By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
There's a lot more talk these days about inflammation and how it affects the body over and above painful joints. Inflammation long associated with allergic conditions, such as asthma, arthritis and Crohn's disease is now recognised as the underlying basis of a significant number of diseases according to researchers at the Centre for Integrative Medicine. Researchers today now associate Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson's disease with chronic inflammation in the body and diet ( I should say, a poor diet) contributes greatly to inflammation. There is also some evidence to suggest that chronic inflammation may be associated with depression and a more recent study has emerged which suggests that inflammation has a significant effect on bone density.
What are anti-inflammatory foods?
With emphasis of fresh vegetables, and anti-inflammatory is rich in whole grains, fish, fruit and green vegetables, moderate alcohol and olive oil and small amounts of red meat and butter. Delve deeper into the constituents in foods which make them anti-inflammatory and you'll find a list below from the food anti-inflammatory index and where these constituents are found. Those listed at the top are the most anti-inflammatory.
Note that nowhere on the list is sugar, processed carbohydrates, burgers, chips and pizza. But you knew that anyway right?
You don't need to know the list below off by heart but it is useful to know, for example, what foods are a good source of magnesium. The Food Guru is a useful resource if you want to find foods rich in the micronutrients below although the search function doesn't include the flavonoid antioxidants such as quercetin, and Luteolin both of which are found - surprise surprise, in natural plant foods.
|Food Compound||Major Food Source |
|Magnesium ||Dark leafy greens|
|Turmeric||Whole spice |
|Beta Carotene ||Dark leafy greens |
|Vitamin A||Egg yolk|
|Tea||Black/green or red leaves |
|Fibre ||Vegetables |
Legumes and Pulses
|Quercetin||Dark cherries and berries |
|Wine ||Red Wine |
|Luteolin||Fresh Herbs |
|Vitamin E||Avocado |
Nuts and Seeds
|Omega 3 fats ||Salmon |
|Vitamin D ||VitD mushrooms |
|Vitamin C ||Citrus fruits, Kiwi fruit, Guava, Green leafy veggies |
|Zinc||Oysters,Fresh meat, Fish and Seafood|
|Vitamin B6||Chicken, fish, eggs, oats, walnuts |
|Garlic||Whole cloves |
|Niacin ||Meat, eggs |
|Folate ||Green leafy veg, nuts, wholegrains, avocado and bananas |
|Ginger ||Whole spice |
|Saffron||Whole spice |
|Daidzein||Tofu and soy bean|
|Riboflavin ||Dairy products, poultry, fish, asparagus, and dark leafy greens|
|Cyanidin||Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries |
|Epicatechin ||Cocoa and dark chocolate |
|Thiamin ||Wholegrains, nuts and seeds |
|Selenium ||Brazil nuts |
|Protein ||Lean meat, chicken, eggs, white fish, legumes |
|Caffeine ||Coffee |
|Iron ||Oysters, Red meat, Octopus |
The foods listed in the table above are not the only sources of these anti-inflammatory compounds but they are some of the best sources which, you can see when you scan down the list, are mostly available from your local greengrocer. It's an old story told a different way: A fresh natural diet is loaded in micronutrients; which are the minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that your body responds positively to.
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