5 Foods to Improve Your Health
In a previous article we wrote about 7 foods you should avoid to decrease inflammation and pain. In this article we wanted to share with you some foods that will improve your health, relieve pain, and help reduce your risk of developing serious diseases.
Here are 5 foods to make sure you include in your diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. These foods will help reduce inflammation levels, one of the keys to good health.
The medicinal benefits of ginger have been known for over 2,000 years and have been used by cultures all around the world. Ginger’s ability to reduce inflammation within the body is just beginning to be researched though. In 2001, the journal, Arthritis and Rheumatism, published research showing that ginger helped reduce knee pain in people with osteoarthritis. Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for many chronic inflammatory diseases including cancer. Ginger is also found to have an effect on diabetes by inhibiting certain enzymes that produce inflammation as well as protecting against complications arising from diabetes.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful inflammation fighters. Studies have shown that Omega-3s reduce stress throughout the body and minimize inflammation in the brain and cardiovascular system which reduces your risk of developing numerous diseases. The best sources of Omega-3's can be found in fatty fish such as herring, sardines, krill, tuna, mackerel and salmon (make sure it is wild salmon, and avoid farm raised) as well as the oils made from these fish. Krill oil is one of the best supplements for omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pastured eggs and meats are also great sources. These foods help promote an internal habitat that is unfavorable for inflammation and disease.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family that has also been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that it is actually curcumin found within the turmeric that gives most of the health benefits. Curcumin is the substance that actually gives turmeric its yellow color. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a literature study in 2004 citing numerous laboratory studies that showed curcumin’s ability to inhibit numerous molecules and enzymes that are involved in inflammation. One recent study published in Alternative Medicine Review found that arthritis patients who added 200 mg of curcumin to their treatment plan noticed a significant reduction in pain levels as well as increased movement. However, the control group, who received no curcumin, experienced no noticeable or significant improvements. Another benefit of turmeric is that unlike typical NSAIDs taken by those suffering from pain or swelling, turmeric's curcumin reduces inflammation naturally, without any damaging side effects.
Olive oil does not cause inflammation like many other fat sources do; quite the opposite actually. Polyphenols (chemicals found in plants that have important health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties) from extra virgin olive oil have been shown to significantly reduce the expression of genes that trigger systemic inflammation and can be used, along with natural diet, to lower the risks from cardiovascular disease. A study published in the journal BMC Genomics showed the effect of olive oil on white blood cells. The oil was found to reverse the effect of inflammation caused by stress, obesity, and high blood pressure. Extra virgin olive oil has also been shown to turn off multiple genes that may cause inflammation, which provides the body protection against cardiovascular disease and other illnesses caused by chronic, undetected inflammation. So not only does olive oil reduce inflammation within the body, but it also protects against the damage inflammation can cause.
Fruits and Vegetables
Polyphenols are also found in many fruits and vegetables as well. Studies have shown that those who consume polyphenol-rich foods have lower incidences of inflammatory disease. Fruits rich in this phytochemical include blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, sour cherries, pomegranates and cranberries. If you drink these fruits in juices, make sure to avoid any with sugar added, even then, because fruit juice lacks the fiber of the fruit, it converts to sugar rapidly in your body. High-fiber vegetables such as dark leafy salad greens, spinach, kale, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, turnips and onions are also high in anti-inflammatory properties. Red grapes, red and yellow onions, garlic, broccoli and apples are known to reduce inflammation within the body. Anti-oxidant properties in these foods also help fight inflammation by protecting the body from free radicals. Additional examples of these foods are those that are Vitamin C-rich, including carrots, squash, bell peppers and tomatoes. Experts also recommend fresh pineapple or papaya daily in order to reduce swelling and inflammation quickly. Health professionals now recommend eating at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily and may need to be increased to 75% of your diet if inflammation is a consistent problem.
Healthy Eating Tip
What's In Your Refrigerator?
One of the simplest ways to eat healthier is to make sure you only have healthy food in your home. It may sound simple — but it works.
The easiest way to have only healthy food is to make sure all your food only has 1 ingredient in it. What do I mean by this? Simple, if your food has a list of ingredients it most likely contains processed food. Hidden in the list of ingredients processed foods will contain various sugars, preservatives, food dyes and additives, extra salt, MSG, and unreadable 20+ letter words that are the name of some chemical that has been added to your food.
So, keep it simple. Foods with only 1 ingredient will be healthier.
Here are some examples of foods with only 1 ingredient:
Special warning on meats.
- Most lunch meats are processed (look at the ingredients list).
- Buying pre-cooked chicken at your grocery store will also most likely mean they have added SUGAR!!!
- Grass-fed beef is healthy, and grain-fed beef is unhealthy.
For more information on proper diet and lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation and improve your health, speak with your doctor of Chiropractic. Contact Kempsville Chiropractic at 757.467.5258 to arrange a consultation. If your friends or family can benefit from this article, please share.
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The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
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