Health news gives us the overriding impression that cancer, dementia, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes are things that simply happen to us. But this just isn’t true. While genes may play a role in our health quality, many experts agree that chronic inflammation causes virtually all leading diseases due to a poor diet and lack of exercise.
Deemed the mother of most major chronic disease, chronic inflammation is a silent epidemic; a plague afflicting millions of unsuspecting Americans. It is typically a silent until actual tissue damage and loss of function occurs. There is no single direct test for inflammation. Instead, doctors use indirect methods by measuring blood levels of C-reactive protein, a pro-inflammatory marker, and homocysteine levels.
In light of this news, here are 4 foods that are must-haves for reducing inflammation naturally – and they come with numerous other benefits.
1. Tart Cherries
According to researchers with Oregon Health & Science University, tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.” This is a remarkable statement considering all of the fruits and vegetables with anti-inflammatory properties. These anti-inflammatory properties are also likely responsible for the many health benefits of cherries.
The researchers discovered that tart cherries, like Montmorency and Balaton in particular, are rich in phenolics and anthocyanins, more so than sweet cherry varieties like Bing, Lambert, and Rainier. These compounds are known to reduce inflammation considerably.
Antioxidant phytonutrients are what give onions their anti-inflammatory power. Compounds like quercetin and anthocyanin work to prevent the oxidation of fatty acids while reducing inflammation throughout the body.
Quercetin, according to Arthritis Today, has been shown to inhibit or stop leukotrines, histamines, and prostaglandins (inflammation causers) in both rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis.
Another Argentinian study on rats showed that both garlic and onions have the ability to reduce inflammation in animals that had developed insulin resistance after a steady diet of fructose.
Turmeric is a scientifically proven inflammation buster. A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (found in turmeric) was found to be an effective alternative to allopathic drugs as an anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agent against tumor cells. Be sure to buy the organic non-irradiated version of this healing spice.
For many individuals, ginger can be just as effective as ibuprofen for arthritic pain relief, only without the nasty side-effects. It also relieves upset or queasy stomachs. The traditional way to prepare ginger is by making a tea from the roots. Buy the roots, shave of the skins, and slice up enough to cover the bottom of a medium sized pan. Fill with purified water and bring to a boil, then let it simmer for a half hour.