Chronic inflammation is the source of many, if not most, diseases, including cancer, obesity, and heart disease, making it virtually the leading cause of death in France and around the world. While inflammation is a perfectly normal and beneficial process that occurs when your white blood cells and body chemicals protect you from invaders such as bacteria and viruses, it causes problems when it spirals out of control. Your diet has a lot to do with this chain of events.
Many foods are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and making sure you eat a wide variety of them regularly can go a long way in preventing certain chronic diseases.
The Seven Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods
The following foods deserve special mention for their ability to inhibit your body’s anti-inflammatory response:
Animal-based omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon and fish or krill oil help fight inflammation throughout the body. They are especially important for brain health.
Dark leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens and chard contain powerful antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C that all help protect you from cell damage. Ideally, choose organic green vegetables grown locally, in season, and remember to eat a good part of them raw. Juices are a great way to include more green vegetables in your diet.
Blueberries have a very powerful antioxidant power compared to other fruits and vegetables. They also contain less sugar than many other fruits.
Matcha tea is the most nutrient-dense green tea and comes as an unfermented, stone-ground powder. The best matcha tea comes from Japan and has up to 17 times more antioxidants than wild blueberries, and seven times more than dark chocolate.
Tulsi tea is another tea rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants and other micronutrients that support immune function and heart health.
Optimizing your gut flora is important for the proper functioning of your immune system, and it also helps ward off chronic inflammation. In fact, the majority of inflammatory diseases start in the intestines, consequences of an imbalanced microbiome. Fermented foods such as kefir, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, olives and other fermented vegetables will help ‘reseed’ your gut with beneficial bacteria.
Fermented vegetables can also help your body rid itself of harmful toxins such as heavy metals and pesticides that promote inflammation.
Shiitake mushrooms contain powerful compounds, such as ergothioneine, with the natural ability to deter inflammation, which inhibits oxidative stress. They also contain many unique nutrients that many people do not get in sufficient amounts from their diet. One of them is copper, which is one of the few metallic elements, along with amino acids and fatty acids, which are essential for health. Since your body cannot synthesize copper, you need to supply it regularly from your diet. Copper deficiency can be a factor in the development of coronary heart disease.
Garlic has been valued for centuries for its medicinal properties. It is also one of the most researched plant foods. More than 170 studies have demonstrated its beneficial effects in more than 150 diseases. Garlic exerts its benefits on different levels, exhibiting antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties.
It is believed that most of garlic’s therapeutic effects come from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Research has found that when allicin is digested by the body, it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts to dangerous free radicals faster than any other known compound.