10 Foods to Fight Inflammation
With its potent mix of vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes (in particular, bromelain), pineapple is an all-body anti-inflammation cocktail. It also protects against colon cancer, arthritis, and macular degenerationr. If only the "colada" part of the equation were as healthy. Have half a cup, two or three times a week.
The extra-virgin variety is rich in beneficial monounsaturated fats. Its fatty acids and polyphenols reduce inflammation in cells and joints. A study in the journal Nature found that it's as effective as Advil at reducing inflammation. "Have two tablespoons a day,"
Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that eating up to 45 bing cherries a day can lower the risk of tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis, and gout. Studies also suggest that they reduce the risk of chronic diseases and metabolic syndrome. They taste great on yogurt or cerealn.
"The flavonoids in dark chocolate inhibit platelet clumping, which reduces the risk for stroke, heart attack, and embolisms. "It's high in calories, so limit yourself each day to a half bar with at least 70 percent cacao."
Curcumin, the polyphenol that gives the spice its tang and yellow hue, has antitumor, antiarthritis, and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that it also inhibits the growth of plaques associated with Alzheimer's. Sprinkle half a tablespoon on fish or chicken to add color and flavor.
Wild Fatty Fish
Mackerel and other wild fatty fish contain a hearty dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the heart, cells, joints, and brain. Stay away from farmed varieties. They contain undesirable levels of omega-6 fatty acids. The DHA and EPA in the oil of these fish also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Shoot for four six-ounce servings a week. Grill it with olive oil, lemon, and sea salt.
Rich in protein and fiber, these seeds taste great on cereal and yogurt. Their oil also comes in pill or liquid form, and is high in alpha linolenic omega-3s, which puts them next to wild fish on the list of heart-healthy fare. "They're a great brain food too. Shoot for a tablespoon of ground flaxseed a day.
These energy-rich snacks lower bad cholesterol, thanks to plant sterols, and benefit diabetics by lowering blood sugar. They're also rich in amino acids, which bolster testosterone levels and muscle growth. Eat a third of a cup a day with the skins on. The skin is full of antioxidants.
An apple a day reduces swelling of all kinds, thanks to quercetin, a flavonoid also found in the skin of red onions. Quercetin reduces the risk of allergies, heart attack, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and prostate and lung cancers. If given the choice, opt for Red Delicious. They contain the most inflammation-fighting antioxidants.
Whole grains—oatmeal, wheat flour, barley, brown rice—are high in fiber, which calms inflamed tissues while keeping the heart strong and the colon healthy. Not all breads and crackers advertised as "whole grain" are the real deal. Read the label. "Those that aren't whole grain can be high in fat, which increases inflammation." Try for two slices of whole-grain bread a day.