Tart cherries are great anti-inflammatory foods

Tart cherries are great anti-inflammatory foods

INFLAMMATION. While the word itself sounds daunting, inflammation is actually a natural response by your body to a stressful situation. Inflammation is the first response as your immune system protects your body from infections, irritation and allergies. Even good sources of stress — such as exercise — can increase inflammation in your body.

Unfortunately the swelling, redness and pain that inflammation can cause is not always wanted and chronic inflammation can cause more serious illnesses. Help your body protect itself by adding foods that promote health, while reducing unnecessary inflammation. Here are five anti-inflammatory foods to add to your shopping list:

Spinach

Want to reduce inflammation after exercise? Popeye knew what he was doing with his spinach consumption! Spinach contains antioxidants vitamin C, and E, as well as carotenoids and flavonoids — all which fight against inflammation.

Tart cherries or tart cherry juice

Tart cherries contain compounds called anthocyanins, which can block inflammation while helping to prevent muscle damage. Add tart cherry juice to your post-workout drink to gain benefits, or eat a couple as an after-dinner treat.

Garlic

It’s no wonder that garlic is loved by many countries around the world — it’s rich in anti-inflammatory compounds diallyl sulfide (DAS) and thiacremonone. Just one clove of garlic offers many compounds that are known to help lower inflammation and increase circulation, such as phosphorus, selenium, zinc, polyphenols, arginine and vitamins B6 and C.

Omega-3 fatty acids

When you consume omega-3s, your body makes resolvins. Resolvins help fight inflammation by inhibiting the production and regulating the movement of inflammatory chemicals. The best source is fish. Other plant-based sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds.

Kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha

Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha contain probiotics that help to support your immune system and fight inflammation. Probiotics help to support immune system by nourishing your good gut bacteria while crowding out of bad bacteria.