When we look at the diseases that plague our society — arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — we see that long-term lifestyle changes are needed. What might not be as obvious is the common denominator tied to all of them and more: inflammation is at the root of most diseases.
By addressing the inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods, not only can the symptoms of these diseases be alleviated, but we could even see them cured.
Despite the connection between inflammation and prevalent diseases, as well as the connection between diet and inflammation that we’ll explore, diet isn’t always analyzed in response to inflammation. Patients who consumed anti-inflammatory foods found enough relief that they were able to discontinue at least one of their medications.
Standard American diets (appropriately called SAD) are never touted as exemplary, but when talking about inflammation, it becomes vitally important to rethink our typical diets. An over abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, heard disease and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.
To move toward an anti-inflammatory diet and anti-inflammatory foods, we primarily move away from the abundance of overly processed, unbalanced diets of the West and toward the ancient eating patterns of the Mediterranean. A Mediterranean diet comprises plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, little to no red meat, certainly no chemicals or meat additives, and an abundance of omega-3 foods.
As we look into the anti-inflammatory components of certain foods and herbs, we can see how this kind of diet is linked with lowered inflammation. Among the many compounds found in fresh produce, a few general categories stand out as beneficial when attacking inflammation and inflammatory diseases at their source.
- Antioxidant foods
- Essential fatty acids
There’s little doubt that the pursuit of a healing diet begins with a menu high in vegetables, fruits, wild meats and sprouted seeds rich with omega-3 benefits. The evidence is clear that such anti-inflammatory foods can regulate the immune system and impact the way inflammation affects our bodies and our lives.
Small, gradual changes are typically more sustainable, easier for the body to adapt to and can make you less likely to go back to your old ways. So rather than emptying your pantry and sailing off to the Mediterranean, you can pursue an anti-inflammatory diet one step at a time.
Let’s take a look at the 15 of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet this week:
- Green Leafy Vegetables
- Bok Choy
- Bone broth
- Coconut oil
- Chia seeds