As mentioned in my article explaining what Inflammation is earlier this week (SEE HERE), Inflammation is at the start of many chronic diseases, from the smaller to the most harmful ones.
Your lifestyle choices can play an essential role in the way your body deals with it. Give your body what it needs, so that it can function, repair and heal the way it is supposed to. “Let Food be the medicine”, said Hippocrates. This sentence should be written at the front door of all clinics and hospitals today…!
Nutrition plays obviously a crucial part. But I would like to make a point: Food by itself is ESSENTIAL, but not enough. You have to know how to sleep in a way that will help your body repair and recover. You have to know how to move your body, in a way that will not increase your stress levels, especially when you are already at the edge (what I mean is: CrossFit classes are not good for everyone…! Focus on functional movements, resistance training and not just Cardio exercises, breathing techniques, Tai Chi, Xi-Gong… you have to be knowledgeable in the type of exercise you choose if you don’t want to make things worse!). And you have to know yourself, you have to be aligned with your core values and search for this happiness and peace that are within you as often as possible. Those are holistic principles that I focus on with all my clients, because they are the basics for a healthy, happy, balanced life.
But here I would like to make an easy-to-read (I know people don’t like long explanations..;-) ) Top 10 foods and supplements list that I think can truly help you heal, decrease and/or prevent inflammation. Those are all foods that you should include in your regular meal plan. Don’t worry, I truly think that they are all super tasty :-)
1. Spices and Herbs
Spices and Herbs are potent meal supplements that can have a true impact on your overall nutritional intake. You can find some healing spices and herbs for almost any ailments. Some studies have shown that those ones are the most powerful to decrease and/or prevent inflammation, after a daily intake of 0.5-1 tsp only (so no pills here! Just great fresh organic natural sources and aliments). These are my Top 7 of the list:
I have already talked in details about most of them (see the related links for the relevant blog articles). But it is important to vary the foods you are eating. Have turmeric sometimes, ginger the other days, then sage etc. Rotating your food is mostly important, as you can become sensitive to a food that you have been having too much for a long period of time (even if it is a healthy food, if you don’t rotate your overall nutrition, you can develop a sensitivity that triggers inflammation…).
2. Animal-based Omega-3
Omega-3s have been proven to be highly anti-inflammatory molecules. They are Essential Fatty Acids: it means that they are a type of fats (Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids) that our body cannot produce itself. Therefore, it is crucial to have the right amount of Omega-3s through food and nutrition. They work together with the Omega-6s in an ideal balanced ratio of 1:1. Unfortunately today, this ratio is in average closer to 1:12 or even 1:24 in some cases! And this imbalance can be the start of an inflammation state in all your body. This is simply because processed foods are higher in Omega-6s.
As Humans, our body recognizes and absorbs Omega-3s from animal sources better than from plant sources. Fatty fish (like mackerels, sardines, wild-caught Alaskan salmon…), Krill oil, shellfish, cod liver oil, organic grass-fed meat (conventional meat is inflammatory, so be selective in your food choices!) are some of the best sources.
3. Dark Leafy Greens
Those leafy greens, when ORGANIC, are a treasure for our health. They are full of powerful anti-oxidants that help your body heal, detox, cleanse and fight off the detrimental free-radicals produced on a daily basis. Think of (ORGANIC) spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard… Add some cruciferous like broccoli to the mix and you are set. Again, rotate the foods you are eating. Sometimes spinach, sometimes courgettes, asparagus, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, etc… If you are into JUICING, that is fine but it has to be done correctly with balanced ratio of fats in it. Please READ MY ARTICLE ABOUT JUICING HERE before ruining your experience!
Your health starts in your gut…. And your gut flora is part of the deal. An imbalanced ratio of good and bad bacteria in your gut can literally impact all processes of your body. Fermented Vegetables are an incredible natural tasty source of probiotics that will help you restore and take care of your gut flora, making you stronger for all future harmful invaders. Read my article about it and start including them in your daily meal plan. My favorites are: kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, but you can also have natto, olives, kombucha…
5. Shiitake mushrooms
If you are into mushrooms, choose those ones! They are very rich in strong compounds which are able to discourage inflammation naturally (mainly ergothioneine, which inhibits oxidative stress). They are also rich in a nutrient that we don’t find easily in our foods: copper (copper helps protect your cardio-vascular health more particularly). Add them to your salads, soups, grilled vegetables… Again, being creative and changing the foods we eat is key.
In you don’t like the smell of it, especially after you have eaten it…. Well get over it :-) Garlic is a nutrient-dense house, very rich in antioxidants with anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Its proven anti-inflammatory effect is mainly due to its sulfur-containing compounds, especially allicin. Mixed raw in your salads or smoothie or juice is a great way to have it in. Always choose a clean natural organic source, as garlic is a highly chemical-sprayed food (and this distorts all the natural benefits you could have from it).
Tart Cherries are amongst the most powerful Nature’s antioxidants. Amongst World’s Superfoods, they are ranked at the 14th position (out of 50) in the Top best ORAC ingredients (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). It simply means that they have the powerful ability to inhibit free-radicals and other inflammatory processes. If you want a concentrated form of it, I recommend you choose this all Organic clean natural tart cherries juice, and have your sweet treat every night before sleeping, as it will help balance your circadian rhythm and you will get a deeper, more repairing and recovering sleep all at the same time:
If you are in UK/Europe: click here
If you are in the US: click here
8. Coconut Oil
This is definitely one of my go-to, for most of health problems I know…. Read THIS ARTICLE to understand how powerful coconut oil really is. And yes, if your body is in an inflammatory state at the moment, it might be good to help it by adding some more of it in your daily nutrition. You can’t go wrong by adding 1-5 Tbsp to your daily food intake. Whether it is your digestive system, your immune system, your hormones… all your body will be grateful to you for this. Choose it raw, organic, extra-virgin and fair trade. And there you have true magic in a jar.
Astaxanthin is 550 times more powerful than Vitamin E, and 6000 times more powerful than Vitamin C. Natural salmon contains some as well (which gives it this bright red color), but you would have to eat at least 16 ounces (about 450g) to get a therapeutic benefit from it. This is an incredible highly-potent natural antioxidant that I would recommend to anyone. Again, the source you are having it from is essential. This is where I take mine from, and that I recommend to all my clients:
If you are in UK/Europe: buy it here
If you are in the US: buy it here
10. Other foods to add (all organic of course…)
I am thinking of raw soaked walnuts, blueberries, avocados, Matcha tea, bok choy, celery, pineapple, and bone broth of course….
Go back to what nature gives us. Get familiar with those foods. Appreciate the benefits they will give you, and enjoy getting back in touch with your body. By taking care of yourself, you can show your body some love, and that’s the most beautiful present you can do to yourself.
In Health and Happiness,