Do you ever take ibuprofen for a headache or muscle ache? These medications can take the edge off. However, you can promote long-term anti-inflammation by following an anti-inflammatory diet.
Certain foods reduce inflammation markers in the body. Here’s what to know about this particular diet plan, from nutrition to recipes to supplements.
What Does Anti-inflammatory Mean?
Inflammation occurs as your body elicits a natural response to pain, infection or another abnormality. You might experience acute inflammation when you bang an arm or a leg against something hard, sprain your ankle or come down with the flu. Conversely, chronic inflammatory reactions may result from belly fat, smoking or an unwanted object in the body.
People often describe inflammation as discomfort, with swelling and tenderness in their joints. It might also lead to redness and temporary loss of mobility.
Anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation throughout the body. You will have a much easier time moving around, managing your weight and living healthily.
5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
There is a long list of foods you should eat to reduce inflammation. The following five are merely a starting point on an anti-inflammatory diet plan.
Consume blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries to keep swelling down. Berries contain bioactive and polyphenolic compounds — anthocyanidins, flavonoids and phenolic acids — known for combating oxidative stress and inflammation.
Following the results of one study, researchers recommended consuming berries as a line of treatment for obesity and weight-related conditions.
Although some studies are conflicting, eggs may have anti-inflammatory effects. Per one trial, participants showed signs of reduced inflammation and metabolic syndrome after four weeks of eating two eggs with 70 grams of spinach daily.
One egg is 70 calories and makes up 13% of the daily recommended protein intake. It’s an excellent low-sodium source of iron, zinc and folic acid.
Eat more salmon if you want to keep inflammation down. Fatty fish contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols. Medical researchers believe these compounds reduce subclinical inflammation in people with cardiovascular disease.
In a recent study, omega-3’s anti-inflammatory properties helped strengthen lung function and hinder further development of chronic pulmonary disease.
Pineapple is one of the best foods to eat on the anti-inflammatory diet plan. This sweet and citrusy fruit is 86% water and provides the body with essential fiber and enzymes.
Eating a bowl of pineapple is beneficial for reducing oxidative stress and bringing down swelling. However, it is higher on the glycemic index list, so consume it in moderation.
5. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It might also help with memory loss and regulating diabetes.
Eat raw red bell peppers for your body to gain the most vital minerals and nutrients from this crunchy vegetable.
Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in nourishing meals you can whip up in minutes. Many are highly satiating and excellent options for weight management. Take these two recipes, for example.
Avocado and Kale Omelet
This omelet recipe calls for two large eggs, low-fat milk, crushed red pepper, salt, olive oil, chopped kale, lime juice, cilantro, avocado slices and sunflower seeds.
Beat the eggs with a teaspoon of milk and add to a medium-hot, nonstick skillet with olive oil. Cook the eggs for one to two minutes before flipping the omelet for another 30 seconds.
Massage the chopped kale with olive oil and lime juice, adding sunflower seeds, red pepper flakes and salt. Place the kale salad with sliced avocado on the omelet.
Turmeric Pineapple Smoothie
A turmeric pineapple smoothie is the perfect anti-inflammatory drink for a hot summer day.
Add pineapple, banana, lime juice, coconut oil, turmeric and aloe vera juice to a blender pitcher and mix until smooth and creamy.
Ice will keep it cold, but you can freeze pineapple chunks and bananas to have on hand for other smoothies.
Supplements to Beat Inflammation
Your best source for anti-inflammatory compounds and minerals derives from food. However, sometimes, you must compensate with supplements for a lack of dietary nutrients. Here are a few anti-inflammatory supplements to include in your diet plan.
Turmeric + Curcumin
Curcumin has been a staple of Chinese medicine, used to increase blood circulation and treat inflammatory pain and disease. Likewise, turmeric is a popular spice from India, historically used to beat inflammation.
While curcumin is effective, it has poor absorption on its own. Improve curcumin’s bioavailability by purchasing a supplement with turmeric, black pepper and ginger.
Only some people like to eat seafood. Others might not have the time to make salmon dinners every week. Fish oil supplements will ensure your body receives enough omega-3 fatty acids to keep inflammation down.
Likewise, daily fish oil supplements with omega-3 can balance your triglyceride levels for improved heart health.
Registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, RD, underscores the importance of taking spirulina supplements for inflammation. As she points out, spirulina has outstanding antioxidative properties to combat free radicals and prevent chronic illnesses like cancer, Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Spirulina tablets also comprise vitamins A and B-12 and are most potent when certified organic.
Scientists recently highlighted a correlation between low-grade inflammation and vitamin D deficiencies. In another clinical study, participants reported improved autoimmunity after taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily with omega-3s for 5.3 years.
While eggs, salmon, mushrooms and cow’s milk are all excellent sources of vitamin D3, having one to two tablets per day is adequate supplementation unless your physician says otherwise.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea has long been used in Chinese herbal medicine to treat various conditions. It is loaded with catechins, which are antioxidants that have some of the most significant impacts on your health.
Taking catechin-rich green tea extract supplements improves gut health and intestinal inflammation related to metabolic syndrome.
A highly concentrated and caffeinated green tea extract will provide energy to keep you awake throughout the day.
Control Inflammation With Food and Supplements
Inflammation places undue stress on the body, but you can decrease it by consuming the right foods and supplements. Take matters into your own hands with a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet plan.
About the author:
Mia Barnes is a health and wellness writer with a passion for nutrition and mindful eating. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body + Mind Magazine, an online healthy living publication. When not writing, you can find Mia reading mystery novels or practicing yoga