Inflammation is the root of many health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. To put it simply, inflammation occurs when white blood cells and chemical messengers (cytokines) are released in high amounts in response to an infection or tissue damage.
Tissue damage can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, alcohol consumption and tobacco use. High amounts of stress and excessive exercise can also cause inflammation.
But you can keep your body in check with the right diet. There are foods that are good for you, and then there are foods that could help you live longer. It’s hard to find a food that does both, but those that have anti-inflammatory properties can do just that. Here are our favorite anti-inflammatory foods:
- Blueberries. These blue powerhouses contain powerful antioxidants that help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and decrease inflammation in the brain and central nervous system .
- Garlic. Garlic has been used for thousands of years as a natural medicine against inflammation , heart disease, and cancer.
- Turmeric & ginger. These two spices are frequently used together in traditional Indian medicine for their healing properties against pain and inflammation . Studies have shown that turmeric helps relieve arthritis symptoms and ginger is often used to treat headaches caused by inflammatory conditions like sinusitis.
- Olive oil. Olive oil contains a lot of polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. In fact, olive oil is so powerful for fighting inflammation that it’s being considered for use in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
- Milk. Dairy products such as milk contain the protein lactoferrin, which reduces inflammation by preventing white blood cells from sticking to one another thereby reducing swelling and irritation.
- Strawberries contain a powerful antioxidant called ellagic acid that is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. They also have a high level of vitamin C to keep your immune system strong.