In this day and age, eating healthily has become increasingly difficult.
With so many options available, making the right decision can be confusing at the best of times.
Some brands will lure you in with deceptively healthy and wholesome branding, leaving you congratulating yourself on your healthy choice, when in reality, you have just consumed 30g of sugar.
Learning to eat healthily starts by educating yourself.
Many diseases that plague our society, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, are as a consequence of lifestyle choices.
At the root of many of these health issues is inflammation.
By tackling inflammation, you will not only improve your overall health but prevent chronic diseases from developing.
Rich in Omega, fish, is the ultimate inflammatory. The Omega 3 in fish interfere with immune cells called leukocytes and enzymes are known as cytokines, which are both key players in causing inflammation. By blocking inflammation and boosting circulation, Omega 3 helps to ease the pain of inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis.
One study which looked at the effect of Omega 3 fatty acids in patients with rheumatoid arthritis had encouraging results. Sixty patients with rheumatoid arthritis were enrolled in a 12-week, double-blind, randomized study, during which they were administered Omega 3 supplements.
By the end of the study, an astonishing 76% of patients were satisfied with the project. Researchers concluded that Omega 3 was effective in reducing symptoms.
Nuts are bursting with healthy fats and are low in saturated fat. As a result, when it comes to the inflammation, they can do no wrong.
One study suggested that eating a handful of nuts (only a handful, as they are high in fat), five times a week could help to reduce inflammation. The research team analyzed data from two different long-term studies, the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS).
The research found that people who ate nuts at least five times per week had 20% lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) compared to people who never or rarely ate nuts.
They also had 16% lower levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), another inflammatory marker.
It may leave you breath smelling ripe, but garlic is revered throughout the world for its healing capabilities. Not only is it antibacterial, helping to fight infection, but it’s also a powerful weapon against inflammation.
The sulfur compounds found in garlic help to stimulate your immune system to fight disease. A critical review by Rahman and Lowe (2006) analyzed several studies conducted since 1993, regarding the medical benefits of garlic in preventing cardiovascular diseases. They claim that increased garlic consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Garlic has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties and can prevent the formation of free radicals which contribute to the development of cancer and BPH.
They say good things come in small packages and when it comes to garlic this couldn’t be truer.
Although some might regard avocado as a ‘millennium’ fad, splashed across social media in snazzy brunch pictures, it has long been viewed as the ultimate superfood.
Packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados have been shown to combat inflammation. One study, evaluated the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxic properties in the peel and seed of the avocado.
Overall it concluded that avocados are essential sources of natural antioxidant and act as anti-inflammatory agents.
Used for centuries throughout Asia, Turmeric is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, and many studies have endorsed its natural anti-inflammatory capabilities.
A study published in Oncogene in 2004 found that turmeric and curcumin are just as effective as several anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, tamoxifen, sulindac, and naproxen.
Don’t get me wrong; inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. It is our bodies way of fighting infection, and without it, pathogens like bacteria could easily harm our bodies.
However, when it becomes chronic inflammation, it can result in many health problems and is responsible for diseases such as heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and Alzheimer’s.
6) Green Leafy Vegetables
From the early days of childhood, we have often been warned to eat our greens, and it seems there was a good reason for this!
Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli are rich in vitamin E and are believed to protect against inflammatory molecules such as cytokines.
Vegetables such as kale are high vitamin K, which is important for bone mineral density and osteoporosis prevention.
In one study, researchers investigated the relationship between vitamin K and bone mineral density in young Korean women. The researchers concluded that the study was of great significance, showing correlations between vitamin K nutritional status and inflammatory responses.
Rumored to leave you with glowing skin, blueberries are not only a great source of antioxidants but also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Sad to say this does not mean gorging on blueberries muffins, but the beautiful blueberries themselves.
A study which reviewed the anti-inflammatory effects of blueberries concerning post-traumatic stress found that blueberries can reduce stress levels and inflammation and restore neurotransmitter imbalances, helping to reduce anxiety levels and even depression.
When it comes to inflammation, it should be remembered that there is the good and the bad. Acute inflammation is the body’s short-term response to tissue injury, such as a cut. It is the body’s way of healing and battling infection and is followed by redness, swelling, and pain.
Chronic inflammation, meanwhile, is long-term inflammation, which can last for a duration of months and even years. This form of inflammation can eventually lead to diseases and conditions and is at the root of many chronic diseases.
Embracing a healthy diet is a necessary part of living a healthy and happy life. Although we are surrounded by temptation, in the form of sugary snacks and readily available fast food, taking the time to make, an educated decision about your diet will not only leave you feeling good inside but will help to protect you against inflammation and the many diseases it can cause.