The human body is a weird and wonderful thing, and it usually has our backs, pun intended. However, every once in a while, a false alarm goes off and our bodies go to war even though there’s no enemy at the front. The human body ends up fighting itself and its normally protective defenses end up inflicting damage on its own system. That’s when inflammation can become dangerous. Normally defensive immune responses become offensive attacks. Otherwise, healthy tissue becomes infected, resulting in swelling, redness, fatigue, and even loss of joint control. That’s where nutrition steps in.
While food can’t prevent our systems from turning against themselves, some of it can be pretty effective when it comes to damage control. Here are some of the best culinary protectors against the more detrimental effects of inflammation.
Want to beet inflammation? Beets are a potent inflammatory, which also contains antioxidant properties, plus they’re great for boosting energy while lowering blood pressure. Studies show that a single serving of beetroot juice can reduce blood pressure by 10.4/8mm. Also high in nitrates, beets have been shown to boost athletic performance by one to three percent.
You can bet that broccoli is going to show up on any list of foods with health benefits. It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like kaempferol, which is shown to lessen the impact of allergy-inducing substances on the body, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Another recurring character on the list of healthy foods, green tea has a large supply of anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Studies show that the leading catechin in green tea is a powerful anti-inflammatory with healing potential. The antioxidant properties in green tea are also quite impressive. Studies show that regular drinkers showed a 22 percent decrease in risk of breast cancer, a 48 percent reduced risk for prostate cancer, and a whopping 57 percent lower colorectal cancer risk.
One whiff of garlic and you know you’re dealing with a pretty formidable contender. A Washington State University study found garlic to contain 100 times the potency of two antibiotics used to fight the causes of intestinal illness.
Ginger can reduce inflammation and keep blood sugar under control. The National Library of Medicine compared ginger extract to common painkillers and found ginger to be a potent pain reliever.
Another pretty powerful ingredient, onions contain quercetin, an antioxidant which helps the body fight inflammation. Onions stimulate the respiratory tract and help to get rid of phlegm. The vegetables are also proven antioxidants and may be effective in the treatment of certain cancers.
Another overachieving veggie, spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods. The high unique combination of phytonutrients in spinach makes for a high level of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components which can be helpful in protection from cellular damage.
How do you cope with inflammation? What foods do you think are best for protecting and preventing the condition? Let us know!