There's truth to the adage “you are what you eat.” It's especially relevant when managing inflammation and reducing swelling in your joints. While some foods can make things worse, there are plenty of tasty anti-inflammatory foods that can ease swollen joints, finger pain, and even symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.So, Is inflammation good or bad? Both! Acute inflammation is a necessary part of healing; it sends white blood cells to the scene when we’re injured or ill. Chronic inflammation, however, is unhealthy; it can cause problems
in almost every organ in the body and is thought to be a root cause of many chronic conditions from diabetes and arthritis to hay fever, hashimotos, fibromyalgia and heart disease.
Even more, chronic inflammation can make it difficult to lose weight, interfere with your sleep, and cause issues with digestion. Unfortunately, the standard American diet is full of inflammatory foods: vegetable oil; gluten and refined carbs; fructose and artificial sweeteners; peanuts; corn; and industrially farmed meat, dairy, and eggs. If you suffer from pain and inflammation on a daily basis, try eliminating a couple of these triggers each week and replace them with healthier options. If anything, ditch the sugar as it has the most harmful effects on your body.
Fortunately, just as food can be the cause of one's inflammation, it can also be the medicine cabinet. In fact, one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight inflammation is with your diet! Foods with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and certain nutrients are natural anti-inflammatories. By consuming them regularly in your meals or as supplements, you can lower your risk for inflammation and its harmful effects.If you focus on eating real, unprocessed food and consume plenty of the following anti-inflammatory foods each day, I promise you will be moving better, experience less pain and feeling great!
Below are my top 15 foods to fight inflammation. Keep this list of inflammation fighters handy:
1. Chia Seeds
Chia pudding is one of my favorite healthy snacks. It’s so filling because the chia seeds expand, and they thicken the pudding without any added starch.My favorite way to eat chia seeds is by making chia pudding. It’s a delicious treat, full of fiber that my whole family loves.
The flavor of this pudding is absolutely delicious, but you can play with it to come up with different combinations. A little cinnamon or lemon zest would make wonderful flavors, too.
2 cups coconut milk
1 tbs pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup mixed berries
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the chia seeds. If you pour them in quickly, they’ll clump.
Stir every few minutes for the first ten minutes, then refrigerate the mixture. Let it thicken for at least 3 hours, or as long as a few days.
When ready to serve, divide the chia coconut pudding into 3 bowls or jars, and top with berries. Enjoy!
Flax in smoothies is the best ever. I love me some grit in my smoothie. Here’s a great recipe to try. This thing is packed with Superfoods!
Blueberry Flax Superfood Smoothie
1 cup blueberries, frozen
1 Tablespoon flax seed, ground
Handful of spinach
1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (plain)
1 cup coconut milk or any kind of milk
drizzle of honey if needed
Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender and enjoy!
If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you have twice the risk of heart disease as healthy adults. People with other forms of inflammatory arthritis like gout and psoriatic arthritis are also at increased risk. Studies show that eating nuts – particularly walnuts – may reduce your risk.
Try adding them to oatmeal, toss them in a salad or add them to a yogurt bowl for a delicious healthy anti-inflammatory crunch!
Like walnuts, almonds should be a staple in your diet. Loaded with vitamin E, they may protect the body from the effects of harmful free radicals and have been shown to reduce inflammation. I love to snack on them plain with a few dark chocolate chips to satisfy my hankering for something sweet.
Berries contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These compounds may reduce inflammation, boost immunity and reduce the risk of heart disease. Even people with blood sugar issues – like those with Type 2 diabetes – are very well suited to eat berries daily. Berries are also very high in fibres, which help feed beneficial bacteria to target inflammation at the gut level. I love to eat them fresh by themsleves, add them to a yogurt bowl, in my smoothies and with my chia pudding. 😃 Tip: Buy a bag of frozen organic mixed berries for an easy add in to your smoothies. You'll eliminate the need for ice, and the berries won't mold in the fridge.
Turmeric (a.k.a. Curcumin)
Research studies are most often focused on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric's main active ingredient curcumin which may offer protection against certain cancers, treat arthritis, benefit those with inflammatory bowel disease, reduce blood sugar, and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. I add turmeric to my coffee, stir fry's, soups, savory quinoa bowls and my fave.......Golden Milk. Try this recipe for a warm anti-inflammatory treat.
