Health

10 Superfoods To Fight Inflammation If Consumed Regularly

The human body is built in such a way that it self-regulates. The inflammatory pain you feel from time to time is the body’s way of… Simi - October 28, 2017

The human body is built in such a way that it self-regulates. The inflammatory pain you feel from time to time is the body’s way of letting you know you have been exposed to foreign stimuli, and your immune system is fighting to get rid of them. The unwanted foreign stimuli could be anything from pathogens, irritants, damaged cells or allergens.

While inflammation will be helpful in healing wounds, tissue damage and infections, it can cause more harm to your body if it is left unchecked. You can either experience chronic or acute inflammation from exposure to harmful stimuli. If the inflammation goes on for one or two weeks, it is an acute inflammation. On the other hand, persistent inflammation that can go on for months or even years is chronic inflammation.

There are a lot of health concerns that are usually associated with inflammation, hence the need to pay attention whenever you are in pain. These include the following:

Chronic prostatitis
Atherosclerosis
Acne
Sinusitis
Asthma
Rheumatoid arthritis
Periodontitis
Hay fever
Celiac disease
Crohn’s disease
Inflammatory bowel conditions
Cancer
Interstitial cystitis
Ulcerative colitis

The list is endless. It is, however, important that you learn the symptoms to look out for, and what to do when you notice them. One of the easiest ways of fighting inflammation is through a proper diet. There are certain foods that you can include in your meal plan that will help in dealing with inflammation. Some of these super-foods have been discussed briefly below.

Garlic

After years of research, in 2012 the Journal of Medicinal Food published a report highlighting the benefits of garlic. These were affirmations of what people have known for so many years, but with a scientific approach to them. In this report, they highlighted a number of compounds in garlic that provide therapeutic and anti-inflammatory benefits to the body.

There are 4 compounds in garlic that contain sulfur, which usually helps in fighting inflammation. This is by blocking the causative pathways to inflammation. If you want to fight inflammation, it is advisable to have 2 – 3 raw cloves of garlic every day. These are best taken on an empty stomach. On the same note, try and include garlic in your meals from time to time, or whenever you can.

The benefits of garlic are not just limited to cooked food, but you can also use it without cooking, and still get the same benefits. For relief from inflammation and pain, you can rub garlic on the part of the body where the pain is localized. After a short while, you will be relieved.

At the moment there are garlic supplements in the market that you can also find useful. These come in handy as dietary supplements. However, before you start using such supplements, it is advisable that you talk to your nutritionist, physician or doctor about it. They will advise you on the best dosage, given your medical history and after studying your history of allergies and allergic reactions, including those of your family members.

Ginger

It is impossible to discuss superfoods without a mention of ginger. This is one of the foods that have been at the helm of medicinal use for years. Ancient civilizations, especially in oriental nations like China used ginger for different medical benefits, and so should you. Gingerol is the key ingredient in ginger with anti-inflammatory benefits, that you should know about. Ginger is indeed a worthy candidate on this list, given that it acts on inflammation on a cell by cell basis, making it more effective in its anti-inflammatory role.

It has been used as part of alternative treatment for chronic and acute inflammatory conditions for years. By acting on the inflamed part of the body at cellular level, it is easier for the individual to heal faster. Who can use ginger? Well, anyone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis will certainly find ginger coming in handy. When you have ginger in your meals regularly, you will soon be able to move around better without pain. Even the swelling along the affected area will reduce.

Ginger does not just work for those who have arthritis. If you engage in regular exercise, you might want to consider using ginger after your routine. This is because it provides relief from inflammation after your exercises.

There are other ways you can use ginger. You can prepare ginger tea with fresh ginger roots or you can get dried ginger roots from the stores. Ginger tea 2 – 3 times a day will help you feel better. Ginger oil can also be used to massage the affected parts of the body. However, take note that having too much ginger will thin your blood, so consult a doctor first.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is another super-food that you should consider having in your diet often. It contains compounds that provide the utmost protection for you, against inflammation, among other benefits. According to a Current Pharmaceutical Design study in 2011, olive oil, especially extra virgin oil, contains Oleocanthal. You might not recognize this name easily, but it serves an important role. Oleocanthal acts to inhibit the body from producing enzymes COX – 2 and COX – 1, which bring about inflammation.

In case you have been suffering from inflammation from time to time, it is advisable that you look for extra virgin olive oil. This will go so far in keeping you safe from a host of medical concerns that are associated with inflammation. Some of those who would greatly benefit from this include those who are suffering from degenerative diseases of the joints or even diabetes.

