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7 Foods That Fight Inflammation


Did you know that inflammation is often a direct reaction to your body’s immune response? In fact, without inflammation, we can’t heal. But, when inflammation is out of control, such as the case with rheumatoid arthritis, it actually damages the body.


Inflammation also plays a role in obesity, heart disease, and cancer, and is caused by foods high in sugar and saturated fat. According to Scott Zashin, MD and professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “These substances cause overactivity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.”


Today we are going to take a look at seven foods that fight inflammation. When planning your regular diet, incorporate as many of these foods as possible. (And remember to restrict the amount of sugar and saturated fat on a daily basis.)


Add these seven foods to your regular diet:


  1. Whole grains: Ditch the white bread, pasta, cereal and grains. Whole grains contain more fiber, which reduces a protein in the blood responsible for inflammation. Look for foods that list whole grains first in the ingredients and have no added sugars.


  1. Fish: Oily fish (like salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna) are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation. To get the maximum benefits, you need to eat fish several times a week, and it should be cooked in healthy ways, such as baked or boiled. If you are not a fan of fish, you can take fish-oil supplements.


  1. Dark, leafy greens: Studies continue to show that Vitamin E may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines. This vitamin is abundant in dark, green veggies–such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens.


  1. Nuts: All nuts are packed with antioxidants, which can help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation. Nuts (along with fish, leafy greens, and whole grains) are a big part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in as little as six weeks.


  1. Beets: The brilliant red color of the beet is an indicator of its brilliant antioxidant properties. Beets and beetroot juice have been shown to reduce inflammation, as well as protect against cancer and heart disease.


  1. Ginger and turmeric: These spices are common in Asian and Indian cooking. Turmeric, the ingredient that gives curry its yellow color, works in the body by helping to turn off a NF-kappa B, a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers the process of inflammation. Its relative ginger, meanwhile, has been shown to reduce inflammation in the intestines when taken in supplement form.


  1. Berries: All fruits can help fight inflammation, because they’re low in fat and calories and high in antioxidants. But berries have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties—possibly because of anthocyanins, the powerful chemicals that gives them their rich color.

As you sit down to plan your menu and shopping list this week, use this guide as a handy reference. Your body will thank you for it!

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