Inflammation: Friend or Foe? Part 2

Tracy Cook, NP-C

Tracy Cook, NP-C

Last month we talked about foods that cause inflammation and this month we will discuss the top ten foods to eat that help with inflammation. Remember to add to your daily diet if inflammation to joints, heart disease or weight are a problem for you.

Berries: Berries contain a class of antioxidants called flavonoids, but it’s the anthocyanins, specifically, that contribute their anti-inflammatory effects by effectively turning off inflammatory and immune genes. And when it comes to anthocyanins, blueberries are king.

Ginger: Researchers attribute ginger’s health benefits to gingerols, compounds that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-disease.

Green Tea: These benefits stem from catechins, the group of antioxidants concentrated in the leaves of tea plants. And the most powerful of all catechins, a compound called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is found almost exclusively in green tea. These anti-inflammatory properties have also been implicated in preventing the development and growth of skin tumors.

Cocoa: A study at Louisiana State University found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate into heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory compounds that shut down genes linked to insulin resistance and inflammation. So, eat more dark chocolate! Yum.

Peppers: An anti-inflammatory superfood—but go red to reap the most benefits. Out of the three colors of bell pepper, red have the highest amount of inflammatory-biomarker-reducing vitamin C along with the bioflavonoids beta-carotene, quercetin and luteolin, according to research in the Journal of Food Science.

Turmeric: Curcumin, the active compound in Turmeric, has been implicated in a range of beneficial health effects, from preventing cognitive decline, liver damage, and heart disease, while easing joint inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.

Beets: Besides being a source of many phytochemicals, including ascorbic acid, carotenoids and flavonoids, beets are a unique source of betalain pigments, which have been found to display potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemo preventive activity.

Chia Seeds: With nine grams of healthy fats (including inflammation-quelling ALA omega-3s) alongside a whopping 11 grams of fiber and four grams of protein per ounce, chia seeds can stabilize blood sugar, boost weight loss, suppress appetite, and even help keep your body hydrated throughout the day. Put them all together, and you have an inflammation-fighting superfood.

Pineapple: Bromelain, found in pineapples, has been found to be beneficial in reducing asthmatic symptoms through decreasing the spread of proinflammatory metabolites and relieving post-exercise inflammation by helping to repair and resolve muscle soreness through its significant levels of potassium.

Spinach: Spinach attacks inflammation from all sides. It’s rich in carotenoids, and vitamins C, E, and K—all of which have been found to protect the body from pro-inflammatory cytokines.

There are many more foods that can help with inflammation. Talk to your Health Care Practitioner if inflammation is a problem for you. A healthy diet rich in the above foods will help with your inflammation as well as an active life style and positive attitude.

Tracy Cook is an Adult Nurse Practitioner who owns and operates her private medical practice: Adult Health Services, is a resident of Robson Ranch and a Living Well committee member. For any questions or more information please visit her website