The standard Western diet has become more and more processed, with more sugar, fat and carbohydrates than ever before. Is it any wonder that so many of us feel bloated, unhealthy and sick?
What is inflammation?
To read more about inflammation, and what causes it, read out article here. But if you want to know if you can heal inflammation responses naturally, the answer is, yes. And the answer may lie in the produce aisle.
Leafy green vegetables for the vitality of Popeye
Healthy Swiss Chard Soup. Credit: RobbyFo
All leafy green vegetables offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Swiss chard for instance, is high in vitamin K which helps to protect your brain against free radicals that caused oxidative stress. It also provides vitamins A and C. Stirfry a heap of greens with garlic and butter for a fantastic anti-inflammatory side dish.
Bok Choy. Credit: Fshnextension
One leafy green vegetable with bonus anti-inflammatory points is bok choy. Also known as Chinese cabbage, this is an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C and minerals. Studies have shown there are more than 70 antioxidant phenolic substances in boy choy- including hydroxycinnamic acids, that scavenge free radicals.
Add a few leaves in your next stir fry or noodle dish, or fry them up in garlic and sesame oil- delicious.
Clean and healthy celery sticks. Credit: Stevepb
Celery is not only great in a Bloody Mary, but also good for your health. With antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities as well as tremendous other health benefits, celery is definitely something you need to grab next time you’re at the supermarket. It can help improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and provides potassium. It’s great for providing vitamin K, A, C and potassium.
A good use of celery is in Waldorf salad. Dice celery and apples and stir through chopped walnuts and mayonnaise. A great snack or side dish for a main meal.
That powerful red colour has to mean good things! Beetroot is great for repairing cell damage caused by chronic inflammation. Lots of potassium and magnesium are the reasons for this. A magnesium deficiency has been linked to inflammation. When magnesium is consumed at the same time as calcium-rich foods, the calcium is processed and absorbed much better. Beets are also a great natural source of folate.
Beetroot is great raw, imparting an earthy taste to juices. It’s great roasted as part of a roast vege salad.
Broccoli and Leek Soup. Credit: Silviarita
High in potassium and magnesium, this vegetable will help lower inflammation. It also has vitamins K, C, B6, E, carotenoids and flavonoids that combine to make it powerful antioxidant. It lowers oxidative stress on the body and battles chronic inflammation. Broccoli also contains chromium, folate and manganese.
Roast it with chilli flakes and a drizzle of olive oil for an addictively crispy snack. Or, parboil and chill. Mix with a handful of cashews and crispy bacon and stir through mayonnaise for a salad that even the kids will love.
Snack on blueberries
Blueberries. Credit: Congerdesign
The candy of the fruit world, blueberries are a moreish and healthy snack. Packed with nutrients, they are high in quercetin. This is a flavonoid that fights inflammation. It works alongside anthocyanins to make blueberries such a great health-giving food.
A study for IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome) showed that quercetin lowered inflammation in the colon and helped to repopulate good gut flora.
The best way to eat blueberries is simply by themselves or maybe sprinkled over your breakfast cereal.
Pineapple smoothie. Credit:
This tropical fruit contains bromelain, which helps to modulate immune function. Bromelain also helps fight blood clotting, stopping platelets sticking together or building up along blood vessel walls. This may assist in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. As well as bromelain, pineapple has vitamin C, B1, potassium, manganese and is chokka full of phytonutrients.
Eat it as is, or slow char grill it on the BBQ embers after you’ve cooked your main meal. It increases the sweetness and makes it a sticky and juicy treat.
Get serious about salmon
Beautiful pan-fried salmon. Credit Robsonmelo
Salmon has loads of great, nutrient rich omega-3 fats. These fatty acids reduce inflammation and have been linked to great brain health, in particular memory and behaviour. Wild salmon are espoused to have more nutrients as farmed fish, but it’s still a great protein dense food that helps your health.
Whilst salmon is very good for your health, its always a good idea to keep your food under wraps if its in the fridge or freezer before you prepare it. https://www.safefoodpro.co.nz/ can help you ensure that your salmon, stays fresh for as long as possible!
While this is something you will have to make yourself, it’s a great source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur. It’s said to help heal leaky gut syndrome and also reduce inflammation, particularly for arthritis and joint pain.
While you can drink a cup of this on its own, you can also use it in cooking instead of stock.
Walnuts for your brain
Walnuts. Credit: LubosHouska
Packed full of omega-3 and phytonutrients, walnuts are a simple addition to your diet that will reap health rewards. Great for cardiovascular health, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, simply add walnuts to your baking, throw some in you cereal, or pop some in a salad. Easy.
Replace fats with coconut oil
Beautiful Coconut Oil. Credit: Monicore.
While being debated in the media a lot recently, coconut oil does offer great health benefits when consumed in moderation. Rather than adding tablespoons of it into your coffee and adding unnecessary fat, replace your current cooking oil with coconut oil. Stirfry your vegetables in coconut oil to double the antioxidant power and reduce inflammation.
Cheeky chia seeds
These tiny seeds have become popular world wide as a super-food. They have high levels of a range of beneficial fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Included in this list are vitamins A, B, E and D, sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium and niacin. However there is evidence to suggest the bioavailability of these vitamins is very poor. This means the body may struggle to extract the goodness from these. Always soak these seeds before use.
Turmeric for total health
Turmeric contains the compound curcumin. In India, it’s been long understood that it’s great for treating inflammation and infection. It can reduce cytokine, a marker of inflammation. However, studies have found that benefits of turmeric are gained when the spice is not heat treated and it must be consumed as part of the meal. So while a curry with turmeric is great, a supplement will not derive the benefits you want.