Over eight years ago, when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, herniated discs, and advanced degenerative disc disease, I was unaware that my diet was linked to my inflammation. Had I realized that holistic nutrition could increase my wellness, I would have started fighting back to regain my health sooner. The lesson learned: You are never too old, too far gone, or too disabled to reclaim your body and mind!
Along my recovering journey, I discovered the connection between our health and the foods we eat. Through trial and error, I gained insight into reducing my inflammation through soothing teas, essential oils, and healing foods that are anti-inflammatory. Before I share my top foods that fight inflammation, let's first cover some of the ingredients that are known to increase inflammation. If your body hurts all over, you may want to reduce or avoid the following foods that cause inflammation:
- Gluten (wheat, rye, oats, spelt, & barley)
- White breads, cereals, and pasta
- Vegetable oils and hydrogenated oils
- Fast food
My top tip for fighting inflammation: Eat real, whole, plant-based foods! This may sound easier said than done, especially if you are a sugar lover or fan of fast food restaurants. One idea is to practice 'Meatless Mondays', make homemade smoothies to increase essential nutrients and enzymes into your daily routine, or to start having fun creating healthy recipes using tasty seasonings that are anti-inflammatory.
Hint: Plenty of the ingredients on the list below may be tossed into your Nutri-Bullet or blender when you make healthy smoothies. If you do not like vegetables, such as kale or spinach, add your favorite fruit in with one of these veggies to conceal the taste. No kidding, it taste delicious!
My top inflammation fighting foods:
- Blueberries - My earliest memories of enjoying blueberries goes way back to when my dad took my sisters and I blueberry picking up north in Michigan. What I didn't know then was that blueberries are antioxidants and filled with anti-inflammatory benefits that can do wonders for our body and mind.
- Turmeric - This bright yellow spice and medicinal herb has been used in India for thousands of years. Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant. When cooking with turmeric, I add black pepper, which helps enhance absorption.
- Dark Leafy Greens - If you are hoping to lose weight, consider adding dark leafy greens into your daily diet. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in green leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and Swiss chard. Amazingly, the quercetin contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which is great for our wellness and conquering allergies.
- Ginger - Ginger is commonly used to treat various types of stomach ailments, including a tummy ache, nausea, dizziness, morning sickness, motion sickness, and other digestive issues. Additional health benefits include weight loss because ginger acts as a fat burner and can help you feel full so you reduce your overall caloric intake. Ginger can also help reduce inflammation, relieve achy muscles, and help the body absorb nutrients. There are a wide variety of options for consuming the herb ginger root, including the actual plant, pure essential oil, soothing tea, natural herbal supplement, or the ginger seasoning to use when you cook.
- Onions - According to the Arthritis Foundation, "Onions are low in calories, have virtually no fat, and are loaded with healthful components that fight inflammation in arthritis and related conditions."
- Garlic - Although garlic is potent and is known to cause nasty bad breath following a savory meal, it has excellent health benefits. Garlic has long been a folk remedy for colds and illness, and its anti-inflammatory properties are amazing! In addition, garlic contains sulfur compounds that can stimulate your immune system to fight disease. A few options for consuming garlic include the actual plant, herbal supplements, or pure garlic essential oil. Keep in mind, not all essential oil brands are created equal. Therefore, research each brand to determine the safest one to orally digest or add a few drops to your favorite dish.
- Sweet Cherries - There has been conflicting controversy on sweet cherries versus tart cherries, but through my research I discovered that sweet cherries contain a unique set of antioxidants; Anthocyanin Glycosides, which give sweet cherries their rich, deep red shade. This compound also provides anti-inflammatory properties. One fascinating benefit that I have personally experienced is that sweet cherries contain the antioxidant melatonin, which can have a calming effect and may help promote better sleep. Of course, each person will respond differently, but I am loving this extra perk!
- Avocados - Avocados are a wonderful superfood with a rich flavor and impressive list of benefits, including they are abundant in the prime antioxidants vitamin C and E, and they contain good levels of vitamin B. The buttery green pulp of the fruit has great sources of minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, and zinc. Lastly, avocados are a powerful source of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acids.
Medical Disclaimer: This blog is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. It shall not take the place of a medical evaluation, diagnosis, and/or treatment. The contents in this blog is for educational purposes only and to build awareness. This information does not constitute medical advice and the accuracy of the information is not guaranteed. Furthermore, individuals are recommended to seek professional medical assistance in the event they are suffering mental health and/or medical conditions. The natural alternatives and recipes on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or disorder. The author assumes no responsibility or liability for claims arising from the use of the recipes and natural options contained on this website.