When our immune system is called upon following the flu or a sprained ankle (for example), we experience pain, heat, redness, stiffness, and swelling—just some of the familiar signs of inflammation. Pro-inflammatory molecules signal our white blood cells to clear out infections or damaged tissue while anti-inflammatory compounds are required to support and maintain the resilience of our immune system. Without them, inflammation will become out of control and damage our bodies, linking to autoimmune diseases and acceleration of other issues like scleroderma, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. The good news: we can prevent inflammation the all-natural way with these 9 anti-inflammatory foods:
1. Bok Choy
This Chinese cabbage contains beneficial compounds that help fight chronic inflammation, including alpha-linolenic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Chili Peppers
One of the most potent anti-inflammatory vegetables, chili peppers (like cayenne) are rich in capsaicin, which is a chemical that’s known to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. Note: the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin.
The main ingredient in many delicious dishes, studies have suggested that garlic has significant anti-inflammatory properties because it’s been shown to hinder the production of pro-inflammatory substances known as cytokines.
The properties in celery produce anti-inflammatory benefits that help reduce swelling and pain around the joints while preventing inflammatory reactions in blood vessels and the digestive tract.
5. Oily Fish
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, halibut, and cod are cold-water (and oily) fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, known for fighting the unwanted inflammation we’re talking about. The fish are also important for proper brain function.
A popular spice, ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, and consuming ginger regularly can lead to improvement in mobility and pain reduction from osteoarthritis and arthritis.
Beyond the beet’s health-boosting nutrients, they are a unique source of betaine, which is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers. (Beets also protect against cancer and heart disease.)
This tropical plant contains the enzyme bromelain, an anti-inflammatory compound and protein-digesting enzyme that reduces swelling and inflammation in the body. Pineapple is known for aiding in the treatment of arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.
9. Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, broccoli, spinach, and collard greens are dark leafy greens that are some of the best natural sources of vitamin E, also known for fighting pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines (as mentioned earlier).
Adding these ingredients to your daily meals or simply eating them on their own can help prevent the root cause of many serious illnesses. If you know of more, we’d love it if you would share them in the comment section below! Here’s to healthy living.
Allyson Miller is a bookworm, history nerd and outdoor enthusiast who loves writing creative and informational content for SBT in Rock Hill, SC. Depending on the day, you can find her with her nose in historical documents, shopping for trendy exercise outfits or trying new cooking recipes. Allyson dreams that one day, engineers will figure out a way to build roller coasters sans the incline, ridding her of coasterphobia.