Inflammation is at the root cause of many chronic health problems, conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression and even autism. It’s the number one reason that people consult any health care practitioner. Allergies, arthritis, Crohn’s, colitis and autoimmune diseases are just some of the common inflammatory conditions.
What is inflammation?
It’s an immune response to physical injury, exposure to environmental toxins, allergies or infection and can cause pain, redness, heat and swelling in the affected area.
If it sticks around for long periods of time, inflammation can lead to disease. Studies show that chronic inflammation appears to increase the likelihood of development of several different cancers.
Don’t get me wrong, some inflammation is good. We need it to figure out when the bad guys are entering the body. It’s the body’s defense system to infection and trauma. The trouble happens when that defense system runs out of control, like the super villain and their army trying to destroy the earth (can you tell I have 2 superhero obsessed boys.)
The key is to identify the triggers and causes of inflammation, here is a list of just a few of those triggers:
- Diet high in sugar and processed foods
- Lack of exercise
- Chronic yeast or bacteria infections
- High exposure to chemicals such as mercury and pesticides
If you have any of the above triggers in your diet and lifestyle then you are probably suffering from some form of inflammation. To reduce this, try including some or all of my top 5 anti-inflammatory foods in your diet.
1. Omega 3 Fats – These are at the top of my list for foods to go to when dealing with inflammation. Omega 3’s help reduce inflammation throughout the body so include foods like hemp, chia, flax, walnuts, sardines and fresh or frozen wild caught salmon or canned sockeye salmon in your diet. Check out the website www.seachoice.org to help you make a sustainable choice of seafood. You can also take a fish oil supplement, look for products that provide both EPA and DHA, in a daily dosage of two to three grams.
2. Turmeric is a bright orange root that contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin is an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage. It also lowers histamine levels in the body which helps to reduce inflammation.
3. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols and it blocks the formation of inflammatory compounds and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints. Check out my carrot, apple ginger soup recipe at the end of this post.
4. Cruciferous Veggies are also known as the brassica family of vegetables and include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and onions and are high in antioxidants that not only reduce inflammation but also fight cancer.
5. Fermented Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha contain probiotics that help to support your immune system and fight inflammation.
CARROT APPLE GINGER SOUP
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound apples, peeled if desired, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, more to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger, more to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine carrots, parsnips, apples, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.
- Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until soft and browned.
- Transfer to a large saucepan and cover with broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Stir in ginger and cook for 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Blend until smooth, using a regular blender or an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.