What is Chronic Inflammation?
Inflammation is a hero and silent killer.
More so than Dexter.
Short-lived, the immunological defense mechanism is heroic and defends your body against life-threatening viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Acute inflammation also accelerates healing after you sustain an injury, from breaking a nail to twisting your ankle in yoga class.
Normally, the immune response “turns on” when a microbial threat or physical injury is detected, lasts hours or days and then “turns off” once the inflammatory trigger is resolved.
Sometimes the immune response doesn’t “turn off” on cue, forcing your body to attack itself.
Chronic Inflammation lasts several months or years after the inflammatory trigger is resolved, simultaneously activating biological pathways directly linked to countless diseases.
Recent research agrees, chronic inflammation is the unifying factor of the top 5 killer diseases and the probable root of most diseases.
The solution seems simple then: Get rid of inflammation and prevent disease.
Unsurprisingly, it’s not that simple. Cultural everyday habits spark and spread inflammation faster than a wildfire.
FYI: You Increase Your Chances of Chronic Inflammation with These 5 Habits:
- Poor diet
- Not exercising
- Sitting for 6+ hours at work
- Sleeping less than 8 hours a night
- Not doing work you are passionate about
3 Ways Chronic Inflammation is Keeping You Fat
Do I have your attention now?
What are some signs of growing inflammation?
- You’re overweight or swollen
- You feel depressed or tired most days
- You’re suffering skin issues
- You get frequent migraines
- You’re bloated and have belly fat
15 Anti-Inflammatory Super Foods to Fight Off Chronic Inflammation
1 – PUMPKIN
It’s October, so naturally you’re surrounded by everything “pumpkin.”
From lattes to pie and late-night reruns of Hocus Pocus, the month of October is a sweet reminder that fall and “sweater weather” have arrived.
And one thing is for sure.
Of all seasons, fall prides the orange fruit. Yes, pumpkin is a fruit and not a vegetable.
Unfortunately, lots of fall sweets require ungodly amounts of sugar, and will indefinitely aggravate your chronic inflammation.
But there’s good news lovers of fall… Pumpkins are a tasty anti-inflammatory superfood.
The properties of which come specifically from the seeds, which contain antioxidants that fight inflammation.
3 Fall Pumpkin Recipe Ideas:
- Pumpkin hummus (YUM!)
- Pumpkin soup
- Pumpkin oats (and oatmeal)
BTW you can reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of pumpkin seeds all year long with a pumpkin seed oil oral supplement.
2 – COCOA
Chocolate lovers, unite.
When dark chocolate hits your digestive system, the “good” bacteria in your gut transforms several antioxidants from cocoa into anti-inflammatory agents.
Naturally, these anti-inflammatory agents are absorbed into your body and decrease levels of inflammation in your heart.
And your risk of stroke and heart attack.
The bottom line: Cocoa is good for your heart.
3 Healthy Hacks to Eat More Dark Chocolate:
- Blend in smoothie
- Add some dark chocolate to your favorite nut butter (mine is almond butter)
- Drizzle it on top of your favorite cup of berries
3 – BERRIES
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
They are all tiny, colorful, delicious and jam-packed with properties that fight chronic inflammation and help prevent disease.
So much so that they are at the core of a concept called “fruitaceuiticals,” that emphasizes cancer prevention vs treatment.
Of all the berries, blackberries combat disease and inflammation with most potency.
Blackberries target unhealthy or pre-cancerous cells to grow more slowly and to thereby decrease inflammation levels and prove worthy in cancer prevention.
3 Ideas to Score More Berries in Your Diet:
- Sprinkle on top of a salad
- Berry smoothie
- Mix berries, granola and yogurt to make a homemade parfait
4 – SUNFLOWER SEEDS, ALMONDS AND NUTS
Sunflower seeds are an abundant source of Vitamin E.
And there’s no greater match against inflammation, than this antioxidant.
Biochemically, Vitamin E is an antioxidant chain, and has been proven to do wonders against dangerous levels of inflammation.
Various studies show that high doses of Vitamin E can alleviate inflammation that underlies specific diseases. From Type II diabetes, colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis…
Vitamin E decreases high levels of chronic inflammation by suppressing the production and release of cytokines, molecules responsible for activating the immune response.
Vitamin E is also proven effective in reducing colon inflammation and acts as an anti-carcinogen in the colon.
Nuts with High Vitamin E Concentration [per 100mg serving]:
- Sunflower seeds- 39mg
- Almonds – 26mg
- Hazelnuts – 16mg
- Peanuts – 9mg
The anti-inflammatory benefits of nuts don’t stop there. Butters and oils derived from the list above work just as effectively against chronic inflammation.
