A cut on your finger brings about necessary inflammation to heal the wound. The white blood cells have clear orders and can do their job unencumbered. On the other hand, chronic inflammation caused by confusing pathogens entering the blood stream via a leaky gut is no joke. Chronic inflammation has been linked to allergies, neurological disorders, arthritis, and a host of autoimmune diseases. If you eat the standard American Diet filled with sugar, dairy and grains there is a good chance you experience symptoms of chronic inflammation. Just as there are foods that contribute to a leaky gut, the main cause of chronic inflammation, there are foods that help calm inflammation in the body, letting you heal your gut and reverse any damage.
Nibbling on berries, raisins and other fruits packed with powerful free-radical fighting antioxidants helps to calm inflammation. Some believe these antioxidants play a role in reducing the inflammation marker TNF-alpha or Tumor necrosis factor alpha, cachexin, a cell that signals the protein instrumental in systemic chronic inflammation. Reducing the TNF-alpha present in the body will reduce that likelihood of chronic inflammation.
Salmon and other Fatty Fish
Omega-6 found in vegetable oils, processed foods and fast foods increases inflammation in the body. Eating foods like salmon rich in omega 3 fatty acids have a calming effect and can help reduce inflammation. The idea is to bring balance to the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna and sardines are wonderful foods that will help you accomplish this and are a better source of protein compared to plant-based proteins that exacerbate digestive issues. They don’t necessarily have to take center stage at all of your meals. You can add omega-3 fish oil supplements to your daily regime to balance fat consumption. I don’t see how you could get tired of a nice piece of salmon or some fresh, seared tuna though.
Sipping ginger tea to quell nausea has gained its share of devotees, but the spicy root offers so much more. It helps your body absorb nutrients and aids in digestion. It’s been shown to stop inflammation in its tracks. Eating ginger with your post workout meal lowers post exercise inflammation, and reduces joint pain caused by acute inflammation. It’s not clear exactly what the anti-inflammation properties are, but it’s highly recommended to combat inflammation. The pickled ginger that is usually served with sushi has the same healthful properties as other ginger preparations, so enjoy it between pieces of sushi* to cleanse the palate and promote good health.
*Rice is gluten-free but highly processed rice can be problematic as it converts quickly to sugars in the bloodstream. Sushi rice isn't typically as processed as regular white rice, but if you can get brown rice sushi that would be preferable. The fish, wasabi and ginger at the sushi counter are fantastic for anti inflammatory dieting.
These orange beauties are loaded with vitamins C and E, carotenoids, alpha and beta-carotene, which are all anti-inflammatory nutrients. Sweet potatoes aren’t the only beta-carotene rich foods to help reduce inflammation markers in the body. Consider also carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and apricots as great sources of carotenoids.
The tart cherry steals the show. It’s rich in anthocyanins but with a powerful punch of anti-inflammatory compounds. The tart cherry, it seems, has higher levels of anthocyanins 1 and 2 than other fruits giving it a double dose of inflammation fighting nutrients.
Dark Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like kale, arugula, Brussel sprouts bok choy and wasabi are rich sources of sulfur, which triggers the liver to cycle through detox not once but twice. The second cycle encourages the production of more phase II enzymes that break down toxins similar to digestive enzymes. They essentially reduce the toxin load your body is carrying. If you think of the foreign proteins as toxins in your body, reducing the amount you carry helps the immune system to have fewer to fight off.
Green tea has high levels of catechin polyphenols making it an antioxidant powerhouse. These anti-oxidants offer up mild anti-inflammatory properties, help reduce cholesterol, and can prevent cardio vascular disease.
Chinese medicine has widely used turmeric for it’s amazing anti-inflammatory properties. More commonly used as a spice in Indian foods, turmeric is slowly being adopted as a supplement and a possible replacement for NSAIDS which are a class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is considered a strong anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and anti-oxidant superfood. Studies show the curcumin in turmeric is the active ingredient that soothes arthritis and stiffness.
Onions have amazing phytonutrients with powerful anti-inflammation and antimicrobial properties. They are packed with sulfur, tannins and flavonoids making them impressive anti-oxidants too. Onions are a fabulous natural anti-inflammatory vegetable and well suited to the fight against autoimmune diseases, asthma, and chronic inflammation.