Inflammation is the scourge of modern human health, and is caused by almost every thing that modern society thinks of as ‘civilized.’ Fast living, the struggle to get ahead, and fast food are leading to a modern day epidemic of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and numerous other diseases of the modern age; they are all caused by the proliferation of inflammation in the modern lifestyle.
Inflammation is a normal response of the human body, intended to help us heal. We get a cut or splinter and the inflammation response rushes in to surround the wound with lymphatic fluids and fresh blood, healing heat and resulting swelling. If we did not have this response of the immune system, the tiniest injury could kill us.
Today, the inflammation response often becomes a chronic response to bad diet and stress. Often the inflammation goes unnoticed, even for years, and can cause debilitating, often fatal diseases. It is in our best interest to find ways to reduce inflammation in our bodies wherever it occurs and that is where anti inflammatory foods come in.
First, it’s a good idea to understand how foods cause or relieve the incidence of inflammation.
You’ve heard of free radicals – the unpaired electrons that are released, or freed because of the oxidative processes that take place all day long in our body. These unpaired electrons roam the organism and do damage to tissues – aging is a result of the action of these free radicals.
Bad foods, such as fried or sugary foods, contain nothing to reduce this effect, and certain kinds of oils along with ‘white’ foods like potatoes and refined carbohydrates actually contribute to the deleterious effects of free radicals. Fast foods are a short road to illness, and if you eat little else, you are asking for trouble.
Anti Inflammatory Foods List
Make these foods a staple in your balanced, healthful diet:
Fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in Vitamin C
Curry and ginger
Green, white and oolong
Certain foods, however, can act as anti inflammatory foods, reducing our chances for inflammation and disease. You’ve heard all your life to eat your vegetables, and for reducing inflammation, they are of great importance.
Vegetables, especially those of deep color and not cooked beyond recognition, contain certain substances called phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which have the capacity to bind free radicals and reduce the damage they can do.
These substances have great antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. Dark leafy greens, like kale, Swiss chard and spinach, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts are good choices, especially when organic. Papayas, blueberries, green tea, turmeric and ginger are all great inflammation reducers.
Fatty acids like Omega-3s are common to fish like wild caught salmon and to cooking oils like extra virgin olive oil can reduce inflammation. Other sources are nuts, avocados and seeds. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats like corn and sunflower oils increase inflammation; Omega-3 canola and olive oils fight inflammation.
We need a balance between Omega-3s and Omega-6s, but ordinarily we consume much more Omega-6 in processed foods. Reducing consumption of processed foods can go a long way toward avoiding too much Omega-6. Increasing consumption of whole, unprocessed foods, especially colorful vegetables and fruits and wild caught salmon can go a long way toward reducing inflammation.
Add Nopalea by TriVita to Your Anti Inflammatory Arsenal
Nopalea juice, made from the nopal cactus, has been shown to reduce chronic inflammation, thereby reducing an individual’s tendency to develop any of these conditions, and improving any conditions that already exist.
The nopal, or prickly pear cactus, a plant that has provided nutrition and medicine to indigenous people in the Sonoran desert for centuries as well as worldwide, has been shown to be rich in antioxidants, substances that reduce inflammation.
The prickly pear is particularly rich in a specific kind of antioxidant, called betalain, only found in a few other plants, and none in as high a concentration.