6 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods
SAD: The Standard American Diet is characterized by inflammation-inducing foods. This includes things such as fried foods, refined flours and sugars, hormone- and antibiotic-laden animal products, synthetic sweeteners, and artificial food additives. These categories of food will bring the human body to a state of chronic inflammation. This inflammatory, high-calorie diet leads to fat around the belly, reduces our levels of gut-healthy probiotics, promote weight gain, causes arthritis (inflammation of the joints), bloating, and fatigue, and has been connected with a host of diseases, from diabetes and obesity to heart disease and cancer. This produces biochemicals, collectively known as adipokines, include many pro-inflammatory chemicals that will continue to worsen inflammation.
Researchers show that including in certain foods into your diet may be what is needed to counteract the effects of inflammation-perpetuated weight gain. “These healing foods attack inflammation by increasing the concentration of beneficial bacteria in your gut, turning off inflammatory genes, and decreasing levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers—many of which will torch fat in the process.” Adding the items on this list to your diet can lead to a happier and leaner body!
Why? (Journal of Nutrition) Berries contain a class of antioxidants called flavonoids, but it’s the anthocyanins, specifically, that contribute their anti-inflammatory effects by effectively turning off inflammatory and immune genes. And when it comes to anthocyanins, blueberries are king. Blueberries are also rich in vitamin C and another polyphenol, resveratrol, which have both been found to promote anti-inflammatory responses through decreasing inflammatory free radicals.
2. Raw Oats
Why? Raw oats are a resistant starch, a type of carb that passes through your gut undigested. Instead of feeding you, it feeds your healthy gut bacteria, which in turn produce a fatty acid that encourages more efficient fat oxidation known as butyrate. Higher levels of butyrate reduce inflammation in your body and help reduce insulin resistance as well. Less inflammation means less bloating and a slimmer you.
Why? Researchers attribute ginger’s health benefits to gingerols, compounds that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-disease. According to numerous studies, these compounds block several genes and enzymes in the body that promote inflammation. When University of Arizona researchers gave rats with experimental rheumatoid arthritis a crude ginger extract, which included the essential oils and other compounds found only in the root itself, it was able to inhibit joint swelling and inflammation. Fresh ginger is richest in gingerol, so grate up the root, throw it in a mesh bag, steep, and sip on ginger tea.
4. Green Tea
Why? These benefits stem from catechins, the group of antioxidants concentrated in the leaves of tea plants. And the most powerful of all catechins, a compound called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is found almost exclusively in green tea. Scientific studies, like one in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, suggest that the high EGCG and polyphenol content in green tea make it a stronger anti-inflammatory elixir than other teas like black tea. These anti-inflammatory properties have also been implicated in preventing the development and growth of skin tumors.
Why? A study at Louisiana State University found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate into heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory compounds that shut down genes linked to insulin resistance and inflammation. To enhance the effects, try pairing your chocolate with some apple slices: The fruit speeds up the probiotic fermentation process, leading to an even greater reduction in inflammation and weight. Look for cacao content of 70 percent or above because these contain the highest amounts of antioxidants.
5. Dark Chocolate
6. Red Peppers
Why? Peppers are an anti-inflammatory superfood—but go red to reap the most benefits. Out of the three colors of bell pepper, red have the highest amount of inflammatory-biomarker-reducing vitamin C along with the bioflavonoids beta-carotene, quercetin, and luteolin, according to research in the Journal of Food Science. Luteolin has been found to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. And allergy research has shown that quercetin acts as a mast-cell stabilizer, which decreases the number of cells reacting to an allergen. Mast cells are responsible for releasing histamine during inflammatory and allergic reactions.
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