Many people deal with inflammation on a regular basis whether it’s in their gut, their joints, or somewhere else in their body.  Inflammation isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s the body’s defense mechanism to fight infection and promote healing.  Some people deal with chronic inflammation with conditions such as arthritis.  While food may not be able to cure inflammation, it can help naturally reduce some inflammation.  Minimizing the inflammation in your body can even help reduce your risk of developing other illnesses.  Reducing foods in your diet with added sugars, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats can go a long way in reducing inflammation.  Adding these foods into your diet is a tasty way to help fight inflammation:

  • Healthy oils.  Replacing vegetable oil with healthier oils, especially olive oil, is an easy substitution.  Or add it to hot pasta or salads to get more of it into your diet beyond cooking with it.
  • Fish.  The omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, tuna and sardines  can help reduce inflammation.  You can enjoy these benefits by adding one or two servings a week to your diet.  Try it grilled, baked or pan-seared as a main dish or added to a salad.
  • Garlic.  Studies have shown that garlic acts similarly to pain relieving medications to reduce inflammation.  Not only does it fight inflammation but it tastes great too when added to your favorite dishes.
  • Whole grains.  Whole grains are a great replacement to the refined carbohydrates, white bread, and pasta in many diets.  Because whole grains are high in fiber, they work to reduce inflammation in the body.  Add them to your favorite entrees or soups.
  • Leafy greens.  The high levels of vitamin E found in dark leafy greens is believed to reduce inflammation.  Vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are excellent sources.  Use them in your salads or saute or roast for a vitamin-packed side dish.
  • Green tea.  Green tea is antioxidant rich and has so many different health benefits.  Not only can it help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain diseases, it also contains a mild anti inflammatory agent that can be helpful.  So enjoy a cup of green tea for your health.
  • Shiitake mushrooms.  Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body as well as boost immune systems.  Add a few shiitake mushrooms to your main dishes or salads for an additional boost.
  • Blueberries.  Blueberries contain a powerful antioxidant that fights inflammation and may even help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.  Grab a handful and eat them plain or sprinkle a few over oatmeal or a salad.
  • Ginger.  Ginger is good for many different things ranging from treating nausea to easing pain and stiffness in the joints.  Add a little to a smoothie or sprinkle a little over cooked salmon.
  • Tart cherries.  Studies have shown that tart cherries can help reduce post exercise soreness as well as arthritis pain.  Try adding dried tart cherries to salads, yogurt or oatmeal, using tart cherry juice in smoothies or just eating them for a snack.

Do you deal with inflammation regularly? Did you know any of these foods can help reduce inflammation?

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