More and more research keeps piling up that tells us the bottom line cause of many health problems today is chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is our immune system’s response to a threat — either a real threat or an “imagined” one by the immune system. It’s characterized by swelling of the tissues and joints in our bodies.
For all the problems chronic inflammation causes, in the short-term, it is a necessary immune system function…like when it helps the body to fend off an invasion of some infectious disease. It’s when it becomes chronic, and doesn’t subside after the threat has been vanquished, that damage and breakdown of the body’s systems can start.
Experts say such chronic inflammation can be set off, and sustained, by a number of different things, including: prolonged stress, illness, injury, and eating a diet that includes a lot of sugar, wheat, or processed ingredients. If this chronic inflammation isn’t stopped, experts say it can result in a weakened immune system which of course leaves you at a higher risk of succumbing to infections, and it may also lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancers.
And it has also been said that it can be a factor in a number of other health issues including: acne, autoimmune illnesses from eczema to arthritis, hypertension, digestive imbalances and systemic yeast (Candida) infections. And chronic inflammation is also believed to be a major factor in premature aging.
The key to preventing chronic inflammation is said to be eating a healthy diet of whole foods — preferably organic; getting regular exercise, and controlling your stress levels.
But there are also some tasty raw foods and ingredients that have been reported to significantly increase the anti-inflammatory power of your diet. Here are 8 of them:
Pineapple — Pineapple contains bromelain which has been found to have some powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Research has found Bromelain helps ease inflammatory pain such as that from osteoarthritis, with even higher efficacy than NSAID pain relievers. NSAIDS is short for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and are pain relievers such as:
Aspirin -- Made by several companies
Ibuprofen -- Brand names such as Motrin, Advil, Motrin IB
Naproxen -- Brand names such as Naprosyn and Aleve
Nabumetone-- Brand name such as Relafen
With pineapple’s bromelain, combined with its other antioxidants including Vitamin C, it can hep ease sinus inflammation during a cold, and soothe sore muscles after exercising, in addition to helping to keep chronic inflammation from developing.
Garlic — Because of its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory nature, Garlic has been used since ancient times to treat as well as to ward off a wide range of chronic health problems. Much of its anti-inflammatory help is attributed to the allicin in Garlic. Allicin is a compound that has been found to reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines by the body. The anti-inflammatory benefits of Garlic are said to be especially strong when eaten raw.
Onion — Loaded with antioxidants, onions include a flavonoid antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin has been found to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, because it helps prevent the oxidation of fatty acids. That process results in fewer pro-inflammatory molecules produced in the body. The outer layers of onions contain much of the flavonoids in them, as they are concentrated in those outer layers.
Onions also contain allium, which is a compound that contains sulfur (such compounds are called organosulfur compounds). Allium has been found to aid in preventing system-wide inflammation in the body.
Ginger — Ginger has been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic remedies to combat inflammation. It’s rich in antioxidants, including gingerols, which have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Ginger root has been found effective in reducing chronic pain from inflammatory conditions, and to also reduce the cytokines the immune system releases that can lead to inflammation.
Cherries — Cherries are rich in antioxidants — including inflammation-reducing and immune system boosting Vitamin C. Tart cherries are especially rich in these antioxidants.
Tart cherries and tart cherry juice have been found to be effective in reducing the frequency of gout attacks, and for minimizing inflammatory muscle pain after strenuous exercise.
Blueberries — A lot of berries contain anti-inflammatory antioxidant compounds, blueberries rank among the highest. Blueberries contain anthocyanins (which are the pigments that give blueberries their deep color), that have been linked to reducing oxidative stress, cognitive function improvement, protecting cardiovascular health, and aiding in preventing some cancers.
Blueberries have also been found to reduce markers of inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome. They also are a source of quercetin (quercetin’s benefits were discussed in the onion information in this article as onions also contain it).
Kale — Many cruciferous vegetables have been found to be key in an anti-inflammatory diet. But Kale is said to be one of the “stars”. Kale has been found to contain 45 individual flavonoid antioxidants — including quercetin and kaempferol. These antioxidants fight oxidative stress and inflammation throughout one’s body.
Kale also contains glucosinolates — compounds that have links to cancer prevention. And Kale also helps the body’s detoxifying processes which are important to flush out inflammatory substances, such as those from processed foods.
Oranges — As you likely know, oranges and other citrus fruits are rich sources of Vitamin C, which is known to reduce respiratory infections and sinus infections, and also for supporting one’s immune system. The carotenoid antioxidants found in oranges, such as Vitamin A, have been linked to a lower risk of inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis.
Bottom line: chronic inflammation can be seriously debilitating and needs to be taken seriously. Adding these 8 foods to your lifestyle may offer help in preventing your developing and having to deal with all the problems of chronic inflammation.