Foods That Reduce Inflammation
By Paul Rothbart
Inflammation in the body does serve a purpose. It is part of the way the immune system functions. For example, a sprained ankle will swell. This signals the body to repair the damaged tissue. However chronic inflammation can cause excessive weight gain and illness. Factors such as poor sleep, a high level of stress, and genetics can cause chronic inflammation. One of the biggest culprits is a poor diet.
Things like fried foods, refined sugar and flour, and artificial additives are notorious for causing harmful inflammation. A diet based on these types of food is sure to pack on the pounds and cause health issues. You can fight inflammation by eating well. Here are some foods that will contribute to the battle against inflammation.
Berries in general are excellent anti-inflammatory foods. The journal Antioxidants published a study that showed that eating berries significantly reduces inflammation. Berries contain a class of antioxidants called flavonoids that shut down inflammatory and immune genes. The most effective of the flavonoids are the anthocyanins, which blueberries are loaded with. Blueberries also have a high content of Vitamin C and resveratrol, both of which fight free radicals that can cause inflammation.
Raw oats belong to a category of carbs known as resistant starches. This means they pass the gut without being digested. While this may seem to make them useless to good health, that is not the case. The oats feed the good bacteria in the gut. The bacteria then produce a fatty acid called butyrate that causes fat to oxidate more efficiently. This means less inflammation and less weight gain. A nice feature of raw oats is that you can mix them with other healthy foods for a tasty snack. They go particularly well with berries, and we know what they do for inflammation.
Ginger is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine as well as the primary flavor in ginger ale and gingerbread. It is also a very healthy food. Ginger has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial capabilities. Researchers have found that this is due to the presence of compounds called gingerols. A study conducted at the University of Arizona using rats with experimental rheumatoid arthritis found that giving the subjects a crude ginger extract inhibited inflammation and swelling in the joints.
Although useful in healing, chronic inflammation can be detrimental to health and weight control. One of the best ways to reduce inflammation is a healthy diet. These foods are good choices for keeping inflammation in check.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Athens, Ga.