There are different ways of preparing and serving olive oil. Most people serve it in salad dressings. You can also use olive oil as your preferred cooking oil when preparing a variety of meals. The good thing with using olive oil is that it can come in handy in so many ways.

Other than preparing food, olive oil can also be applied to the body. When you are giving a massage, it will help in reducing pain, especially along the area where the inflammation is localized. In case you have muscle cramps from working out, or even inflammation for those who have arthritis, olive oil is effective in easing the swelling and reducing pain. You will be feeling much better when you keep using olive oil from time to time.

Salmon

Ever wondered why most nutritionists recommend fish like salmon in your diet? It is not just about widening your options when it comes to a healthy meal, it is also about staying healthy in the process. Salmon is one of the most popular cold water fish that we have on our table during meal times. Other than the nutritious benefits, they also contain active compounds that help in fighting inflammation.

Two of the most important fatty acids that are found in salmon is Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). A lot of people only know about salmon, but not these two compounds. So, how do they assist in fighting inflammation? These fatty acids are tasked with acting in the presence of cytokines within your body. If the number of cytokines is not in check, your body gets inflamed very easily. The fatty acids, therefore, help in keeping the cytokine level optimal.

How do you make sure that you can get the most out of salmon? It all depends on how you cook it. There are recipe books all over the place, that will recommend different ways of preparing the best hearty salmon dish. You can have them roasted, baked or grilled, but will still get the complete nutritious benefits from salmon. However, if you overcook your dish, the healthy fats your body needs are destroyed in the process.

According to the American Heart Association, you should consider having salmon two or three times in a week. However, in case this is not possible, as often as you can manage is also fine. In case the taste of fish does not work for you, consider getting supplements of fish oil, but speak to your doctor first.

Spinach

There are endless ways of enjoying some spinach in your meal. Every other day you will come across unique recipes of how you can prepare spinach in the best possible manner. Take note that what works for someone might not always work for you, so it is advisable that you find something that you can appreciate. The benefits of having spinach in the diet are immense. This is why you can literally have spinach in any meal during the day, at any given time.

Spinach is another inclusion in the list of superfoods that will help in fighting inflammation. There are so many carotenoids that are available in spinach. The carotenoids in spinach usually work as antioxidants in the body, helping to reduce inflammation. Other than that, they also act as good sources of vitamin E for the body.

It is the action of these compounds, among others, that help in protecting your body from being overrun by cytokines (molecules that enhance inflammation). Other than this, spinach also provides your body sufficient quantities of alpha-linolenic acid, ALA. This is another agent that fights inflammation. This makes it easier for you to overcome severe pain, especially after strenuous activities.

It might just look like an average vegetable to you, but the benefits of spinach go over and above what most people might easily imagine. Did you know that by regularly having spinach in your diet, you will barely have to struggle with migraines, pain as a result of arthritis or inflammation from asthmatic conditions? Prepare your spinach in whichever form you like; as a green smoothie, vegetable juice or salad, part of an omelet or as a side dish and enjoy the real benefits.

Purple Sweet Potatoes

There are different types of sweet potatoes that are available. You might have come across quite a number. While all these offer the body some good benefits, it is important to note that the purple variety is highly recommended in case you are looking for superfoods that help in fighting inflammation. Based on findings from a 2011 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food, it is the concentration of nutrients in them that increases the potential for anti-inflammatory benefits of sweet potatoes. This is something that is uniquely common among potatoes.

Sweet potatoes have a high content of Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Apart from that, they also have carotenoids beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. These carotenoids are important in alleviating pain. For someone who eats sweet potatoes often, you will recover from pain-inducing situations faster and better. The carotenoids are also tasked with reducing inflammation.

Sweet potatoes are a good addition to the diet, given that they actually help in fighting inflammation from the brain. This way, the nerve tissue all through the brain will also experience reduced strain, which helps you feel better and recover much faster.

How much sweet potatoes should you have in your diet to enjoy these benefits? Well, it depends on how easily available the sweet potatoes are, in your neighborhood. The recommended serving, however, is at least a cup every day. In terms of how to prepare the sweet potatoes, the options are endless. You can also come across recipe books that can guide you. You can prepare French fries from sweet potatoes. You can also mash, bake or grill the potatoes. If you so wish, you can use the potatoes to make pancakes, cookies or chips.

Tart Cherries

If you have ever had the chance to eat them, tart cherries are sweet. There are different ways of preparing them. You can have them as juice or you can just eat the fruits as they are. Other than the sweetness, what other benefits do you derive from these fruits? One of the most important is fighting inflammation. Tart cherries have, for a very long time been used through generations as anti-inflammatory compounds. They help the body heal faster and you feel less pain in the process.

