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The Best and Worst Foods to Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural response that our body uses to alert us of pain and possible infection. This immune response is critical; without it, we can’t heal. But when inflammation is out of control—as in rheumatoid arthritis—it can damage our bodies. And left untreated or out of control, it can negatively contribute to obesity, heart disease, and cancer. So to keep your body’s functions in check, here’s some of the best and worst foods to fight inflammation.

1. Tomatoes

The bright, red tomato is one of those popular foods that can fight inflammation. These juicy beauties are rich in lycopene, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the lungs and throughout the body. And don’t shy away from that marinara sauce; cooked tomatoes contain even more lycopene than raw ones. Here’s an easy dinner dish that you can whip up tonight that is full of this inflammation fighter – Tomato Basil Pasta. Yum!

2. Olive Oil

Plant-based fats, like olive oil, are another good food for reducing inflammation throughout your body. Olive oil contains a compound called “oleocanthal”, which gives olive oil its taste, but is also beneficial to those suffering from inflammatory symptoms. It’s also been shown to have a similar effect as NSAID painkillers in the body. Wow!

3. Kale

There are many studies that have suggested that vitamin E may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines—and one of the best sources of this vitamin is kale. Kale, like its cruciferous family members spinach, broccoli, and collard greens, tends to have higher concentrations of inflammation fighting vitamins and minerals—like calcium, iron, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Add some kale to your smoothies or try our recipe for Kale & Artichoke dip that’s sure to be a hit at your next party!

4. Almonds

Another food source of inflammation-fighting ingredients comes from the healthy fats found in nuts—particularly almonds. Almonds are rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamin E and also have high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fat. This good fat has been shown to reduce inflammation in as little as six weeks. Get some almonds in your breakfast with our recipe for blueberry almond oatmeal.

 

Warning!

Stay away from these foods that will give you inflammation and worsen any flare-ups that you might already suffer from. In general, foods high in sugar and saturated fat can spur inflammation, so in addition to the list below, steer clear of any foods that are high in refined sugar and those bad fats. They cause overactivity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.

1. Frozen Yogurt

We’ll include ice cream here too since both frozen yogurt and ice cream contain dairy and sometimes have higher than recommended amounts of sugar, both of which trigger inflammation. Milk is a common allergen, which means it can trigger inflammatory reactions and dairy treats contain the milk protein casein, which may also increase inflammation. Best to avoid it and opt for almond milk-based treats instead.

2. Gluten

Some of us suffer more than others from gluten sensitivity, but it can trigger the immune system, causing inflammation in the intestinal tract. And that can mean IBS, constipation, or bloating for some people, or even worse symptoms. Consuming gluten, which is hidden in lots of food and alcohol, can cause your tissues to flare up. Go easy on the gluten to avoid that achey joint pain and other inflammatory symptoms.

 

3. Seasonings

Beware of bottled seasoning mixes that may add an easy flavor burst to soups and salad dressings: they usually contain artificial coloring, which can disrupt hormone function and lead to inflammation. To get the same taste without all the bad stuff, make your own seasoning at home with your favorite combinations of cayenne pepper, sea salt, cracked pepper, garlic, and whatever you enjoy! 

4. Grain-fed Meat

Grain-fed animals that are kept in animal feeding labs, operations, or factories are sometimes sick and unhealthy because they are not eating in their natural environments and grazing and living outdoors. They are usually kept alive by antibiotics, hormones, and other drugs. When you eat meat that has been sick, you get sick too and your body’s immune system flares up. If you’re going to buy meat for your family, make sure it’s been raised in its natural habitat and grass-fed. 

Now that you know a little more about what’s in your food, you can be better equipped to make healthy choices for you and your family.

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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