By Kelly Springer RD, MS, CDN, Kelly’s Choice CEO
Did you know that inflammation causes almost every chronic health condition? I’m talking heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune conditions, asthma, and even depression. The good news is that anti-inflammatory foods can help you to reduce your risk of inflammation, making it less likely to develop chronic health diseases and it can also help to ease the symptoms of those who have chronic health ailments.
Here are my favorite 5 anti-inflammatory food choices:
1. Water and Green Tea
In order to help right inflammation, you must keep hydrated. I have had hundreds of clients who have complained about constant headaches. Once they start drinking at least half their body weight in ounces of water (for example, a 170-pound person would need 85 ounces of water), almost every one of them no longer has headaches.
Lack of water can also cause joint pain. There is also a gel-like fluid called synovial fluid which keeps the cartilage around your joints lubricated. Water is the main component of synovial fluid, If you have joint pain, it may be because your cartilage isn’t as spongy due to a lack of water
If you get tired of drinking water, I suggest trying out some green tea — not the sugary iced tea you may find at gas stations. It needs to be unsweetened (but it does come in a variety of flavors). Green tea has antioxidants called catechins that help inflammation — in fact, several studies have shown that green tea is one of the most powerful tools to fight inflammation.
2. Hammons Black Walnuts
Hammons Black Walnuts are high in omega-9 fatty acids, and oleic acid. Oleic acid helps to regulate and synthesize antioxidant enzymes in your body’s cells! These versatile Black Walnuts can be used in any of your meals. Toss them in your oatmeal. Add them to a salad. Sautee them with chicken or shrimp. A delicious way to prevent or fight inflammation.
3. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish are an excellent source of the Omega-3 Fatty Acids known as DHA and EPA. These Omega-3s are metabolized in your body to compounds called resolvins and protectins, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. The best types of fish to consume include salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna
4. A Colorful Array of Vegetables
Mom was right when she told you to eat your vegetables! They help fight inflammation. Choose vibrant vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and broccoli. Each color represents a different antioxidant. All antioxidants fight inflammation. Challenge yourself to get at least three different colors of vegetables in your diet every day.
5. Berries and Tart Cherries
All fruits can help fight inflammation because they all have antioxidants, but there has been more research supporting the anti-inflammatory effects of berries and tart cherries than any other fruit
Tart cherries are delicious and rich in antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and catechins, which decrease inflammation. A recent study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, found that adults who drank 16 ounces of tart cherry juice daily for 12 weeks, had a significantly lower level of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker.
Berries may be small, but they are jam-packed with antioxidants! I love that there are so many choices with different flavors. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries are the most common. Like tart cherries, berries have anthocyanins. Several studies have demonstrated the powerful effects of berries on reducing inflammation, such as a 2018 study that concluded that strawberry consumption improves blood lipid profiles, decreasing the risk of heart disease
Incorporating these 5 must have anti-inflammatory foods into your diet can be a game-changer for your overall health. From staying hydrated with water and green tea to savoring the delicious versatility of Hammons Black Walnuts and indulging in the Omega-3 goodness of fatty fish, vibrant vegetables, and antioxidant-rich berries and tart cherries, you’re not just enjoying scrumptious flavors; you’re actively reducing your risk of inflammation-related chronic diseases and promoting your well-being.