Standard western diets are a major culprit in chronic inflammation because they contain a high proportion of inflammatory foods, including processed food, sugar, and trans-fats. No need to worry though because little hidden treasures that you may already have in your cupboard and kitchen can help to lower inflammation, promote healthy digestion and beautiful skin.
Here are some of my favorite simple and inexpensive medicinal foods that you can use.
Dark leafy greens
Dark greens and cruciferous green veggies, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens have higher concentrations of antioxidants like vitamin A and C, vitamin K, which can protect your brain against oxidative stress caused by free radical damage, as well as vitamin E that helps to preserve the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.
They’re also much richer in vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, and other disease-fighting phytochemicals than vegetables with lighter colored leaves.
Berries have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties because of anthocyanins, the powerful chemicals that gives them their rich color and because of their high content of antioxidants that fight oxidative stress in the body. One antioxidant in particular that is an especially strong anti-inflammatory is quercetin. Quercetin is a flavonoid that fights inflammation and is really helpful to soothe hay fever and reduce outbreaks reoccurrence.
These vibrant red vegetables have great antioxidant properties. Both the whole vegetable and the juice have been shown to reduce inflammation, as well as lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease.
This is due to their high fiber content, elevated levels of vitamin C and magnesium and plant pigments like betalains and choline among others.
Betalain is a powerful anti-inflammatory substance and aid for the liver detoxification pathways. Choline helps to preserve cellular membrane structure, assists in the transmission of nerve impulses and in the absorption of fat reducing chronic inflammation.
Ginger and Turmeric
These spices have been shown in various studies to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory component and among the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world (even more potent than ibuprofen). It helps to turn off NF-kappa B, a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers the inflammatory process in the body.
Ginger is a great immune system modulator and because of its warming ability, it supports the breakdown of accumulated toxins in the organs and cleanse the lymphatic system. It has been shown to be very effective in treating allergic reactions and asthma outbreaks.
Garlic and Onions
These allium family vegetables are known to boost the immune system activity. Garlic has been shown to work similarly to NSAID pain medications (like ibuprofen), shutting off the pathways that lead to inflammation.
It also contains sulfur compounds that stimulate the immune system to fight disease.
Onions contain similar anti-inflammatory chemicals, including the phytonutrient quercetin which is great for people that suffer from seasonal allergies and hay fever. Quercetin stabilizes mast cell membranes and prevents the release of histamine and due to its antioxidant effect, it can inhibit inflammatory processes mediated by cytokines, inflammatory markers in the body.