15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Should Be Eating Right Now
"A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life." Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
When you’re hurt or sick, your immune system sends an army of white blood cells to eradicate the problem. Just imagine you cut your finger, and the surrounding area becomes red and swollen with a rush of blood full of those little guys ready to save the day.
The intricate self-protective responses of our bodies are impressive. However, there are times when our body is tricked, so to speak, and sends out the army when there is nothing to be healed. These aimless white blood cells become confused and begin to attack cells and tissues, which leaves you at higher risk for sickness. This is called chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation occurs when we have a damaged immune system caused by poor diet, stress, bad air, anxiety, or obesity. Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reported: “The Western diet is characterized by a high intake of saturated and omega-6 fatty acids, reduced omega-3 fat intake, an overuse of salt, and too much refined sugar. Most are aware that this type of eating, if not in moderation, can damage the heart, kidneys, and waistlines; however, it is becoming increasingly clear that the modern diet also damages the immune system.”
Chronic inflammation has been found to be related to cancers, heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.
A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is proven to reduce chronic inflammation and lower the risk and magnitude of the accompanying symptoms. Saturated fats, refined sugars and carbohydrates (including margarine), and red and processed meats are some of the triggers to inflammation, but there are a multitude of foods that have high anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, foods high in omega-3 fatty acid and complex plant nutrients are very effective at quelling inflammation.
Read our list of powerful anti-inflammatory foods full of omega-3s, antioxidants, and essential minerals and nutrients and get inspired to incorporate them into your daily diet.
Rachael Pack is the Cook Editor of The Daily Meal. Follow her on instagram and twitter @rachael_pack