For most of us, the word “inflammation” doesn’t conjure up the most pleasant of images, but inflammation can be an important part of the body’s healing process. It helps bring essential nutrients to areas that need them. When inflammation is chronic, however, it can lead to a long list of health problems, including: heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, dementia, and some types of cancers.
Thankfully, it’s possible to control and reduce chronic inflammation through the foods you eat. Increase your intake of the following five foods, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and you’ll reduce your risk of developing a large number of health problems.
Five Foods to Fight Inflammation
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Studies show that people who follow a strictly Mediterranean, rich in olive oil, have significantly fewer health concerns related to inflammation than those who do not. Doctors believe that this difference is due, in part, to a compound found in the oil called oleocanthol, which prevents the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes, giving it some of the same anti-inflammatory properties as ibuprofen. Try adding extra-virgin olive oil to your diet with these delicious recipes: Oregano Chicken and Orzo, Slow Cooker Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary, or Garden Salad with Lemon and Oil.
Learn more about how olive oil can be beneficial to your health here.
You’ve probably heard that avocados are high in fat. While this is true (about 85% of its calories come from fat), the fat found in avocados is a healthy type of fat that offers a number of health benefits. Avocados contain phytosterols, which are important supporters in keeping inflammation under control. Avocados have been shown to be particularly beneficial in helping to prevent arthritis. Boost your intake of anti-inflammatory avocados by topping a salad with avocado, or creating our Pea and Avocado Dip or Guacamole Verde.
Learn more about the power of avocados here.
Salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Diets rich in salmon can help prevent a number of inflammation-causing maladies, such as heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers. Be sure to try our Wild Salmon Vegetable Salad or Honey-Dijon Glazed Salmon.
Learn more about how salmon is good for your heart here.
Kelp contains fucoidan, a type of complex carbohydrate that can help keep inflammation in check. Several studies have even shown that kelp extract can control and fight liver and lung cancers. Be wary of some packaged seaweed snacks, however, as they are usually coated in unhealthy salts and oils. Celebrate sea vegetables with these healthy seaweed snacks.
Berries, particularly blueberries, contain the highest anti-oxidant levels of all fruits and vegetables, but berries help control inflammation, too! They’re packed full of inflammation-reducing phytonutrients and have been shown to support whole-body health and even offer cognitive benefits. Try our Skinny Berry Parfait.
Learn about the health benefits of blueberries here.