If your joints crack and ache a little more than usual, you may be suffering from inflammation, but luckily, there are some magical little foods that prevent inflammation to help you get back to feeling great! These foods are rich in nutrients and properties that relieve muscle pain and ease stress in the entire body. Inflammation is a natural response from your body that occurs from a stressful situation, be it emotional stress or physical stress. It can also occur from allergic reactions from foods or the environment. Symptoms of inflammation include muscle pain, aching joints, headaches, skin disruptions or acne, allergies, depression and fatigue. If you work out, you should most definitely be taking good care of yourself and eating foods that prevent inflammation to start with. You certainly don’t want to injure yourself any further! Fill your plate with these foods and don’t worry; they’re all absolutely delicious!
Spinach is one of my favorite foods that prevent inflammation because it is so versatile and so nutritious at the same time! Spinach is rich in plant proteins with 15 grams per 3 cups and is low in calories. It is also rich in Vitamin E to enhance your skin health and immune system, iron to energize you and aid red blood cell health, folate and other B vitamins that boost your mood, Vitamin A to clear your skin and Vitamin C to keep your heart and immune system healthy. All of these nutrients help reduce inflammation, but the real all-star nutrient in spinach is chlorophyll, which is the green pigment in plants. Chlorophyll is the most powerful medicine against inflammation in my book because it alkalizes your body on a deep level, much more so than any other nutrient. Toss some spinach in your salad, smoothie, sautee some in an omelet, or try one of my favorite things, which is to juice with it. Either way, spinach is one food you need to be eating. After all, Popeye didn’t love it for nothing girls!
Cherries are like little red miracles for your joints! Cherries are rich in dark pigments that give them their lovely color and these pigments are the antioxidants they contain known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help prevent inflammation from harming the joints and can help offset fatigue from inflammation in no time. Cherries are great to throw in your smoothie after a workout, or you can drink unsweetened tart cherry juice at night, which can help you sleep better. Cherries are also rich in Vitamin C, high in fiber and are fairly low- glycemic.
Garlic is a wonderful food to add to your anti-inflammatory menu, plus it tastes great! Garlic is rich in nutrients that relieve inflammation and enhance your immune system. Sulfur, the active ingredient in garlic, also helps to detoxify the liver, which reduces inflammation all over the body. Garlic also contains compounds that boost energy, fight illness and even enhance your mood. Use whole garlic cloves and cook with it next time you whip up something delicious!
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds, along with flax seeds and hemp seeds, are all miracles in the kitchen, and for your anti-inflammatory plan. All these seeds, especially chia seeds and flaxseeds, contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation and enhance brain health. Omega 3s have been proven to offset the inflammatory response after exercise, and help reduce emotional stress that causes inflammation as well. Use these in your salads, yogurt, smoothies, or make home made pudding with these little seeds! Just ¼ cup added to a cup of delicious almond milk is an easy way to make chia pudding. Let this sit in the fridge overnight and in the morning, you’ll have a tasty, filling and thick pudding to eat. Plus, you’ll be pain-free in no time!
Salmon is a wonderful food for preventing inflammation. We can credit this to its high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, easy-to-digest protein that repairs muscles, and B vitamins, along with the mineral magnesium that aids in muscle recovery and reducing joint pain. Salmon is one of my favorite fish, and I can always tell a difference in my muscle pain and energy levels when I eat it versus when I don’t. Try baking some salmon, or grilling it, which is my favorite way to eat it. As an added bonus, salmon’s anti-inflammatory properties also enhance the look of your skin and get rid of acne and wrinkles!
6. Probiotic Foods
Here’s one group of foods that researchers are just now connecting to preventing inflammation, but that have been around for centuries. Probiotic rich foods are fermented and cultured foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, plain yogurt, kefir, natural pickles and cultured vegetables, and miso. These foods in their natural state (not in commercialized form with stabilized fillers), are rich in live bacteria that aid the health of our guts. This is important for reducing inflammation because our guts are where all of our nutrients are either absorbed or excreted by the body. If absorbed and used effectively, they are used to enhance our immune system, give us energy, fight metabolic syndrome and aid brain health.
Blueberries are one of the best foods you can eat to reduce inflammation associated with the stomach and with the brain. Blueberries contain anthocyanins just like cherries do, that can offset inflammation and reduce heart health risks. Blueberries have been linked to preventing depression, diabetes, and memory- related illnesses. Add some to your oatmeal, smoothies, or just eat them by themselves. Either way, blueberries make a fantastic addition to your menu and as a bonus, they taste great too!
I regularly eat these foods since I work out on a daily basis. Sore muscles are no fun and emotional stress is even worse! Do your brain, heart, skin and your muscles a favor by eating more anti-inflammatory foods. I promise you’ll be feeling better in no time! Do you suffer inflammation?