Chronic inflammation, in which inflammatory response in the body is ongoing and therefore causes progressive damage to the body, may be caused for a variety of reasons. These reasons range from stress and lack of sleep to more severe physical damage that one may have incurred, as well as development of viral or bacterial infections. Unlike acute inflammation, a normal response which everyone gets typically as the result of injury, chronic inflammation is not temporary.(1)
A slew of health problems can take hold when chronic inflammation sets in. Most notably, joints stiffen and can become painful. However, too much inflammation can wreak havoc in a multitude of ways. Everything from development or worsening of conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.
Several foods can help combat inflammation and associated joint pain. Rather than turn to costly options or medical treatments that often create other health problems or are based on cookie-cutter industry “standards,” fresh, whole foods are an alternative worth exploring.
Top 3 Plant Foods to Reduce Joint Pain and Inflammation
The sweet fruit contains an array of phytonutrients which act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, staving off such problems.(2)
In fact, a study published in a 2014 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that berries like blueberries play a role in chronic disease risk reduction. The findings of that study note that “Fruits, such as berries, contain polyphenol compounds purported to have anti-inflammatory activity in humans. Among the most notable polyphenols in berries are anthocyanins, responsible for their distinctive colors of red, blue, and purple.” The findings continue, recognizing that “Berries have been studied widely for their antioxidant properties; however, preclinical data suggest important effects on inflammatory pathways.”(3)
Broccoli has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients that not only help relieve inflammation but which fight oxidative stress, keep allergies at bay and have the potential to eliminate carcinogenic compounds.(2)
Enjoy them raw or lightly steamed, as a side dish, chopped up in salads or even as an entire meal.
3. Chia Seeds
These crunchy little seeds, which many people enjoy mixing in smoothies or using to make a pudding, are said to be helpful in the fight against inflammation.
Ali Washington, a Holistic Nutritionist, notes that they are among the most potent anti-inflammatory compounds found in nature. She suggests putting just a few teaspoons of chia seeds in almond or hemp milk, letting it sit to thicken and then enjoying as an oatmeal alternative. Even better, she says that adding in fresh berries (why not blueberries?) to the chia and milk mixture can create even more flavor and nutritional benefits.(4)
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