Chronic inflammation continues to threaten the lives of millions worldwide. Today, people are suffering from illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disorders, cancers and other inflammatory ailments including familial Mediterranean fever. Developing countries are especially prone to such illnesses and often die from various cancers. Many studies today have shown that lifestyle choices, especially foods we consume every day, can greatly impact the rate of illnesses.
A well-balanced diet can help fight many of the illnesses people are faced with every day. Some of these foods have anti-inflammatory compounds, which can deter the body from such diseases. As a result, avoiding inflammatory promoting foods and consuming more natural anti-inflammatory foods will greatly reduce the number of illnesses. It’s time to create the perfect anti-inflammatory shopping list with this ultimate guide.
Organic versus non-organic food
Before you start buying food, it is important to understand organic and non-organic foods. If you can buy organic, this is the kind of food you want in your diet. It does not matter if the foods are fresh, frozen, liquid or something in between.
Organic food is produced without additives. There are no chemicals to help you get bigger or antibiotics that are used in the sources that get into you. No pesticides are used to protect against animals and there are no harmful toxins that affect your body. In short, organic is completely natural and fresh and gives you all the benefits of the nutrients without the harmful extras.
The only disadvantage with organic it is more expensive. If you want to keep costs down, it may be worthwhile visiting a farmers market. Talk to the farmers to find out what types of chemicals or preservatives they use in their vegetables and fruits; even shop by the “Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen” shopping list.
One of the best diets for an anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean Diet. This includes foods that are full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These types of nutrients are the elements that reduce inflammation in the body. They send the right signals to the immune system, support it and prevent healthy body elements from being attacked.
The omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants also help protect the cells. Cells naturally die or become damaged over time. If you get the right nutrition, you can prevent free radicals from invading and cell structure as the cells repair and regrow. Another big advantage of the Mediterranean diet is the departure from processed junk food. The Mediterranean diet is all about healthy and natural foods.
“Eating a Mediterranean-style diet has been linked to a number of health benefits, including Prevention and/or reversal of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes,” writes Dr. Joseph Mercola on his article: Why the Mediterranean Diet is so Successful.
The perfect anti-inflammatory shopping list
Here is the grocery list you want to consider to fight inflammation in your body. Add more of these delicious, natural anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to promote healthy habits in yourself and your family:
Vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits of green and bright color help the process of inflammatory conditions. Vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants such as vitamins, minerals, fiber which the body needs every day to stay healthy. There are many varieties, per example, squash, sweet potatoes, avocados, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables. All of these have many antioxidants, phytochemicals and anti-inflammatory properties present.
Also rich in anti-inflammatory foods are olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, salmon, and sardines, and avocados. Most contain omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for inflammation and joint health. The acid from omega 3 is an inflammatory agent that changes into prostaglandins which is a hormone-like substance. Omega 3 is not only beneficial for joint pain and inflammation, but it is also important for health in general. We only can get omega from our diet, therefore it is important to include some of the healthy oils such as olive, coconut, macadamia, and krill, which is stronger than fish oil. There are many options of foods available which contain a variety of omega. If you are not lactose intolerant, then cheese used are mainly from sheep and goats milk – such as feta.
Choose the Right Oil
Olive oil has more health benefits than most people realize. Make sure to use it in your diet as much as possible. Olive oil is high in antioxidants and is containing a substance called oleuropein. Medical science has discovered that extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest foods we can add to our diet. This oil is most helpful and effective for arthritis sufferers because it can cool inflammation and ease joint pain. However, for cooking, frying, baking etc. use only coconut or macadamia nut oil. Other oils when heated become toxic and usually turn into trans fats which can trigger inflammation and joint pain, as well as other health issues. Avoid these oils: Vegetable oils, soybean, canola, these are the more common ones most people know about because of the names. Yes, they have a healthy sounding name, but they are not healthy. More about Anti-inflammatory living: How to Start on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Do’s and Don’ts
Herbs and Spices
Turmeric would be on top of the list in reducing inflammation and joint pain. As well turmeric has compound curcumin which is known for many health benefits and has the power to cure joint pain. It is best used in its natural powdery form and added to your diet when possible, the more the better. Other important spices used for reducing inflammation are cinnamon, rosemary, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, and caraway and oregano. These are high in polyphenols and bioflavonoids which help to reduce inflammation as well as fight off free radicals. Cayenne pepper is also known for its anti-inflammatory property and its capsicum content which is added to some creams for pain relief.
Grains, Nuts, and Seeds
Whole grains which contain complex carbohydrates can also help in preventing spikes in the sugar level of the blood, as it is known that sugar promotes inflammation. However, use only unrefined whole grains, once processing has taken places all the goodness is lost, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Among the best grains are oats: Whole oats, Kamut, quinoa, couscous, and Bulgar. The best seeds to add to your diet are chia, flaxseed, pumpkin and hemp seeds. Don’t forget nuts; which contain lots of nutrients and good fats to boost brain health such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pine nuts. To take a multi supplement is of benefit, it can fill the spot of some foods you otherwise may not get from your diet as needed daily. However, your first priority must always be a healthy clean diet, only then when taking a supplement you will get the best value.
Top 5 Benefits of Following the Mediterranean Diet:
- Good Heart Health
While following a Mediterranean diet each anti-inflammatory recipe help promoting good heart health. The Mediterranean diet consists of healthy doses of olive oil, fruits and vegetables, and oily fish.
- Lower Blood Pressure
The healthy foods in a Mediterranean diet can also work to lower and regulate blood pressure. Blood cholesterol levels can return to normal when eating less fatty foods and salt, and more healthy vitamins and minerals.
- Fast Weight Loss
One of the key benefits of the Mediterranean diet is fast weight loss. Weight loss rates will vary, but some have reported losing an average of 10 pounds per month.
- Lower Cancer Risks
Having too many toxins in the body can cause some types of cancer, such as breast cancer. Eating the types of healthy foods promoted in the Mediterranean diet such as fruits and vegetables can increase different types of antioxidants and lower the risk of cancer.
- Prevent Gallstones
With around 639,000 people being hospitalized per year with gallstones, many studies are being conducted to help find a cause and cure. The Mediterranean diet is rich in nuts, vegetable oil, and fish.
Following a clean eating lifestyle such as the Mediterranean diet provide many health benefits such as reducing the risks of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other life-threatening diseases.