Put Out The Fire
A PROTECTIVE MENU is easier to assemble at home, where you can control the ingredients, including cooking oils. Follow our guide to anti-inflammatory foods, especially if you have inflammation risk factors like elevated levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, or C-reactive protein.
Polyphenols. These inflammation-dampening phytochemicals are found in colorful fruits like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, which also contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that protect against oxidative damage.
Quercetin. This anti-inflammatory compound and natural histamine inhibitor is the most powerful kind of flavonoid. Excellent sources include red grapes, red and yellow onions, garlic, broccoli, and apples.
Antioxidants. These nutrients protect the body from free radicals, which trigger inflammation. Carrots and orange winter squash supply beta carotene; bell peppers are high in vitamin C; tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are also abundant in antioxidants.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Thanks to anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3s provide significant benefit to patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The most potent omega-3s are found in seafood, especially cold-water fish like salmon (preferably wild). Stock your pantry with canned anchovies and sardines and jars of marinated herring to add to meals. Vegetarian sources of omega-3s include flaxseed oil, dark greens, and walnuts.
Oleic acid. Almonds and macadamias (or their oils) contain this omega-9 fatty acid, which helps omega-3s do their job. Olive oil, which contains oleic acid, is best for everyday cooking.
Curcumin. Turmeric, an Indian spice that gives curry its orange-yellow color, contains curcumin, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory compounds in nature, says Michael T. Murray, N.D., author of Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Other spices with anti-inflammatory properties are ginger and rosemary.