Fill Your Plate with These Seven Inflammation-Busting Foods
At Vaughn Greene Funeral Services, we care about your health. And being informed about nutrition and gut health is an important part of managing your health care.
Chronic inflammation is like too much of a good thing. We need the body’s inflammatory compounds to do their job from time to time, killing bacteria and preventing infection. But chronic low-grade inflammation actually triggers disease. Your immune system is in action but instead of fighting foreign bacteria, it silently attacks your own body. Stress is one known culprit in raising inflammatory compounds, along with obesity and genetics.
Diet plays a large role, too. Consuming too much white flour, sugar, and fried foods, and not enough fruit, vegetables, and fish raises inflammation. If diet can cause inflammation, it can also make a big difference in fighting it.
Rally your body’s defense mechanisms with these seven tasty inflammation busters.
Berries may be small in size but they’re packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Dozens of varieties exist but the most common and healthy choices include blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give them their robust coloring. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce the risk of disease.
2. Fatty fish
Fatty fish is a great source of protein and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA reduce inflammation that can lead to metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. Although all types of fish contain some omega-3 fatty acids, the best sources come from salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel.
3. Cruciferous vegetables
These nutritional powerhouses are brimming with antioxidants that are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. They’re rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which drive inflammation. Fill up on crunchy veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
These delectable, versatile superfoods contain potassium, magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are linked to reduced cancer risk.
5. Green tea
You’ve probably heard that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and other conditions. Many of its benefits are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG inhibits inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production.
6. Extra virgin olive oil
As one of the healthiest fats you can eat, extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which provides numerous health benefits. Studies link extra virgin olive oil to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions. Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil offers far greater anti-inflammatory benefits than those provided by more refined olive oils.
7. Dark chocolate and cocoa
Dark chocolate is delicious, rich, and satisfying. It’s also packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and they keep the cells that line the arteries healthy and pliable. Be sure to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa to reap these anti-inflammatory benefits.
In addition to filling your diet with nutritious anti-inflammatory ingredients, it’s just as important to limit your consumption of foods that can promote inflammation. Fast food, frozen meals, and processed meats have been associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers. Fried foods and partially hydrogenated oils contain Trans fats, a type of unsaturated fatty acid that has also been linked to increased levels of inflammation, and sugar-sweetened beverages and refined carbs have also been shown to promote inflammation. Steer clear of these culprits and reach for more nutritious choices instead.
About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, and repast services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.