Oils and Butters with High Vitamin E Concentration [per 1 tablespoon]:
5 – COLD WATER FATTY FISH
Salmon and black cod are the go-to fish to fight inflammation.
Both of these fish have high concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids, which dampen inflammatory pathways.
If you aren’t a fan of fish, you can always opt for omega-3 supplements, but make sure you buy a high-quality one such as this one:
If you’re unsure of trendy ways to add black cod or salmon to your diet, check out the list below.
5 Trendy Ways to Eat Salmon, Trout, and Black Cod:
- Black Cod Quick and Easy Nobu Recipe
- Seared Trout with Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm: Delicious recipe HERE
- Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon
- Mango Glazed Salmon
- Salmon Burger
- Salmon Dip w/ Veggies
6 – AVOCADO
The facts are in.
People that eat the green fruit – commonly mistaken for a vegetable – have lower BMI and better quality diets than people who avoid it.
This green fruit is rich in Vitamin E, which further combats inflammation. Avocados are extremely effective in helping with inflammation related to athletic injuries.
Up your anti-inflammatory game by using avocado oil as well, which has even more benefits than olive oil.
You’ll probably have to go to Amazon to buy avocado oil, as it’s not widely available in supermarkets.
Top 3 Avocado Oils:
7 – HIGH FIBER FOODS, ESPECIALLY OATMEAL
All “high-fiber” foods are abundant in antioxidants that lower chronic levels of inflammation.
Fiber is critical in lowering chronic inflammation.
People that stick to a daily diet high in fiber live longer than those who don’t; antioxidants in high fiber foods reduce inflammatory markers otherwise present.
To put the icing on the cake, fiber boosts your digestive health. BTW ladies, you should be getting about 25g of fiber a day. At LEAST.
5 High Fiber Foods that Combat Inflammation [per 100g serving]:
- Oatmeal – 10.6g
- Artichoke – 8.6g
- Split Peas – 7.6g
- Beets – 2.8g
- Quinoa – 2.6g
FYI oatmeal is a great breakfast choice.
Make your oatmeal an antioxidant bowl of deliciousness by adding some cinnamon, honey or a handful of berries.
8 – EGGS
Ahh… the great egg debate.
Eggs help reduce other types of inflammation by assisting in the inhibition of one specific marker called C-reactive protein.
One study proved the power of eggs. The study divided a group of obese men, all of whom were placed on a low carb, high-fat diet. Half of the men in the study were allowed to eat three eggs a day, and the other half were not.
At the end of the 12-week study, the group of men that ate the eggs had significantly lower markers of inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory effects of eggs also have a lot to do with the type of eggs.
FYI, factory farm eggs are less nutritive and have up to 6 times less Vitamin D, 3 times less Vitamin E and 2 times less Omega-3’s than pastured eggs.
How to Choose the Healthiest Eggs:
- Omega-3 Labels
- DHA Labels
- Organic Labels
9 – RAW HONEY
Honey is more than nature’s best spread and natural sweetener.
It’s a sweet source of antioxidants, the properties of which come from the same compounds that make up its color.
From what research has been able to prove, the darker the honey, the higher its antioxidant concentration.
Specific antioxidants in honey are particularly effective in managing inflammation related to the colon.
When buying honey, make sure you buy organic raw honey, and it’s always the wiser option to buy local.
FYI, the best way to add those honey antioxidants in your diet is by the spoon.
But for your pleasure, here’s a list of sweet ideas to inspire you to add honey into your everyday diet.
Top 5 Ways to Add Honey into Your Everyday Diet:
- Making homemade granola with seeds, nuts and honey
- Putting a glaze on baked salmon or chicken
- Using it as a spread on a slice of whole grain bread
- Adding a few swirls into your morning cup of coffee or tea
- Drizzling on top of Greek yogurt, cereal or oatmeal
You can thank me later.
10 – YOGURT
Not all yogurts are created equal.
That said, the right yogurts are quick to hush the effects of inflammation, by improving your gut health.
When it comes to gut health, you have “good” and “bad” bacteria.
“Bad” bacteria in your gut produce toxins that can cross your intestinal lining, enter your bloodstream and trigger inflammation elsewhere.
Recent research shows that fermented yogurt decreases chronic inflammation by upping the defenses of the intestinal lining. That makes it harder for agents that trigger inflammation to cross over into your bloodstream.
One study found that eating 12 ounces of yogurt every day, for two months, led to decreased levels of inflammatory markers in obese and menopausal women.
