by Ruth A. McKinney, D.C.
Many health problems currently plague our society. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis are some of the most prevalent. Fortunately, these issues can be improved with lifestyle changes. You will be instantly healthier with just a 10% reduction in weight. Inflammation in the body has been directly linked to these diseases. Including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet is key to improving the situation.
Green is good! Start by adding green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collards, and swiss chard. Add them to salads and soup for a boost of vitamins A, C, and K to protect your body from oxidative stress.
The antioxidants in bok choy help to scavenge free radicals that can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues. Bok choy contains over seventy antioxidants as well as being packed with vitamins and minerals. Sauté it with onions, mushrooms and garlic; chop it and add to your salad; roast it, or add it to soups.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve probably eaten celery. This much-maligned vegetable is actually packed with benefits. It’s anti-inflammatory, and is a good source of potassium (which helps to flush out toxins from the body), vitamins, and antioxidants. It helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fights heart disease. The seeds are even anti-bacterial. Enjoy it with chips and salsa, or add to salad for extra crunch.
Broccoli is a well-known staple for clean eating. A high mineral content allows it to be both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Use it raw in salads, and steamed or roasted with seasoning as a great side for meat.
Beets don’t sound boss, but they pack a punch as a great inflammation fighter. Their bright color is a good indicator of their power as an antioxidant. Prepare them by steaming, roasting, or sautéing them.
For good memory, eat blueberries. They contain an antioxidant that fights inflammation and cancer. Additionally, blueberries help to slow cognitive loss, keeping deficits in memory to a minimum. Their beautiful color and natural sweetness make them perfect for snacks or dessert.
Spices like turmeric and ginger are good immune system modulators as well as being inflammation reducing. Ginger also helps with digestion and cleanses the lymphatic system. These spices have a strong flavor so use them sparingly at first until you get used to them.
An anti-inflammatory diet goes hand in hand with healthy eating. Adhere to the “white diet” and avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates like bread and cookies, ice cream, potatoes, and rice. The brighter the color of the food, the healthier it’s likely to be. Less inflammation in the body means less pain and a greater ability to live life more fully.