Beat inflammation, the greengrocer's way

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 CompoundMajor Food Source
Magnesium Dark leafy greens
TurmericWhole spice
Beta Carotene Dark leafy greens
Vitamin AEgg yolk
TeaBlack/green or red leaves
Fibre Vegetables
Legumes and Pulses
QuercetinDark cherries and berries
Cruciferous veggies
Wine Red Wine
LuteolinFresh Herbs
Dried Oregeno
Vitamin EAvocado
Nuts and Seeds
Omega 3 fats Salmon
Chia seeds
Vitamin D VitD mushrooms
Oily fish
Egg yolk
Vitamin C Citrus fruits, Kiwi fruit, Guava, Green leafy veggies
ZincOysters,Fresh meat, Fish and Seafood
Vitamin B6Chicken, fish, eggs, oats, walnuts
GarlicWhole cloves
Niacin Meat, eggs
Folate Green leafy veg, nuts, wholegrains, avocado and bananas
Ginger Whole spice
SaffronWhole spice
DaidzeinTofu and soy bean
Riboflavin Dairy products, poultry, fish, asparagus, and dark leafy greens
CyanidinBlueberries, 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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