Many people believe that inflammation causes a variety of ailments and diseases, and this is true, at least to some degree. But inflammation is also a natural, healthy response to cellular damage, and the response of a healthy immune system to a perceived threat. Chronic Inflammation, however, is a symptom of something negative happening in the body, and it forces us to investigate and discover the root cause of our discomfort.

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When inflammation happens it acts as an alarm to the body, telling it to bring in disease fighting cells and extra nutrition to heal the damage on the area. When any part of the body is inflamed, it is either damaged and healing or damaged and deteriorating.

In this case, damage is cause by cell trauma. External force or internal trauma is caused either by toxicity of some kind and/or a lack of nutrition, which leads to cells malfunctioning.

So when our intestinal tract is inflamed, we are not absorbing nutrients, putting us into starvation mode which in turn results in elevated levels of cortisol, which can cause a myriad of different illnesses.

Symptons

  • Ongoing, irritating pain in the body (like the joints or muscles)
  • Allergies or asthma (especially when they keep getting worse)
  • High blood pressure or blood sugar problems
  • Ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (constipation or diarrhea)
  • Constant fatigue or lethargy
  • Skin problems or red, bloodshot eyes

Below is a list of Anti-Inflammatory Foods to help you combat inflammation, courtesy of Live Science and Prevention:

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  • Cold-water fish: These are among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Jimenez recommended salmon, herring, tuna and mackerel and advised consuming two or three servings (about 12 ounces or 340 grams) per week.
  • Avocados: “Avocados have great anti-inflammatory properties,” said Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist. They contain “phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols” — compounds that can help reduce inflammation. A 2013 study in the journal Food & Function found that people who ate a hamburger with avocado had lower CRP levels four hours after eating than those who did not.
  • Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprout, kale and cauliflower and other green leafy veggies contain sulforaphane, which is associated with blocking enzymes that are linked to joint deterioration and, consequently, chronic inflammation, according to Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at the University of Texas at Austin. Sulforaphane also may be able to prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems and inflammation.
  • Watermelon: Watermelon contains lycopene, a cellular inhibitor for various inflammatory processes. It also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. Additionally, watermelon contains choline, which helps keep chronic inflammation down, according to a 2006 article published in Shock medical journal.
  • Walnuts and other nuts: Jimenez said that these are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Onions: Their anti-inflammatory properties have made them a popular home remedy for asthma for centuries. Onions are a good source of quercetin, which inhibits histamines known to cause inflammation, according Jimenez.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and bulgur wheat have been associated with decreased CRP levels, according to studies in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research and in the Journal of Nutrition. Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate fewer whole grains actually had higher inflammation markers. The fiber in whole grains can help mediate inflammatory processes by helping with weight loss and feeding beneficial gut bacteria associated with lower levels of inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
  • Certain spicesThe University of Wisconsin lists ginger, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, cayenne, cloves and nutmeg as possessing anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit the biochemical process of inflammation.
  • Raisins: Berries are bright, shiny, and famously chock-full of free radical–fighting antioxidants, but as you stock up on the blue-and-red beauties, keep in mind that their wrinkly relative, the raisin, can also keep inflammation in check. “Snacking on raisins, and other fruit in general, tends to reduce a marker of inflammation known as TNF-alpha,” says Jim Painter, PhD, RD, a professor at Eastern Illinois University.
  • Soy: Beans in general are great sources of anti-inflammatory botanical compounds known as phytonutrients, but soy has been singled out by researchers for its ability to reduce the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, author of The SuperfoodsRx Diet. This is great news for your heart—high levels of C-reactive protein have been linked to coronary artery disease. Another bean benefit: the protein-rich, satisfying legumes are good candidates to displace pro-inflammatory meat in meals. (But make sure your soy is organic, non-GMO.)
  • Salmon: Salmon may be pricier than most four-legged meat options, but it’s a notoriously good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It also bests plant-based sources of the nutrient, which your body can’t process as well. But you don’t need to make it the main event at every meal. In fact, all you really need to do is aim to minimize your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. “Just a fifth of a teaspoon of fish oil to a teaspoon of omega-3 fatty acids a day is the amount you need to bring your fat consumption into balance,” Painter says.
  • Ginger: This spicy root has gained a following for its nausea-calming powers, but it has another trick up its sleeve—inflammation crushing. Studies have linked the root to lowered post-exercise inflammation and a drop in joint pain caused by the chronic inflammatory conditions osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While researchers haven’t pinpointed its anti-inflammatory effects to a single component, it’s likely one of the culprits is the plant’s active compound gingerol, Bazilian says.
  • Sweet Potato: Nutrient-packed sweet potatoes are great news for your heart, skin, and immune heath, but bad news for inflammation markers. “Foods high in the vitamins C and E and the carotenoids, alpha- and beta-carotene, like sweet potatoes, are anti-inflammatory,” Rosenbloom says. And they’re not the only orange food you should load up on; pumpkins, cantaloupe, apricots, and carrots are also good sources of carotenoids and vitamins.
  • Cherries: One fruit that stands out from the pack is the tart cherry. Like berries, the fleshy fruit abounds in anthocyanins (a type of phytonutrient), but it also delivers a uniquely powerful dose of anti-inflammatory compounds. “Tart cherries contain higher levels of both anthocyanins 1 and 2,” Bazilian explains. If that sounds a little technical, just think of it this way—you’re getting a double whammy of inflammation-fighting ingredients.
  • Kale: Along with fellow cruciferous vegetables arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and wasabi, kale is rich in sulfur, which forces your liver to put it through two detox cycles, instead of one. That may sound like a pain, but it’s actually beneficial: The second run-through stimulates your body to churn out more phase II enzymes, which break down toxins in the same way your digestive enzymes break down food. “Phase II enzymes help clean your body out by reducing the toxic load,” says Painter.
  • Walnuts: You’d be hard-pressed to find a nut without anti-inflammatory benefits, but walnuts have managed to earn the spotlight in this category. “Walnuts have the highest concentration of plant-based omega-3s, more than 10 antioxidant phytonutrients, and polyphenols that also play a role in reducing inflammation,” Bazilian says.
  • Tea: You can even battle inflammation between meals by sipping on green, white, and black teas, Rosenbloom says. They’re steeped in free radical-fighting catechins, a polyphenolic compound found in the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. The more antioxidants you’re taking in, the better. “It’s best to adopt a diet rich in foods that are anti-inflammatory instead of concentrating on one or two superfoods,” she says.

