What Foods are Good to Decrease Inflammation?
Inflammation can be good and bad, right? Good because the body can defend itself from injuries and infection, but bad because with too much inflammation we put ourselves at risk for disease and chronic inflammation which can lead to weight gain and disease. Yuck!
Here are some examples of foods that have been linked to increased levels of inflammation: (not to make you feel bad, just to help you be aware!)
- JUNK FOODS: fast food, convenience meals, potato chips, pretzels
- REFINED CARBOHYDRATES: white bread, pasta, white rice, crackers, flour tortillas, biscuits
- FRIED FOODS: french fries, donuts, fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, egg rolls
- SUGARY DRINKS: soda, sweet tea, energy drinks, sports drinks
- PROCESSED MEATS: bacon, beef jerky, canned meat, salami, hot dogs, smoked meat
- TRANS FATS: shortening, hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine
Foods Proven to be Anti-inflammatory!
Here are 13 easy to find and tasty anti-inflammatory foods! Try incorporating a few of these foods into your diet to help lower your inflammation.
- Berries: Berries provide antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These compounds may reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Omega-rich Fish: salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies are great examples! Fatty fish boast high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is one of the best sources of sulforaphane, an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
- Avocados: Avocados offer various beneficial compounds that protect against inflammation and may reduce your cancer risk.
- Green Tea: Green tea has a high EGCG content that reduces inflammation and safeguards your cells from damage that can lead to disease.
- Peppers: Chili peppers and bell peppers are rich in quercetin, sinapic acid, ferulic acid, and other antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory effects.
- Mushrooms: Some edible mushrooms have compounds that may decrease inflammation. Eating them raw or lightly cooked may help you reap their full anti-inflammatory potential.
- Grapes: Several plant compounds in grapes, such as resveratrol, can reduce inflammation. They may also reduce your risk of several diseases.
- Turmeric: Turmeric contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Eating black pepper with turmeric can significantly enhance the absorption of curcumin.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: EVOO provides powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, which may reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other serious health conditions.
- Dark Chocolate & Cocoa: Flavanols in dark chocolate and cocoa can reduce inflammation. They may also reduce your risk of several diseases.
- Cherries: Sweet and tart cherries contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation and your risk of disease.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which may reduce inflammation and protect against cancer.
Even low levels of inflammation on a chronic basis can lead to disease. If you feel overwhelmed by all the things you “should” be eating, just take baby steps. Include an inflammatory food into your meal once a day, and then increase it to two, then 3, etc. It doesn’t have to be hard to taste yucky. Juicing, blending and broiling are a tasty way to get the good stuff down!
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