So, which yogurts rank a la creme de la creme when it comes to health benefits?
Top 3 Yogurts to Boost Gut Health and Decrease Inflammation
- Icelandic Provisions, Vanilla Skyr
- Siggi’s 0% Strained Icelandic Style Yogurt, Plain
- Fage Total 2% Greek Yogurt Plain
11 – BEANS
Although nothing can replace coffee as the world’s favorite bean…
Black beans come in at a close second.
Because their anti-inflammatory effects lower CRP, a protein that causes and sustains inflammation.
Bring out the beans because to best fight inflammation, you should be having a cup of them two to three times a week.
Great bean choices are garganzo beans, red kidney beans and black beans.
FYI, a great anti-inflammatory treat is hummus, which is made with olive oil and garbanzo beans.
12 – GREEN TEA
The art and consumption of green tea has endured thousands of years.
Its medicinal value really comes as no surprise, as it has been noted since ancient times.
In the modern scientific community, green tea is revered for one specific polyphenol called ECGC. This compound helps your liver break down fats, which can promote weight loss.
ECGC triggers cancer cell death in women with breast cancer as well as reduces inflammation in men suffering from prostate cancer.
Green tea also proves preventative when it comes to heart health. One study noted that 3 cups of green tea daily can decrease heart attack risk by more than 10%.
13 – COFFEE
Coffee drinkers, raise your mugs!
Because statistically, you live longer than the non-coffee drinking zombies.
The world’s favorite bean contains polyphenols, which are tiny antioxidants with giant fighting power against deadly inflammatory diseases.
Several studies agree the coffee bean reduces inflammation.
Drinking coffee decreases your risk of inflammatory diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
What better way to start the day than to up your defenses against inflammation with a mug of coffee?
FYI, the quality of coffee bean and the roast you prefer matters.
Scientists have found that lighter beans have more anti-inflammatory benefits.
So, if you’re a fan of darker roasts, you may want to lighten up.
The theory is that concentrations of beneficial compounds, like polyphenols, are stripped in the roasting process. Don’t fret dark roast lovers.
There are medium and light roasts that are out of this world.
5 Medium and Light Roasts You Need to Try ASAP:
- Bulletproof Coffee- Medium Roast
- Amazon Fresh Coffee- Medium Roast
- Starbucks Veranda Blend – Light Blonde Roast
- Caribou Coffee- Light Roast
14 – CINNAMON
‘Tis the season of cinnamon, after all, the sweet spice is intertwined with Fall and Winter.
If you didn’t know, cinnamon comes from inside tree bark and like coffee, cinnamon is plentiful in polyphenols.
In fact, cinnamon has more antioxidants in it than almost any other spice. And its anti-inflammatory potency competes with any other superfood mentioned on this list.
Scientific studies even suggest cinnamon as a means of potential treatment for inflammatory diseases related to age, such as arthritis.
Before you rush to your spice cabinet, you should know that there are two types of cinnamon. The higher quality is called “Ceylon.”
Ceylon cinnamon is revered as the truest form of the spice.
Because most food markets only sell cheaper quality cinnamon, here are some cinnamon picks.
3 Top Quality Cinnamons:
FYI, one great cinnamon hack is to sprinkle some in your morning coffee.
P.S. You can also sprinkle some in some dark chocolate cocoa.
15 – OLIVE OIL
The beloved olive tree blessed us with its oil.
Olive oil is brimming with antioxidants that are powerful enough to inhibit genes that activate inflammation.
The “olive oil” antioxidant is called olecanthan and has anti-inflammatory effects that rival ibuprofen.
Oleic acid combats inflammation and is a primary compound abundant in extra-virgin olive oil. In one study, oleic acid significantly reduced one inflammatory protein market called CRP, in both men and women.
To get the purest form of olive oil, with the highest concentration of antioxidants, go the extra mile and buy Extra-Virgin and Certified Organic.
Although one bottle can run $30 plus, the purity is worth it.
3 Expert Olive Oil Choices:
- O-Live Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Zoe Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- La Tourangelle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The Bottom Line: Eat to Battle Chronic Inflammation
What you eat is a choice.
And it sets the stage to either promote or prevent disease.
If you have chronic signs of inflammation or have been diagnosed with an inflammatory disease, eat wisely to target and lower your inflammation.
Because there isn’t a risk and the reward is feeling better, promoting weight loss and preventing or helping to treat deadly diseases like heart disease and cancer.
After all, something as simple and natural as cinnamon or berries have less side effects than anti-inflammatory prescription drugs.
Head to the store and stock up on anti-inflammatory super foods.
Will today be the day you change your life?