Some of the foods you consume introduce compounds that trigger inflammation in your body, whereas others naturally combat it. In Part 1 of this article, I discussed what to avoid or reduce in your diet to eliminate inflammation. Now it’s time to look at what you should eat and what you should add to soothe inflammation. But first, allow me to explain why you want to ingest these things.
Much of the inflammation in your body is a result of free radicals attacking healthy cells. Free radicals are chemicals that act on the body, like rust destroying a car. Rusty fenders are a result of “oxidation.” Similarly, there is an oxidative process when free radicals attack healthy cells in the human body.
The resulting oxidative process causes damage and consequently inflammation. To combat the damage caused by free radicals, you need to add antioxidants to your diet. Antioxidants do as their name suggests — they stave off oxidation. They accomplish this by neutralizing free radicals.
Knowing this, it becomes clear that you want to pack your diet with foods rich in antioxidants. Do you want to know where can you find these sought-after antioxidants? Read on.
3 Foods to Eat
1.GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
Green veggies are chock-full of antioxidants. In particular, green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are especially potent. They are loaded with Vitamin E, which is a powerful natural antioxidant.
2.BERRIES AND CHERRIES
If you want something a little tastier, look no further than berries and cherries. Both are packed with potent antioxidants called catechins, which neutralize free radicals.
In addition to the catechins that berries contain, tart cherries are especially known for their high anthocyanins content. This is yet another antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation in adults.
Much of the inflammation in the body results from fatty acids being out of whack.
Healthy fats not only contain antioxidants but also help maintain a positive fatty acid balance. Through both mechanisms, healthy fats fight inflammation.
That said, it’s crucial to avoid overdoing it when eating fats because they are still loaded with calories, and large amounts of excess calories can lead to unwanted weight gain. So what are the best sources?
- Avocados: They are an amazing source of healthy fats. They contain polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that protect your body at the cellular level.
- Almonds: If you need something that’s more convenient and travels well, these can be your go-to snack. They are great at helping regulate your fatty acid levels.
- Olive oil: If you’re looking for something you easily can add to your regular foods, this should be at the top of your list. It’s loaded with monounsaturated fats, aka the “good fats.” Like avocados, it also contains the antioxidant power of polyphenols.
- Salmon: To kick it up a notch and position healthy fats as the main course in a meal, consider this fish. It is an excellent protein source and has a large concentration of monosaturated fat. Additionally, salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 is an excellent combatant against inflammation in the body.
3 Nutrients to Add
Much research has shown that curcumin is powerful in the fight against inflammation. It’s found in the cooking spice turmeric, which can be added to your meals. However, the concentration of curcumin in regular turmeric powder may not be enough to provide the desired effect. For maximum benefit, consider adding a curcumin supplement to your diet.
I have talked at length about the importance of antioxidants in the fight against inflammation. One of the most common and powerful antioxidants is Vitamin C, commonly found in citrus fruits. However, if you wish to avoid the extra sugars that come from adding fruit, you can easily and inexpensively add a Vitamin C supplement.
Water is frequently the first place to start with anything diet related. It is essential to your overall health, yet it’s overlooked by many. Your body is designed to function optimally when properly hydrated. When you are dehydrated, all your bodily functions suffer. A sufficiently hydrated body can flush out nasty toxins and thus reduce inflammation. So pick up that glass and get off your … well, you know.
Now that you’ve read Part 1 and Part 2 of “Food Fight,” you know what to avoid and what to add to your diet to combat inflammation. It’s no secret that you will ultimately train harder and with greater consistency if your body feels good. That said, I challenge you to put the same martial arts discipline you display in the dojo into your actions in the kitchen. Do that and you will reap lifelong benefits.
CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist)
SNS (Sports Nutrition Specialist)
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