The Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Include in Your Diet

The more we learn about inflammation in the body, the more we realize it’s extremely important to take steps to avoid it. Inflammation is believed to be tied to many types of chronic illness, so taking every step you can to prevent it can be a huge step forward in your health. One of the easiest ways to do this is to assess your diet and make sure the foods you eat are doing everything they can to help. Here are some foods to start including in your regular diet to reduce inflammation and keep your body whole and healthy.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens often make it to the top of many different healthy diet lists, and for good reason. Leafy greens are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. This doesn’t mean you have to stick with spinach, however— some other great options include kale, arugula, collard greens, kale, and mustard greens. You can enjoy them in a salad or cooked with your other favorite veggies. Don’t like leafy greens all that much? Try putting them in a fresh fruit smoothie instead.

Pineapple

Pineapple is full of bromelain, an enzyme found in the digestive system that helps regulate your body’s immune response when unnecessary inflammation is present. Among other things, bromelain is also great for your heart’s health and has plenty of vitamins and minerals (vitamin C and B1), potassium, and small amounts of manganese (which helps in activating enzymes to destroy free radicals).

Cherries

Tart cherries, whether whole or in their juice form, have been the subject of a lot of study for their anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, some studies have shown it has the highest anti-inflammatory potential of most foods, and can reduce pain from arthritis and post-workout soreness. If it’s too tart for you, consider adding some tart cherry juice to some yogurt or a smoothie.

Turmeric

Curcumin, which is the primary compound in turmeric, has loads of anti-inflammatory benefits— especially when measured against over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen. This can mean it can be an effective way to manage conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and other joint conditions without the detriments of regularly taking pills. Turmeric is a spice, meaning you can easily add it to your favorite meals.

Papaya 

The black seeds inside papaya have some great anti-inflammatory properties. With loads of vitamin C (more than an orange) and beta carotene, it also contains papain, a digestive enzyme similar to bromelain. Papaya can be tasty along with some yogurt or cottage cheese (or added to a smoothie), but you can also enjoy it with just a spoon.

Wild-Caught, Fatty Fish

Wild-caught fish like salmon or trout can be an excellent source of omega-3s, which are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. Omega-3s can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and arthritis, and they are also extremely important for cognitive function in the brain. When shopping for fish, always ensure it’s wild-caught since farmed fish won’t come with the same nutrients. If wild-caught fish is hard to find in your area or is outside your budget, consider adding fish oil supplements to your daily routine.

Chia and Flax

Chia and flax seeds are another good source of omega-3s that don’t come from meat. Additionally, they come with a powerhouse combination of essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B, E, and D; and minerals like iron, iodine, and magnesium. They can also be effective at reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. Consider grinding them with a coffee grinder before adding them to your favorite foods so your digestive tract can easily get their benefits.

Blueberries

Blueberries contain quercetin, which has some great anti-inflammatory benefits and is usually found in dark-colored berries. Blueberries have also been studied as a way to manage inflammatory bowel disease, as well as a way to slow cognitive decline and improve memory. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, so be sure to add these to your favorite meals.

Beets 

Another food that is full of antioxidants because of its deep color is beets. Beets can help repair cell damage caused by inflammation because of the antioxidant betalain. Additionally, beets contain high levels of potassium and magnesium (and magnesium deficiency has been linked with inflammatory conditions). Magnesium is vital in processing calcium, so make sure to include fresh beets in your diet if you have high levels of calcium.

Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil can be an easy and essential replacement for the oils or butter you regularly use in your cooking. Especially when paired with turmeric, it can pack a powerful and healthy punch for your regular diet. From a study in India, where coconut oil is common, the antioxidants in virgin coconut oil reduced inflammation and reduced arthritis more effectively than many medications.

Schedule an Appointment

Optimizing your diet is an easy and effective way to help and heal your body. If you’re looking for the best ways to manage inflammation through the latest in regenerative medicine, schedule an appointment to meet with our experts at our Kirkland office. We invite you to call or fill out our online form so our patient coordinators can get in touch.

Boosting Your Gut-Brain Superhighway: A Guide

When you learn about the different systems in your body in school, it’s common to think of them as separate, distinct islands. However, this isn’t always the case. Your body’s different systems have a lot of complex interconnectedness. One area where this is most obvious is the relationship between your gut and your brain. You experience this every time you get butterflies in your stomach or have a gut feeling about something. However, it goes beyond just metaphors. Problems like nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach knots can be caused by stress responses, meaning your gut is directly tied to your emotional well being. Things like hormones and chemical signaling keep this bi-directional relationship alive and well, and it can be an extremely important one. Neglecting one side of this relationship can greatly affect the other, so it’s important to know how to optimize this superhighway for your best health.

Why is the Gut-Brain Superhighway important?

A huge amount of nerve cells connect the central nervous system to your gastrointestinal tract. This is because your brain is constantly monitoring your digestive functions by adjusting blood flow, metabolism, and intestinal mucus. In turn, your gut provides feedback about levels of fullness and whether you’ve ingested any dangerous cells.

It’s believed that this relationship is key to the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These are essential to brain health and certain psychiatric conditions. In some studies performed on mice, an absence of gut microbes was associated with poor gut function, memory dysfunction, inflammation, higher pain levels, and altered expressions of neurotransmitters.

Although this can seem scary, the good news is that poor gut health can be easily addressed through a healthy diet and some lifestyle changes. Here are some ways to optimize your gut health to ensure your brain works the best it can.

Avoid gut irritation and inflammation

There are a lot of foods that are known to produce irritation in the gut, so it’s important to limit or remove these offenders. This might include cutting out alcohol, processed foods, and sugar, as well as limiting lifestyle factors like stress or taking certain medications. Dairy and gluten often produce irritation and increased inflammation and these foods can really wreak havoc on the gut lining, leading to chronic pain and illness. It’s important to eat a diet low in inflammatory foods like theses to ensure whole body wellness.

Heal your gut lining

Your small intestine has a protective lining that ensures the environment of your gut is ideal and protects it from the rest of the body (and vice versa!). This lining prevents things like food particles and bacteria from entering the blood stream, so it’s important to keep this lining healthy and robust. When the gut lining gets ill and inflamed, toxins can often pass through little openings in the wall of the intestine, causing illness. Eating whole, unprocessed foods that are high in fiber can be ideal, as well as protein and healthy fats. It is also very important to supplement a high-quality probiotic, with soil-based microbes to promote a healthy colony of gut flora, to protect the gut lining.

Help your gut microbes

Your gut has a complex ecosystem of microbes and bacteria that help digest and keep your gut healthy. It’s important that these cells have everything they need to function, meaning foods that are especially beneficial to them are important to include in your diet. Prebiotic foods like garlic, leeks, onion, and artichokes can help nourish your existing microbes. Probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha can help further boost the number of microbes. Incorporating these foods into your diet can ensure the inhabitants of your gut are healthy and effective.

Schedule an Appointment

Optimizing your health can require a lot of steps, so it’s important to partner with whole-body health experts who can help guide you to the right lifestyle changes. At Axis Stem Cell Institute, we believe that a healthy lifestyle and regenerative medicine go hand-in-hand. To meet with our experts and learn more about a healthy, pain-free lifestyle, contact our Kirkland office by calling or filling out our online form.