Top foods that help fight inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a cause of many health problems and, in my experience, regular cryotherapy sessions can help fight it. But solving the health equation is never a one-step solution. As you know, what you eat and drink is a large component of what can keep our bodies functioning optimally.

Here I’ve compiled (from various nutrition guides) the best foods to help fight inflammation. Fortunately, these are not just health foods in general and but also happen to be tasty too (in my opinion):

  • Blueberries: There’s a reason that blueberries always turn up on the healthiest food lists. They are packed with flavonoids and vitamin C and can easily be added to your morning smoothie. Blueberries are low in sugar, so there’s really no excuse.
  • Wild salmon: Sure, wild salmon can be pricey, but don’t skimp here. A little bit goes a long way and the healthy fat and Omega 3s make this the ideal anti-inflammatory food. According to the website EatThis.com: “Wild salmon provides you with both EPA* and DHA[FM1] **. And unlike plant omega-3s, these two fatty acids are already in an active form, meaning they'll more efficiently attack excess inflammation through the increase in adiponectin—a hormone that enhances your muscles' ability to use carbs for energy, boosts metabolism, and burns fat—which ultimately decrease inflammation markers.”
  • Green tea: We’re not suggesting that you have to give up your coffee, but green tea can be added to your daily routine. If you crave the fuller flavor of coffee, try matcha, a leaf-based green tea that is very hearty. Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, a strong anti-inflammatory catechin.
  • Red bell peppers: Add red peppers raw to your salads for a crunch and enjoy the benefits of vitamin C and the bioflavonoids beta-carotene, quercetin, and luteolin for a super powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Tumeric: This bright orange root has a variety of healthful attributes, but it’s particularly known for shutting off production of two pro-inflammatory enzymes, COX-2, and 5-LOX.
  • Beets: Beets contain betalain pigments, which have proven antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemo-preventive properties. 
  • Broccoli: This vegetable has high glucosinolate levels, which can reduce inflammation when converted to I3C, a compound found to combat inflammatory mediators on a genetic level. 
  • Ginger: This flavorful ingredient contains compounds that block several genes and enzymes in the body that promote inflammation.
  • Dark chocolate: Just make sure the cocoa levels are 85% or higher and a small bite of this decadent treat can be incorporated into a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.
  • Nuts: This snack is a handy source of an anti-inflammatory omega-3 known as ALA***. Great for on-the-go protein too, of course.

* Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) that acts as a precursor for prostaglandin-3 (which inhibits platelet aggregation), thromboxane-3, and leukotriene-5 eicosanoids. It is obtained in the human diet by eating oily fish or fish oil,e.g. cod liver, herring, mackerel, salmon, menhaden and sardine, and various types of edible seaweed and phytoplankton. ·       

** Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina. It can be synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid or obtained directly from maternal milk (breast milk), fish oil, or algae oil.

*** O-Linolenic acid (ALA) is an n−3 fatty acid. It is one of two essential fatty acids (the other being linoleic acid), so called because they are necessary for health and cannot be produced within the human body. They must be acquired through diet. ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid found in seeds (chia, flaxseed, hemp, see also table below), nuts (notably walnuts), and many common vegetable oils.

Kathy Butters