Believe it or not, there could be one culprit behind body ailments as varied as skin blemishes, digestive issues, joint pain and even heart disease. The common denominator? Inflammation. It's a problem that can actually spread from one part of your body to another. Case in point: the well-researched connection between gum disease and heart disease. The good news is that one trip to the grocery store can produce a haul of healthy, anti-inflammatory whole foods. Pretty empowering to know that we can temper our body's inflammation simply by reaching for the right snack, right? Here's a shopping list-starter: 10 healing, antioxidant-packed foods.
Cooked tomatoes are even higher in the antioxidant, lycopene, than raw ones, and lycopene is associated with reduced levels of inflammation in several areas of the body including the skin and lungs.
Studies have suggested that isoflavones, which are compounds found in soy, such as edamame, may help to reduce the C-reactive protein levels (and thereby reduce inflammation).
This spice, a natural anti-inflammatory agent, works well on colorful vegetables, which are also loaded with antioxidants.
This tropical fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has been linked to decreasing inflammation particularly in the sinuses and joints. As an added bonus, it's also rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
Consuming salmon and other cold-water fatty fish at least 2-3 times per week can increase the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in the diet. This is important as studies have shown that eating a high-omega-6 diet and low-omega-3 diet is linked with higher levels of cytokines, which are proteins released by cells that can trigger inflammation.
News alert: these seeds are the highest natural source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that has been associated with helping to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body.
The fiber in oatmeal and other whole grain foods is associated with reduced levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, which is a marker of inflammation. Interestingly enough, when used topically (think oatmeal bath), it's also anti-inflammatory skin soother.
Tart Cherry Juice
According to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, tart cherries may have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food. Studies have shown that athletes who drank tart cherry juice saw an improved performance while decreasing their use of anti-inflammatory meds. To reap the benefits, make sure that the juice is 100% tart cherry juice and not a blend of some kind, and aim to drink 1 cup per day.
Low-fat yogurt that contains active live cultures is a great source of probiotics, which can help reduce inflammation, specifically in the digestive system