Calm the Fire Within: Foods that Fight Inflammation

One word I want every patient to know is – INFLAMMATION!  The more we learn, we recognize that inflammation is the root of some of the most chronic diseases. Need proof? The Department of Health and Human Services and the American Heart Association both show that chronic inflammation is linked to diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, fibromyalgia, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Those are serious diseases coming from one seemingly small issue. So, what exactly is this dangerous type of inflammation and what do we do about it? 

In simple terms, inflammation is your body’s response to real or perceived threats. When my children get splinters I notice the area around it is a little red and puffy. This is a normal, healthy inflammatory response that all of our bodies make. However, what happens when our body perceives too many of these threats and inflammation becomes chronic? It leads to a host of other health problems, oftentimes leaving those with chronic inflammation feeling ill but unaware of the cause. 

As many of my patients know, I believe food is the ultimate healing power. So load up on these healthy foods that possess anti-inflammatory properties and reduce your risk of disease now.

  1. Olive oil: The ingredient oleocanthal is a major inflammation buster
  2. Fish: Omega-3’s are not only great for your skin, but are especially effective at reducing swelling!
  3. Papaya: This yummy tropical fruit contains protein-digesting enzymes papain and chymopapain, which help reduce inflammation.
  4. Spices: While adding some flavor to your dishes, spices such as ginger, curry, black cumin, clove, and cinnamon help avoid inflammatory agents.
  5. Avocados: Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat more of this delicious superfood? Avocados are the holy grail of anti-inflammatory nutrients, containing lutein, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  6. Turmeric: The active ingredient, curcumin, has excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.