In 2010, a group of researchers at Oregon Health and Science University undertook a study to find out the benefits of tart cherries. They observed a number of people, who had taken tart cherry juice and those who did not. At the end of their study, they were able to convincingly conclude that those participants who had taken tart cherries had a lower level of inflammation as compared to those who did not.

You can incorporate tart cherries into your diet in different ways. In case you are planning or working on some strenuous activity in the coming days, consider including tart cherry juice in your meal plan at least a week before you begin. This will help you reduce the pain that you often feel after the exercise routine. It will also reduce inflammation and pain in the muscles.

According to a number of expert nutritionists, you should have a cup of tart cherry juice each day. In case you are taking the fruit without processing, one and a half cups will suffice. You will have better results with tart cherry juice that has not been sweetened.

Turmeric

For those who do not know it, turmeric is a yellow spice that is common in Indian-style meals. It is one of the food substances that have in the past been associated with a lot of health benefits. One of the active ingredients in turmeric is curcumin. The presence of curcumin in turmeric as an antioxidant is what supports the anti-inflammatory benefits that you enjoy from time to time. Turmeric has been in use for so many years, even dating back to ancient civilizations.

In 2003, a group of researchers published their report on turmeric in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, on the role that curcumin plays in the body. Essentially, curcumin usually acts by inhibiting the action of molecules which encourage inflammation. Therefore, you will be feeling less pain.

One of the areas where turmeric has been so effective is in reducing the pain of inflammation for people who are suffering from arthritis. Other than that, in case you partake in active sports, especially contact sports, you will want to have turmeric as a common ingredient in your meals. This is because it helps in reducing inflammation as a result of injury, and sprained muscles.

The good thing about turmeric is that you can virtually have it in most of your meals. These days you can even get turmeric milk and have a glass once or twice a day. This will go further in helping you enjoy the benefits of turmeric. Turmeric tea is another way of enjoying this fine super-food. In case you are injured and the affected part is swollen, you can prepare sesame oil paste mixed with turmeric powder and apply. Remember, however, not to do this in case the affected part has broken skin.

Blueberries

Blueberries are another option that you would want to consider when looking for the right superfood to help in fighting inflammation. There are good reasons for this. Blueberries have sufficient content of hydroxycinnamic acids, anthocyanins, flavonols and hydroxybenzoic acids. These play a huge role in the body, acting as anti-inflammatory compounds and also as antioxidants. Perhaps it would help by learning how this works.

These compounds usually work on the cell membrane. They increase the functional capacity of the cell membrane, in the process making it easier for chemical processes and nutrients that are key to proper body functions to gain access to the cells. When you consider this and the fact that blueberries naturally contain a lower content of calories and fat, they are a good addition to your diet.

There are a lot of benefits that you will gain from having blueberries in your diet on a regular basis. They will reduce the risk of getting arthritis, and have also been known to help in keeping you safe from inflammation of the intestines. This is a condition that more often ends up in ulcerative colitis, which if left unchecked can cause serious problems for you as time goes by.

There are different ways for you to serve blueberries in your meals, especially if you are in a position where you can have them on a daily basis. You can have them baked, as cereals, in a fruit salad or as smoothie ingredients. Where possible, aim towards having a serving of blueberries every day. This is equivalent to half a cup of blueberries, and you will be able to enjoy some of the perks of a healthy diet.

Walnuts

One of the fatty acids (omega-3) that are useful to the body is ALA, common in olive oil (extra virgin olive oil). This component is also present in walnuts, and it is one of the main reasons why we classify walnuts as superfoods. They are healthy and will go a long way in helping you fight inflammation in your body. In 2004, scientists published a report in the Journal of Nutrition concerning walnuts. In this report, their studies revealed that individuals who have walnuts in their diet on a regular basis experienced a reduction in inflammation than those who did not.

To be precise, the said individuals would have no less than 2.3 ounces of walnuts a day. In this composition, they were able to benefit from a reduction in the population of the C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body. These are the proteins that usually indicate that the individual is at a high risk of developing heart disease, especially because of inflammation.

There are a number of chronic illnesses that you can overcome when you have walnuts in your diet on a regular basis. Chronic heart diseases can be kept at bay. You will also have a lower risk of arthritis. At the same time, walnuts are effective in guaranteeing you proper bone health, so you will be stronger with healthy bones for a long time.

In terms of preparation, you should soak the walnuts you want overnight in water. You can have them in the morning as breakfast, or you can still keep them for snacking later in the morning or in the afternoon. It is possible to have walnuts in your baked foods, cereals or smoothies too.

Advertisement