- 2 cups milk of choice such as almond, coconut, or use bone broth for a hearty tea
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- pinch of ground black pepper (don't skip this part. pepper enhances the efficacy of turmeric by 1000%
- tiny piece of fresh, peeled ginger root or ¼ tsp ginger powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper(optional)
- 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup or to taste (optional)
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.
- Pour into a small saucepan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.
- Drink immediately.
If you enjoy the tangy zip of fresh ginger, here’s some good news. Researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens and Georgia State College & University in Milledgeville reported in the Journal of Pain that a few tablespoons of grated ginger can help ease muscle pain caused by exercise.
You can add a few tablespoons to your diet by grating ginger over a salad or into a stir fry, or you can add it to your smoothie for a delicious treat. Personally, I I adore the taste of ginger and love adding it to my water with some lime. sooooo Yum!
Garlic has long been a folk remedy for colds and illness, and its anti-inflammatory properties are amazing! Garlic contains sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease. I add garlic to pretty much everything! Just make sure your family/significant other eats it too.
Salmon/Yellow fin Tuna
One of my favorite sources of anti-inflammatory goodness comes straight from the stream/sea: Both Salmon and Yellow Fin tuna are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which research has shown to have potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent rheumatoid arthritis and reduce pain in those who already have it. If you can't stomach the taste of fish, take a quality fish oil capsule each day to help with heart health and inflammation.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy Greens like spinach, kale, chard, arugula, endive, turnip greens, beet greens,and collard greens all contain significant amounts of vitamins and other nutrients that help reduce inflammation. (like Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K)
When Choosing your leafy greens keep this is mind:
1. The Darker the better
2. Pair Greens with Olive oil. Many of the vital nutrients in greens can only be absorbed by our bodies in the presence of oil.
3. Enjoy Greens both raw and cooked. I love them in salads, smoothies, sauteed, baked as chips (Kale chips are the bomb) steamed. Cooking can diminish some of the vitamins, so be sure to eat plenty of raw greens.
Bone broth has become one of nature's best kept secrets for improving one's overall health.
I have found bone broth stock to be the No. 1 thing you can consume to:
- Trea leaky gut
- Overcome food intolerances and allergies
- Improve joint health
- Reduce cellulite
- Boost immune system
It's quite simple to make. Here is a basic recipe:
- Place bones (Best if from grassfed animals) into a large stock pot and cover with water.
- Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water prior to cooking. This helps to pull out important nutrients from the bones.
- Fill stock pot with filtered water. Leave plenty of room for water to boil.
- Heat slowly. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for at least six hours. Remove scum as it arises.
- Cook slowly and at low heat. Chicken bones can cook for 24 hours. Beef bones can cook for 48 hours. A low and slow cook time is necessary in order to fully extract the nutrients in and around the bone.
- You can also add in vegetables, such as onions, garlic, carrots and celery, for added flavor and nutrient value.
After cooking, the broth will cool and a layer of fat will harden on top. This layer protects the broth beneath. Discard this layer only when you are about to eat the broth.
With its vast list of health benefits, coconut oil has become the hottest thing out there – and for good reason. Coconut oil is not only anti-inflammatory, it also boosts metabolism, helps balance hormones, is an anti-microbial agent and tastes delicious too. I bake with it, saute my veggies in it, add it to my coffee, smoothies and more.
Dark chocolate contains Flavanols which can reduce inflammation. Make sure to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa (more is even better) in order to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits. They may also reduce the risk of several diseases. A couple of squares a day will satisfy the need for something sweet and help with inflammation. Cheers!
Well guys, there you have it. The next time you are tempted to pop some pills for your pain related to inflammation, I encourage you to start incorporating these superfoods that are nature's own medicine cabinet. Are you ready to make healing foods a staple in your diet? Check out my 4 week carb cycling meal plan which is full of all these healing foods and more!!! You'll get everything done for you with step by step instructions, beautiful pics, and a body that will thank you!!!
Over time, you will notice a happy, healthy body that moves freely. You only have one body. Love it!!
Here's to helping you love the body you live in!!