Whether you have chronic pain from arthritis or a joint injury, inflammation is painful and can make performing daily tasks hard.
Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” And he knew what he was talking about! What we eat has a dramatic impact on our health and how we feel.
Last month, we posted this blog that shares 5 inflammatory-causing foods to avoid. This month, we’re highlighting 6 power foods that reduce inflammation in the body and help you feel better.
Eat More Of These 6 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies are incredibly rich in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which are powerful at reducing inflammation. They can also reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, the Omega-3 found in these fish interfere with immune cells called leukocytes and enzymes known as cytokines, both of which trigger an inflammation response in the body.
Eating a 3 to 6 ounce serving of these fish 2 to 4 times per week can go a long way toward reducing inflammation and keeping your heart healthy. To vary it up, try different recipes. One night, try this Asian Salmon with coriander, ginger, and honey. Another night, try this Lemon Pepper Turmeric Salmon. There are so many ways to make fish interesting and delicious!
2. Berries & Cherries
Berries pack a powerful antioxidant punch! Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that help your body lower inflammation levels. And cherries (especially the more tart ones) are rich in anthocyanins, a phytonutrient that is great at fighting pain and inflammation.
Work a handful of berries and cherries into your diet each day by getting creative. Add them to granola, oatmeal, acai bowls, or smoothies for a healthy jump start to your morning, or keep them on hand as an afternoon snack. Check out this smoothie bowl recipe for an easy morning routine.
Avocados (and avocado oil) increase the absorption of healthy antioxidants called carotenoids. These are powerful at fighting inflammation, protecting your body from free radical damage, and building up your immune system.
Try sliced avocados in a salad or atop a black bean and quinoa bowl. Or, mash one up with a little lemon juice and black pepper for a delicious avo toast spread. They also make a creamy and delicious smoothie base! For an extra anti-inflammatory boost, add ginger, turmeric, and coconut milk. You’ll find a great avocado smoothie recipe here!
4. Fresh, Organic Vegetables
When you’re fighting inflammation, it’s best to avoid processed and pre-packaged foods. Instead, head to your nearest farmers market!
Cruciferous veggies are packed with beneficial nutrients that fight inflammation. To get these benefits, add more broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy into your diet. And dark, leafy greens are your best friend, so be sure to load up on the kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and spinach.
5. Healthy Nuts
While peanuts can actually contribute to inflammation, other nuts are healing champions. Opt for a handful a day of raw walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds, all of which contain healthy fats that reduce inflammation and give you a protein boost. Raw walnuts, in particular, are incredibly rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
To work them into your diet, grab a handful as a snack, or use them to top off a fresh salad, oatmeal or veggie bowl.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Unlike white potatoes that cause inflammation, sweet potatoes are a highly beneficial food. They are high in vitamins C and E and contain the carotenoids alpha and beta carotene, both of which reduce inflammation. They’re also rich in potassium, calcium, and other healthy nutrients.
And while their name may suggest they are too sweet to be healthy, they are actually ranked low on the glycemic index–much less than their white potato counterparts.
You can eat them steamed, boiled and mashed or baked, giving you plenty of options to work with. I personally love this recipe for baked sweet potatoes with avocado, kale, and onions.
Cheers to healthy, delicious eating… and to overcoming inflammation!