Do you know what health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and high blood pressure all have in common? They are all tied to inflammation! Research has found that inflammation is the root cause for many of our health problems that millions of people suffer with on a daily basis.
So how does inflammation develop in our bodies? A large part of our health is based on what foods we are eating. Thus, processed and sugary foods such as donuts, sodas, chips, or fried foods (to name a few) are a huge contributor to inflammation in our bodies. Other factors that can increase inflammation include a high stress lifestyle, lack of adequate sleep, smoking, excessive alcohol use, and toxins from household cleaners and body products.
What can we do to reduce inflammation in our bodies? A great place to start is by looking at the foods you are eating on a daily basis. Begin by incorporating the five anti-inflammatory foods listed below to combat inflammation and start healing your body from the inside out.
Top Five Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
1. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, Brussels sprouts and asparagus are filled with Vitamin E; a natural antioxidant which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. In addition, research has found that increasing consumption of green vegetables may help reduce your risk for certain types of cancers. Helpful Tip: When it comes to green vegetables, the darker the color, the more nutrients it contains.
Ways to add it to your day: Try adding green vegetables such as broccoli or asparagus to your morning omelet, spinach or kale to a protein smoothie, or roast them in the oven and simply eat as a side dish.
2. Bone Broth is a nutrient-dense drink that helps to reduce intestinal inflammation, and enhance nutrient absorption in the body. Studies have also found bone broth helps support bone health, promotes a healthy digestive tract, and may even help fight infections such as the cold or flu.
Ways to add it to your day: Make this simple homemade bone broth recipe and use in place of store-bought broth, or simply heat up and drink a cup of broth in the morning.
Simple Bone Broth Recipe:
- 2 pounds of chicken bones (organic is best)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Directions: Add the bones and vegetables to a large crockpot. Fill crockpot to the top with filtered water. Add apple cider vinegar and cook on low for 8-24 hours (the longer you cook it for, the more nutrients it provides!) Once done, strain broth and store in the refrigerator for 1 week, or pour leftover broth into ice cube trays and freeze.
3. Flax seeds and Chia Seeds: These seeds are filled with anti-inflammatory and heart healthy nutrients such as Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin E and C, and lignans. They are also a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber which is useful for flushing out toxins in the body.
Ways to add it to your day: Sprinkle flax seeds or chia seeds on top of salads, add to smoothies or yogurt, add to stews to act as a thickener, or mix into nut butters.
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a natural antioxidant component that has been shown to reduce pain, improve blood sugar, promote positive moods, and even help with weight management. When buying olive oil make sure it says “extra virgin” on the label, is in a dark-tinted glass bottle, and has the International Olive Oil Council seal to help ensure it is high quality.
Ways to add it to your day: Use as a dressing for salads or use in cooking (just make sure to keep the heat to low-medium though since olive oil cannot tolerate high heat).
5. Spices such as garlic, turmeric, and ginger are not only a great addition for cooking, they are also filled with antioxidants! Other benefits of these spices may include an improvement in skin, digestive issues, and brain health.
Ways to add it to your day: Add garlic to eggs, or roasted vegetables, turmeric to soups or rice, and ginger to tea or marinates.
Would you like to learn more about reducing inflammation and improving your nutrition? Schedule a dietary appointment today!
Health and Happiness,
Autumn Enloe, MS, RD, LD
Live Your LifeTM
Bringing Physical Therapy & Wellness to You!
Autumn Enloe is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who holds a Master’s degree in Food and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Autumn has worked with hundreds of clients on areas such as weight management, blood sugar support, gut health, mindful eating, and food sensitivities. She applies a holistic approach to nutrition and knows that our health is based on much more than just what we eat.