 

To help you even further, I took recipes from Prevention.com that help to soothe inflammation and have included them below. Enjoy!

Amaranth Porridge

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SERVINGS: 2

⅔ c whole-grain amaranth
2 c filtered water
¼ c hemp or pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp raw honey
1 tsp cinnamon
½ c blueberries or dried cranberries (apple juice sweetened)
1 med pear, chopped

1. COMBINE the amaranth and water in a skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Amaranth’s sticky consistency calls for a cast-iron or titanium surface to minimize heavy cleanup. If you don’t have a natural nonstick skillet, you can use a heavy 2-quart saucepan, but make sure to stir the porridge frequently to avoid sticking.
2. BRING to a boil, cover, and turn down to low heat. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once every 10 minutes to ensure the grains don’t stick to the pot, until the liquid is completely absorbed.
4. REMOVE from heat and add the seeds, raw honey, and cinnamon, stirring well. Divide the hot cereal between two bowls (or put one portion in a sealable container for the next day), and top with blueberries and pear.

NUTRITION (per serving) 460 cal, 17 g pro, 73 g carb, 14 g fiber, 22 g sugars, 12 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 20 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

 

Krispy Kale Chips

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SERVINGS: 8

2 bunches green curly kale (20 c), washed, large stems removed, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 c fresh cashews, soaked 2 hours
1 c sweet potato, grated
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp raw honey
½ tsp gray sea salt or pink rock salt
2 Tbsp filtered water

1. PLACE the kale in a large mixing bowl.
2. PROCESS remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
3. POUR over kale and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale. (You want this mixture to be really glued on the kale.)
4. PLACE kale onto unbleached parchment paper, set your oven to 150 degrees and dehydrate for 2 hours. At one point, turn over leaves to ensure even drying.
5. REMOVE and store in an airtight container. Makes about 8 cups.

