The Foods That Fight Inflammation & Simple Ways To Add Them Into Your Day Without Stress
Lets talk about inflammation first. What is it? Where does it happen? And why should you worry about it?
in • flam • ma • tion – “A localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection.”
Well according to Google’s definition, it sounds horrible and I’m sure we can all agree that we should stay away from this inflammation thing.
But lets go to some practical experience, some ways I’ve seen it affect my clients physical and internal bodies and therefore, the results they may see.
Inflammation is commonly found in the joints for a lot of us. It can come from repetitive movement patterns, lack of joint fluid, poor movement quality, improper exercise execution and technique, bad nutrition habits, and unfortunately more…meaning your joints can easily become inflamed if you do not take care of yourself.
But inflammation is limited to the joints, it’s found internally as well. It can be found in the gut, which is actually a common one as of late, and pretty much every where else in your body from your tissues to your organs to your cells and more.
See inflammation is actually just an immune response, it’s the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury; defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria; and repair damaged tissue. So it can be good as well, but it can also be a problem if you suffer chronic inflammation (constantly staying inflamed).
When the body is chronically inflamed in anyway, that’s when the body can experience more permanent damage, injuries or even diseases such as: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s – all diseases that have been linked to chronic inflammation.
As you can see, inflammation is no joke and we should all work to avoid or battle against it.
Today we’re going to break down all the ways to fight chronic inflammation and how you can work to move easier, feel better constantly, and be sure that your body is working towards THRIVING rather than just SURVIVING.
This article is really going to hammer out the foods and ingredients we can consume to help us fight this issue… but before I dig into all that, I have to simply mention training.
A very high percentage of people actually make their inflammation worse by training improperly or even avoiding movement all together. I can’t give you the blueprint to helping your inflammation through training, today.
But I can give you an option to consider.
If you struggle with achy joints and confusion of exactly how and what to train, for your individual body and goals, Click Here Now and get on a Strategy Call with one of our Coaches who can help provide you with the blueprint you need to get started.
Ok, now lets get into the meat and potatoes of this article (meat and potatoes as in the fundamentals, the basics, the ordinarily important, etc…).
I’m going to keep this simple and easy to read, that way it’s as stress-free as possible and you can take this blog and immediately start implementing what I cover into your nutrition plan. In fact, take this to the grocery store to shop and then pull it back out when you’re prepping your meals for the day or week.
As you’ll soon find out, most foods that will cause inflammation are typically highly processed and “unnatural” you could say. Where as the foods you see on the other side of the spectrum, anti-inflammatory foods, are all whole foods that are earth grown and have plenty nutrients within them.
Foods to Avoid
One thing we need to always remember before digging into the foods that may cause inflammation, is that they’re not limited too these nor are all these problematic for everyone.
What I mean by this is that you may experience inflammation from eggs or some fruits – but that’s because you have an individual intolerance, allergy or sensitivity to that specific food.
This also means that you may not ever experience inflammation with some of these foods, even though they’re on the list. The list below is simply the most common inflammatory foods, but some of you reading this may be ok with them – the best examples of this would be dairy and red meat, many of us are fine with these two but it is still considered an inflammatory food for many others.
- Refined Carbs – such as white bread, some pastas, pastries, donuts, etc.
- Deep Fried Foods
- Processed Sugar – such as soda, candy, etc.
- Red Meat and Processed Meat – such as steaks, burgers, hot dogs, etc.
- Margarine – also shortening and lard.
- Dairy Products – such as cheese, milk, etc.
I know what you’re thinking… “That’s all the good shit!” – unfortunately that’s the case with this. But at the end of the day, it’s just not worth it.
Ok so now you have the Inflammatory Food List, now lets get into the Anti-Inflammatory Food List so you can see what you should be eating and how you can implement them all into your diet today.
Foods To Eat More Of
Tomatoes, a nightshade veggie, are a great choice for fighting inflammation – but here we’re trying to get the real deal, not ketchup. The more often you can eat the real thing the better, but oddly enough…in this scenario cooked tomatoes actually provide more lycopene, which is the main ingredient in them that helps reduce inflammation.
The two easiest ways I’ve found to implement these into my diet has been to cook them into a scramble or omelet or simply chopping them up for a salad. But however you like to cook them down or eat them up, we suggest it if reducing inflammation is your goal.
Just about anything that fits into or compliments a heart healthy diet is probably also good for inflammation – that’s where olive oil comes in. Olive oil is high in vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol to be specific, which has shown to have a benefit towards fighting inflammation.
There’s a million recipes to make while using olive oil… our suggestion is simple, alternate your cooking oils and be sure to include this oil in that rotation.
But for the sake of helping you be more creative, here’s 10 different low-calorie salad dressings, some with olive oil and some without, for you to try out (the honey-balsamic vinaigrette is my favorite).
