Have you ever noticed how the skin around a scratch or cut tends to swell gently and go red?
This redness is part of how our bodies deal with illness and injury: the inflammatory response.
Our bodies are tough, durable systems—more so than you think—but they can’t stand up to everything. When we get sick or get hurt, our body reacts, increasing its production of white blood cells, immune cells, and other substances to help fight off infection.
This natural response accounts for the typical symptoms we experience when we’re hurt or sick: redness, pain, heat, and swelling. Our body is basically wrapping itself up in a warm blanket to keep out the bad stuff, and this inflammation response helps us recover.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help control this inflammation, and the best part is that it all starts in your kitchen!
An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on foods that help reduce inflammatory responses. Typically, this means swapping out sugary stuff for the whole, nutrient-dense foods.
It also means focusing on foods that are high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are reactive molecules found in food that reduce the number of free radicals in your system. Free radicals, meanwhile, are particles in the body that can damage cells or increase your risk of getting certain diseases.
Think of it this way: an anti-inflammatory diet is a line of defense against bad stuff attacking your body.
If we stick with this analogy, then antioxidants are a bit like soldiers manning the wall, helping fight off harmful free radicals and other compounds
Simple concept, right? That’s because it is. There’s no need to drop by the pharmacy when a trip to the grocery store will do the trick just fine.
An anti-inflammatory diet is a great place to start, but what can it help you with, exactly? What are the health risks?
What happens when inflammation continues without any obvious symptoms?
In chronic inflammation cases, that’s exactly what’s going on: your body is undergoing an inflammatory response, but you can’t even tell.
This sort of inflammation is at the heart of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease—even cancer—but it’s also common for people with weight issues or those leading a high-stress life.
Oxidative stress, meanwhile, occurs when our bodies cannot maintain a balance between free radicals and the antioxidants needed to neutralize them.
Diet, lifestyle, environmental factors, and other conditions can all contribute to this process. It’s important to note that oxidative stress is a natural part of the aging process, but it can also contribute to a variety of health problems.
Here is the best anti-inflammatory diet food list that you can include in your day to get amazing antioxidant benefits to help support an anti-inflammatory diet.
If you’ve spent any amount of time on Raw Nutritional’s website, you’re probably already familiar with chlorella.
Chlorella is a highly nutritious superfood that packs in a ton of nutrients and antioxidants to help keep you healthy. In fact, the antioxidants in chlorella can even help prevent cholesterol issues.
What are those antioxidants? You’ve got chlorophyll, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, all of which help prevent chronic disease.
Basically, these antioxidants help balance out some of the chronic inflammation issues people experience.
Who doesn’t love cocoa—er, cacao?
As tempting as it might be to stock up on cocoa powder, it’s the raw cacao that’s got all the real health benefits without the added sugar.
Cacao’s jam-packed with polyphenols, which directly help reduce inflammation while improving blood flow. These antioxidants also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Did you know? When it comes to chocolate, more cacao means more antioxidant capacity.
There’s a lot of talks out there about the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate and wine, both separate and together, but neither can hold a candle to raw cacao powder. Cacao has several beneficial effects that you can easily take advantage of with a few smart swaps.
Everyone’s got a favorite: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries, no matter which one you choose, you’re in for a good number of antioxidants.
Berries include anthocyanins, helpful antioxidants known for helping fight off inflammation, and in fact, it is these antioxidants that give berries their distinctive vibrant colors.
Berries are, in fact, total champs when it comes to antioxidants—not only do they help reduce existing inflammation, they also train the cells in our body to respond better to future inflammation.
Make sure to toss a handful of berries into your morning smoothie to take advantage of everything they have to offer!
When you think of avocado, there are probably two things that come to mind: healthy fats and millennials.
Okay, so we won’t go after millennials here, but they’re definitely onto something when it comes to avocados and healthy fats.
A single avocado is loaded with monosaturated fats that help soothe inflamed joints. What’s more, they also pack in vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and more potassium than a banana.
That’s worth taking note of: potassium helps our kidneys flush out sodium, which exacerbates inflammation. While it’s the fats that might help in long-term oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, the potassium can support an anti-inflammatory diet more immediately.
5 – Broccoli and Cruciferous Veggies
Broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, such as cauliflower, maca, and Brussels sprouts, are all packed with antioxidants and vitamins.
Broccoli is a great source of sulforaphane, which has protective effects against cancer. But sulforaphane also helps our bodies detoxify potentially harmful environmental chemicals that can trigger inflammation.
Basically, if you’re looking to push back against oxidative stress, then you’ve got to get some broccoli into your diet! You also can’t go wrong with most cruciferous veggies in general.
Looking to support an anti-inflammatory diet but have trouble getting more fruit and veggies into your diet? Look no further than Raw Nutritional! We carry a full range of organic powders that can help you support an anti-inflammatory diet.
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