NUTRITION (per serving) 190 cal, 11 g pro, 26 g carb, 5 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 8 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 200 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

(You can also try our Sour Cream & Onion Kale Chips)

 

Beet the Detox Salad

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SERVINGS: 4

1 lg beet, coarsely grated
1 lg carrot, coarsely grated
1 lg apple, diced
2 Tbsp almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp flax, hemp, perilla, or pumpkin seed oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 c mixed greens
Optional additions:
2 Tbsp fresh dill or parsely, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp gray sea salt or pink rock salt

1.TOSS all ingredients, except for the mixed greens, together in a large bowl. Mix in optional additions if using. You can make the dressing up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate.
2. DIVIDE mixed greens between 4 plates and top with apple mixture.

NUTRITION (per serving) 130 cal, 2 g pro, 12 g carb, 4 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 9 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 40 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

 

Cinnamon Baked Apples

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SERVINGS: 4

½ c various nuts and/or seeds
¼ c dried cranberries (apple juice sweetened)
2 dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
4 apples
¼ c unpasteurized liquid honey
1 c apple juice or cider

1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F degrees.
2. MIX nuts or seeds, cranberries, dates, ginger root, and spices in a bowl.
3. DON’T peel the apples, since most of the fiber and nutrients are in the skin. Being careful not to cut through the bottom of the apple, cut out the core.
4. STUFF each apple with the nut/seed mixture, then drizzle with honey and place in an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish.
5. POUR the juice around the fruit to keep it moist.
6. BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes, until the fruit is soft. Serve warm.

NUTRITION (per serving) 350 cal, 4 g pro, 69 g carb, 7 g fiber, 56 g sugars, 10 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 5 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

 

Kale Salad

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SERVINGS: 4

6 c dinosaur kale, chopped
½ lemon
Pinch of dried basil
Pinch of gray sea salt or pink rock salt
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive or chia, flax, or hemp seed oil
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp green onion, chopped (about 1 whole onion)
1 sm cucumber, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ c chopped kalamata olives

1. WASH kale and cut into small strips.
2. LIGHTLY steam the kale for 5 to 7 minutes in a steamer basket. Transfer to a large bowl and add lemon, basil, salt, and oil. Toss.
3. ADD the remaining ingredients and mix well.

NUTRITION (per serving) 150 cal, 5 g pro, 13 g carb, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 10 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 490 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

 

Raw Pad Thai

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SERVINGS: 4

1 med zucchini
1 lg carrot
1 green onion, chopped
½ c shredded purple cabbage
½ c cauliflower florets
½ c mung bean sprouts or radish sprouts (spicy)
Sauce:
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
2 Tbsp tamari (wheat-free)
1 Tbsp raw honey
¼ tsp garlic, minced
½ tsp ginger root, grated

1. USE a mandoline or vegetable peeler to create noodles from the carrots and zucchini. Place them in a large mixing bowl and top with the vegetables.
2. WHISK sauce ingredients in a bowl. The sauce will be thick, but will thin out after it’s mixed with the vegetables.
3. POUR the sauce over the noodles and vegetables, and toss. This dish tastes even better the next day once the flavors have had a chance to blend.

NUTRITION (per serving) 140 cal, 6 g pro, 14 g carb, 3 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 9 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 510 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

Sources

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/issue/15-what-causes-chronic-inflammation-and-how-to-stop-it-for-good

http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/10/chronic-inflammation-signs-symptoms-and-testing/

http://www.livescience.com/52344-inflammation.html

http://www.prevention.com/food/food-remedies/10-foods-that-help-fight-inflammation


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