Research has found that inflammation is the root cause of many chronic illnesses, and preventing inflammation is absolutely paramount in living the healthy lives we all desire. Inflammation itself is one of the human body’s defensive responses, but when it becomes chronic, it can be devastating. Inflammation is how the body tries to heal after an injury, repair damaged tissue and muscle, as well as, fight foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses. This type of inflammation is called acute inflammation, as it usually only lasts for a few days. Acute inflammation is actually meant to help the body heal and recover.
Chronic inflammation develops over time due to the body’s continual fight against harmful substances. In some cases, the body’s immune system begins attacking healthy cells instead of the harmful ones, leading to an increased inflammatory response. Either way, chronic inflammation is not only harmful, it can be deadly. Science has now connected chronic inflammation to the development of some of the world’s deadliest diseases – cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and digestive disease.
What some may not know is that long-term uncontrolled high blood sugar causes inflammation throughout the body. Diabetics needs to be especially mindful in the prevention of chronic inflammation. The great news is – you can fight inflammation (and even help to lower your blood sugar) through the foods you eat! Here are some top inflammation-fighting foods and delicious ways in which to enjoy them:
Do you have scarring childhood memories of your mom or grandma forcing you to eat beets (not to mention liver and onions!) Well don’t be afraid, there is hope; beets can be delicious and their brain-healthy benefits make them worth another try. They are high in antioxidants and help to reduce inflammation. Beets also improve blood flow and can help increase energy levels. Try them roasted with a little raw honey and balsamic vinegar, or in this Food Network salad with goat cheese and arugula.
Another treasured childhood favorite. Just admit, it’s starting to sound like your mom had the right idea with that whole “Just eat it, it’s good for you” thing. Broccoli’s vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate help to improve memory, and its high fiber content stabilizes blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Forget limp broccoli blanketed with “cheese”; broccoli is at its best when added to recipes like Mama Lisa’s Coleslaw. Just shred raw broccoli stalks and mix in, or buy a bag of “broccoli slaw” from your local grocery and follow the recipe from there.
Sweet, juicy blueberries are great for brain health due to their off-the-charts antioxidant content. Their high levels of Vitamin C and fiber also make blueberries natural stress relievers for the brain. Enjoy blueberries in a conventional fruit smoothie, or mixed with full fat yogurt.
Who would have thought that a vegetable so low in calories could pack such a nutritious punch. The high levels of antioxidants and polysaccharides in celery alleviate inflammation symptoms like joint pain and irritable bowel syndrome. Some of the most important inflammation reduction happens in the brain. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, even water – all of these are available to you simply by eating a stalk of celery. Try a childhood favorite “Ants on a Log” – a stalk of celery smeared with peanut butter and with a few raisins stuck inside.
Leafy, Green Vegetables
Research has shown that eating veggies like romaine lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard on a regular basis can help reduce inflammation. The major benefits are due to vitamins A and K. If a bowl of raw kale doesn’t sound like your thing, check out these 10 kale recipes that actually taste good.
The high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in walnuts reduce inflammation, improve focus, and provide a boost of energy. The vitamin E found in walnuts has also been shown to decrease risk for Alzheimer’s dementia. Enjoy a handful of walnuts as an afternoon snack, or add walnut butter to your favorite cookie recipe.
Reducing inflammation can be easy and delicious! When it comes to the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, conquering inflammation is the foundation of it all. For those who struggle with high blood sugar, preventing inflammation is even more crucial. Speak with your physician about inflammation and its harmful effects. Then fill your plate with tasty, anti-inflammatory foods and start living your best health!