Any fitness junkie or athlete who pushes their body week after week with PRs, training, long runs, or prolonged workouts has inflammation in some way. All of these activities increase your strength, grow muscle, and increase your endurance, but they also increase inflammation in your body. This inflammatory process can be from stress and cortisol released into your body, joint swelling, or the breaking down and building back up of muscle protein. What you eat can help ease this inflammation and pain. Eating the right foods can be one of the easiest ways to help your body heal naturally. There are plenty of anti-inflammatory food choices to pick from, like different fruits, herbs, vegetables, and spices. These below are loaded with compounds that can help reduce inflammation.
Quick tip: Avoid eating refined foods and processed foods. These foods exaggerate inflammation because they themselves are irritants.
Salmon, tuna, sardines and other oily fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. According to Russell Greenfield, MD, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the typical western diet is too low in omega-3 rich foods and includes far too many foods rich in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
- 20 Salmon Recipes from Health.com
Also known as butterfish or sablefish, black cod is another fish extremely high in omega-3’s. In fact ,it has more omega-3’s than salmon. This fish is harder to find than salmon but it might be worth the extra effort to seek it out. Dr. Weil, creator of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet says “it [black cod] has a buttery taste that makes it simply the finest fish I have ever eaten.”
- Miso-Glazed black cod recipe from All Recipes
If you’re not a fan of fish, adding walnuts to your diet can help you get some inflammation-fighting omega 3’s. One-quarter cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the recommended daily value of plant-based omega-3 fats.
- Walnut Recipes from Eating Well
This root veggie fights inflammation with a chemical compound called allicin. The body can turn allicin into the free radical-fighting agent, sulfenic acid.
According to Oregon Health & Science University researchers, tart cherry juice reduced inflammation in lab rats’ blood vessels by up to 50%.
- 25 tarte cherry recipes from Midwest Living
Avocados are an anti-inflammatory super food! In addition to being an excellent source of omega-3’s, eating avocados with other vegetables can enhance your body’s ability to absorb other nutrients. Recent research found that adding a cup of avocado to a salad, increases the body’s absorption of carotenoid antioxidants by 200 to 400 percent.
- 49 Healthy avocado recipes from Greatist
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is a phytochemical which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, especially the lungs. You can increase the lycopene content of a tomato by cooking it.
Cinnamaldehyde, a chemical found in cinnamon, prevents unwanted clumping of blood platelets by inhibiting inflammatory molecule messaging.
- Healthy cinnamon recipes from Eating Well
This spicy root has been used for generations to treat nausea and gas, but it’s also a potent anti-inflammatory.
Apples contain an antioxidant that reduces cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons.