body can use by 2,000%. It’s considered one of the three principal spices in ayurvedic medicine for this reason, along with ginger and Indian long pepper.
If your childhood caregivers told you to chew ginger when you had an upset stomach, the reason lies in this root’s anti-inflammatory properties. It’s long been known as a digestive remedy, but it also helps fight swelling elsewhere in your body.
Ginger makes another excellent addition to your morning brew. You can shave a bit of the root directly into your grounds the way you would turmeric.
This herb also steals the show when it comes to holiday treats. Bake up some healthy ginger snaps that use chickpea flour to cut carbs and increase the protein content.
7. Hot Peppers
Peppers are among your best sources of vitamin C. A single red bell pepper contains three times the amount of this nutrient as an orange. Plus, you don’t have to struggle with the peel.
However, the sunshine vitamin isn’t the only thing that makes these fruit’s spicy cousins anti-inflammatory powerhouses. They also contain capsaicin. If you use topical pain-relieving creams, you might see this ingredient on the label. It’s the stuff that makes you sweat — but it also decreases inflammation.
8. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds provide oodles of beneficial nutrients, particularly for your brain. If you’re prone to depression, you might want to increase your intake.
These foods contain high levels of magnesium, selenium and zinc. These substances can improve your mood, sometimes as much as an antidepressant, while providing anti-inflammatory goodness to your whole body.
Berries contain tons of anthocyanins, vital phytonutrients that help fight inflammation. One of these, resveratrol, is the principal ingredient that gives red wine some beneficial effects — although you can reap the same perks by drinking grape juice that doesn’t alter your mental state.
Berries are versatile foods that are easily added to your diet. Sprinkle a handful on your breakfast cereal or blend them into a smoothie. Top your ice cream with a few blueberries and raspberries.
Eat Foods to Fight Inflammation
Everything you eat affects your body’s chemistry. Consume more of these nine best foods for fighting inflammation and be on your way to improved health.