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Fight Inflammation With These Caribbean Foods

By Paul Rothbart

When the body is healing an injury or fighting an infection, inflammation is a natural part of the process. Chronic inflammation is a different matter altogether. In addition to the discomfort and pain it can cause, it's been linked to several diseases such as insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Fortunately, there are ways to fight inflammation that are completely natural. There are many foods that can help. As it turns out, ingredients commonly used in Caribbean cuisine are very good at fighting inflation. Take a culinary trip to the islands.

Pimento Peppers

As members of the pepper family, pimentos contain capsaicin, the substance that makes peppers spicy. In addition to providing bold flavor, capsaicin has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Studies involving rats and mice have found that capsaicin reduced inflammation of obese animals as well as repaired damaged cells in the gut. Pimento peppers also contain a number of antioxidants including quercetin, carotenoids, capsaicinoids, and alkaloids. These compounds also fight inflammation.

Dark Chocolate and Cocoa

Some of the best cocoa in the world comes from the Caribbean. Cocoa and dark chocolate are delicious but you may not think of them as healthy. Cocoa contains flavonoids. These are powerful antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, promote blood vessel health, and fight heart disease. They have also helped recovery from exercise and improved performance. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa than other types of chocolate and is, therefore, a healthier, although more bitter snack. Having one piece a day can be very good for your health.

Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is sweet and tropical and is used in many Caribbean dishes. For many years, it has also been used as an herbal medicine to treat convulsive disorders as well as anxiety. There is scientific proof of its medicinal capabilities. Passion fruit contains flavonoids, triterpenoids, and piceatannol. These are antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Research has found that piceatannol improved the heart rate, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity of overweight, male test subjects.

Red Sorrel

Red sorrel, which is sometimes called roselle, is another ingredient that has a long history as an herbal medicine. It contains polyphenols and anthocyanins, antioxidants that have been shown to reduce inflammation. Research involving both animals and humans discovered that red sorrel may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance. It also may help weight loss and cancer prevention.

Chronic inflammation is a condition that can lead to many diseases. There are ways to fight it with your diet. Try adding some Caribbean cuisine to your meal plans. Many of its ingredients can help fight inflammation and prevent disease.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Orange Park, Fla.

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