Almost everyone experiences inflammation at some point in their life. It is, without a doubt, a very uncomfortable and debilitating experience, one that leaves you in a great deal of pain. The burning sensation associated with heartburn is a nightmare that no one would want to experience.
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However, for most of us leading busy lives with poor food habits, heartburn and inflammation are very real and seemingly impossible to avoid. However, eating certain foods and a little change in your lifestyle can help you combat inflammation very effectively.
What Is Inflammation?
Science defines it pretty well for us. It’s just the body’s response to a stimulus that doesn’t belong. Something like kicking out an intruder with a little bit of violence.
This becomes a bit of a problem when said intruder is something in your body itself. So, we end up experiencing some pretty awful symptoms like bloating, gas and a general feeling of ill-health without any obvious cause. Although inflammation is common enough, it shouldn’t be neglected. Severe inflammation is a sign from your body that something isn’t working the way it’s supposed to.
So, How Does One Identify Inflammation?
There are several symptoms associated with inflammation. Heartburn is a very common symptom.
A sharp radiating pain below or around your breastbone that leaves behind a burning sensation, is the most common one. In addition, you may also feel the pain moving to the back of your throat, leaving a very unpleasant taste in your throat.
Other symptoms include bloating, fatigue and a lot of unexplained weight gain. It also makes the fat collect around your belly, brings down all the good bacteria in your stomach that keeps you healthy and even leads to pain in your joints and muscles.
What Causes This Inflammation?
Sometimes, the most common cause of inflammation is lack of sleep and stress. Increased stress leads to an increase in acid production and can lead to acid reflux as well.
So do irregular eating habits.
It’s important to follow a set schedule for eating your meals which will help regulate your biological clock. Smoking also leads to increased heartburn because it stimulates acid production. Overweight people and pregnant women are at a greater risk of experiencing heartburn.
However, doctors agree that the kind of food we consume plays a very important role in how our body functions. As such, certain types of food can increase your chances of experiencing inflammation. Some of the common foods that cause inflammation are:
- Meals that are high in fats and oils
- Refined carbohydrates
- Drinks with a lot of artificial sugar
- Deep-fried foods like French fries
- Red meat and processed meat
- Fruits high in citric acid
- Spicy foods
- Caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages
So, the above are the foods to AVOID when you’re fighting inflammation. Luckily, there are several foods that actually help you regulate your body.
Most of these are fully natural and have a great effect on your body, giving you relief from heartburn and also increasing your overall well-being and health.
25 SuperFoods That Help Combat Inflammation:
1. Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are rich in fiber and they also enrich the good bacteria in your tummy. They help fight inflammation in your body and are an excellent breakfast choice. They are rich in beta-glucan which is a type of fiber that helps keep your cholesterol levels in check.
2. Leafy Green Vegetables
Green veggies like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower are all traditionally low-acid foods and they will help regulate your digestive system. They contain a healthy dose of iron, as well as vitamin K which helps fight inflammation. Spinach, in particular, is a super food that combats inflammation and is also rich in Vitamins C, E, K and Iron as well.
Sun-kissed tomatoes are a delicious addition to any recipe. Tomatoes are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are also believed to fight the ill effects that come from smoking. Tomatoes get their vibrant color from lycopene which can help bring down stress levels.
4. Olive Oil
Substituting vegetable and animal based oils for Olive oil is a great way to combat heartburn. Olive Oil is rich in anti-oxidants and linked with a healthy heart as well. Olive oil is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods out there and should definitely be a part of your diet. Coconut oil is another great option as well.
Seafood like oysters, salmon and other fatty fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
You should definitely make sure you include a healthy amount of seafood in your diet. Salmon, in particular, contains the antioxidant Astaxanthin and is also a good source of potassium. Salmon is great for your heart and helps keep you healthy.
For the vegetarians out there, nuts like almonds and hazelnut offer a great source of omega 3 fats and can also bring down cholesterol levels. They’re a rich source of vitamins as well and should definitely be on your plate every day.
Almost all berries are a great source of vitamins and minerals but blueberries, in particular, have really good anti-inflammatory properties. They are packed with antioxidants, as well as minerals like manganese and copper. These minerals play an important role in fighting inflammation.
Pineapple has something called bromelain which is known to reduce inflammation. It has been used for centuries to treat digestive problems and is an anti inflammatory food. It works very similar to drugs but without any of the side effects.
Ginger is just one of those super foods, which happens to be packed with good stuff and has many health benefits. It fights inflammation, nausea, helps strengthen the immune system, and even helps with sore muscles and improves the health of your heart.
Garlic contains the compound called allicin which has a lot of medicinal properties. Garlic is also rich in anti-oxidants involved in fighting inflammation. It can even help flush out toxic metals from your body and of course it helps that garlic makes a tasty addition to dishes, as well.
11. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has antiviral as well as anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a thickener in various recipes. Aloe Vera contains campestrol which helps heal inflammation from the inside out.
Broccoli is nothing less than dynamite when it comes to health benefits. It has a lot of sulfur compounds, which help fight inflammation effectively. It can also help negate effects from smoking. Broccoli contains natural fibers that help in detoxing your body and reducing inflammation as well.
13. Medicinal Herbs
The best thing about herbs is that they increase the nutrition quotient of your meal without increasing the calorie count.
Herbs and spices are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which will help regulate your body. Cloves, rosemary and turmeric are three of them which top the list of herbs that help fight inflammation. Celery sticks are a great source of anti-oxidants and potassium.
Even doctors recommend bananas as a part of an anti-inflammatory diet. They have a low glycemic score as well and are good at fighting intestinal inflammation. They’re a great source of soluble fiber that can be easily digested. Bananas help combat acid reflux by forming a protective coating on the stomach and reducing the effect of stomach acids.
15. Almond Milk
Almond milk is low in fat and filled with nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It also helps make your bones strong, keeps your heart healthy and protects your immune system as well.
16. Egg Whites
Egg whites are high in protein and don’t carry a lot of calories. They’re especially good when you’re looking to lose weight without missing out on nutrients.
Raw honey has excellent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s rich in digestive enzymes and because of its unprocessed nature, raw honey can give you the full benefit of all its anti-oxidants, enzymes and nutrients.
18. Whole Grains
Whole grains like millets, brown rice and certain kinds of wheat, are a rich source of vitamin B as well as fiber. They help you feel full and are easy to digest as well. They also contain anti-oxidants and even trace minerals and can help combat obesity which is one of the main reasons for inflammation.
19. Green Tea
This is one of the most popular anti-oxidants of all time, one that many people swear by. Green Tea is rich in polyphenols which can reduce the number of free radicals in your body thus fighting inflammation.
20. Poultry And Lean Meat
Lean meat is an excellent source of protein without a lot of calories and can help manage weight and prevent bloating as well. Poultry is a good source of Vitamin B and selenium which helps boost our immune system as well.
Beets contain magnesium which is an essential mineral that helps in the assimilation of other important nutrients into our body. Beets thus help our body to better absorb the nutrients that we consume, thus preventing inflammation due to an imbalanced diet.
22. Bok Choy
Bok Choy, is a variety of Chinese cabbage which is a low calorie superfood rich in protein, fiber and almost all the minerals and vitamins that our body requires.
It is one of the richest sources of antioxidants and a single cup could fulfill your dietary requirement of vitamins for an entire day. It also helps strengthen your bones and should definitely be a part of your diet.
23. Chia And Flax Seeds
Chia seeds can help reverse the bad effects of inflammation and also help control your cholesterol levels as well. They’re rich in omega-3 as well as omega-6 fatty acids which are naturally anti-inflammatory. Flax seed is another high fiber super food which is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids.
It is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber as well as anti-oxidants.
24. Dark Chocolate
We have great news for all the chocolate lovers out there. Apparently, cocoa is rich in anti-oxidants and can actually help with weight loss. The right kind of chocolate (one that has at least a 70% concentration of cocoa) will thus help you stay fit and healthy.
Turmeric is one of the most beneficial spices out there. For centuries, it has been revered for its medicinal benefits. Turmeric contains the compound called curcumin which is a powerful anti-oxidant and fights inflammation very effectively.
It’s strong enough to give anti-inflammatory drugs a run for their money. Incidentally, it also helps activate the natural anti-oxidants already present in our body which makes it even better.
Inflammation Superfoods Benefits Final Words
While these super foods would no doubt help you fight inflammation through a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle is also essential. Avoid treating your body unkindly and instead practice healthy habits like regular exercise and a proper diet.
Make sure you keep your BMI (Body Mass Index) at a healthy level and avoid putting a lot of stress on yourself. Drink lots of water and avoid overeating as well. Another important factor is the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol can have a lot of adverse effects on your body, so steer clear from over indulging in it.
Avoid artificial drinks that are very high in sugars. Refined sugar is one of the main causes of acid imbalance in your body, because they mess with your pH levels.
An acidic body is more prone to inflammation and other ailments. Switch to healthy homemade juices instead. Be sure to include a dose of probiotics in your diet. These will help keep your digestive system clean and healthy.
Finally, make sure you keep stress levels down and get a good night’s sleep. Most experts recommend at least eight hours of sleep a day to make sure your body is happy and well-regulated.
Follow a diet that does not rob you of essential nutrients. A great diet will help you feel better, stronger and healthier. Switch to organic, non-processed foods that do not go through a lot of chemical treatments. The more natural your food is, the more likely it is to have positive effects on your body.
Inflammation may be scary but it’s something you can actively avoid. As long as you eat clean, exercise and listen to your body, you can fight inflammation and lead a healthy and happy life.