Green Leafy Vegetables
This one is broad, but one of the most important ones. I’m talking things like kale, bok choy, spinach, broccoli…. ALL the good dark and thick green veggies you could probably think of, honestly.
Plain and simple, these are packed with anti-oxidants and are filled with higher concentrations of specific nutrients – such as calcium, iron, flavonoids and more – than lighter-colored leafy veggies are.
The top of the chart recipe for this one combines the last ingredient and this together, it’s called Blasted Broccoli.
This nut is high in Omega-3’s, manganese, and actually has some other phytonutrients that are very rare to ever find in any other foods. They protect us against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and inflammation.
They’re the gold standard of the nut family, but they’re also dense in calories so be careful if you’re on a diet or fat loss plan. Regardless, they should be included in your diet.
My favorite way to add these into my diet is on top of a salad. So no recipe here but my suggestion is trying a basic chicken, berry, raspberry vinaigrette salad and topping it with some cold chopped walnuts.
This is what originally caused the huge popularity in Fish Oil supplementation, which we’re big proponents of. Salmon, and other fatty fish in general, is a great source of essential fatty acids – particularly Omega-3’s. Omega-3’s are known to be some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances and they also help prevent many diseases.
I’ve literally watched people’s joint pain and movement improve significantly, simply from implementing more fish oil and omega-3’s in their diet alone. The problem with the westernized diet is that it’s ratio of Omega-3’s to 6’s is way off, so lowering our sources of Omega-6’s (breads, vegetable oils, cereals, etc.) and raising our Omega-3’s (whole eggs, grass fed butter, fish oil, etc.) can help tremendously.
Salmon is great in any way, but after I had my first blackened salmon salad I was hooked. So the recipe for this fat fish, will be just that.
Again an anti-oxidant rich food, that is also very low in calories – so for everyone out there on a fat loss plan, this is usually the most recommended fruit to consume while on your journey. But the main anti-oxidant making the blueberry great for anti-inflammation is quercetin (also found in citrus, olive oil and dark colored berries).
One study seeking treatment for IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) showed that using an extract from the noni fruit to positively affect the gut flora and colon damage done by inflammatory diseases, worked. The main source of the positive influence and reduction in inflammation came from quercetin.
(Another study found that consuming more blueberries slowed cognitive decline and improved memory and motor function – non-related, but important to know!)
Blueberries are usually best just as a snack, but this blueberry brussel sprout dish is awesome.
Another great fat source (see any trend here?) that helps fight inflammation and has actually been shown to help in healing arthritis more effectively than some leading medications.
My recommendation is simple, cook in it! I’m not a big fan of bulletproof coffee or drinking 350-500 calories coconut water beverages…But I do personally cook in it often, alternating between this butter and olive oil, and also use it for skin care (another way to absorb the nutrients well).
“Yeah, bro…eat the whole egg, not just the white.”
I don’t know how the whole egg got demonized, maybe it was the low-fat diet craze that hit the country a long while ago. But regardless, it was dumb. The truth is, an egg is a great source of protein, vitamins A and B, biotin, choline, potent carotenoids, and is a high Omega-3 fat source…So they’re not only good for building muscle and optimizing hormones, they fight inflammation as well.
We all like our eggs cooked differently, so whether you hard boil it for a salad or decide to have yours over-easy…just eat the damn things!
Here’s my favorite frittata recipe with eggs, actually…Here are 13 of them (remember, you can substitute some whole eggs for white to add protein but save calories, cook in a different oil, remove cheese, etc…get creative with these!).
This is a POWERFUL one that literally can be added into anyone’s diet without any caloric damage being done. Turmeric’s main compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory agent and studies have actually found it to be far more potent than aspirin and ibuprofen. If you skip on this one, you’re crazy.
I simply suggest consuming a couple teaspoons per day, taking as a supplement or sprinkling on something you’re already cooking, such as a nice veggie stir fry, as a seasoning. The key is consuming it regularly.
Yeah…beets. I know what you’re thinking, “Gross!”, just like most people think. But these purple things are filled with an antioxidant called betalain, which is what gives them their color and also it’s high anti-inflammatory benefits. They essentially inhibit the activity of something called ‘cyclo-oxygenase enzymes’ which the body uses to trigger inflammation.
In my opinion, the best way to squeeze these into your diet would be to roast them with salt, pepper, olive oil and seasonings (cook for 35-40 min at 400 degrees). You can snack on them, throw them on a salad or make it a side dish like the picture above.
But another way to use these would be in a beet juice, which is commonly sold at health food stores today. You can even use this prior to training to get a nitric oxide effect, causing more blood flow to the muscle (guys…if you want a pump, try this).
So there you have it! What to eat, why to eat it, how you can include it into your diet, and even some delicious recipes for you to actually enjoy your diet plan.
The only thing to leave you with is an opportunity to work directly with a Coach so you can not only know all of the above – but also customize it all and have the accountability needed to finally see the results you’ve been looking for.
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