Eat yourself healthy
Health is wealth. While this truth is certainly no ground-breaking revelation, we usually only appreaciate its essence, when we are not healthy, wether that’s with regard to our physical or our mental state or both. Health is the ultimate luxury good, we can own. Nothing else matters more nor should it.
In this day and age, we also have it deeply engraved in our brains that the pathway to recovery from feeling unwell or ill leeds us via pills, medical support or nutrition supplements. While all those things have their merit and are certainly often very necessary to combat whatever illness you are fighting (like cancer for instance), there are a lot of times, where we can find salvation in the food that we eat. Don’t worry, I am not one of those people who push a certain herb or fruit on someone to cure their broken leg. So bear with me…
We all know the term soul food. We connect it to the amazing feeling of home, coziness, family and just the great sentiment of satisfaction we feel after we ate it. Soul food heals the soul while it nurishes us. But what about healing our bodies. For as long as humanity exists, we have known the effect of certain herbs, vegetables, meat, fruits or entire meals due to their unique chemical balance of ingredients on our health. Throughout the millenias, we might not have known why exactly certain things we consume heal us or how it all works inside of us, we just knew what mattered: it helped. Today, we lost that trust in nature and rather give ourselves (quite literally) to the achievements of technology and artificially manufactured products.
Back to nature
How about we allow ourselves to trust nature again. Especially when it comes to inflammations in our body, this is actually not all that heart and certainly superior to popping a pill or enduring whatever plagues us. An inflammation is actually a perfectly „healthy“ reaction of your body. It’s angered and irritated by something that isn’t good for you.
Inflammation is linked to a whole lot of severe health issues from cancer, heart disseases, arthritis or depression, to name just a few, if we allow it to become chronic. The crazy thing about this is that we are often not really aware that we not well. Not everything is as obvious as a raging headache or stomach acid. Sometimes it’s just this background feeling of not being quite as energetic or feeling lethargic or looking tired or being despite having slept long enough. Maybe you notice that you hair suddenly seems less shiney, dull and dried out. It might be, because your body is occupied elsewhere. It might be that it’s allergy season and you are sadly one of the many people who have to battle one or many.
Our body is a complex powerful machine with a remarkable healing capability. But just like the challenge to repair anything while still operating it, our body faces the same obstacle. It needs to keep all basic functions running, while it deals with fixing what’s broken or compromised. This inevitably means it needs to focus its ressources on where they are most needed. Hence our hair looks dull or we might even loose it, because our body is fighting something essential, and hair (while an important asset to how we define us) is not essential for survival.
So if you are immune compromised or if you feel that you generally want to incorporate more healthy food options that help your body fight future or existing inflammations, this article provides you with a list with lots of food options that support your body in fighting inflammation and also a second list with food that’s best avoided as it causes inflammation or slows down the healing process of your body.
Nature gives us an abundance of great opportunities to create nutricious and tasty meals without missing out. If you want to avoid eggs for instance, but still bake a tasty cake, replace them with overnight oats. Check if any of the vegan milk alternatives work for you to replace dairy in your morning coffee.
What makes food help you fight inflammation
One common demenor of anti-inflammatory food is that they tend to be rich in anti-oxidants. They are important agents, as scientists have shown in many studies (e.g. Journal of Nutrition and British Journal of Nutrition) to decrease blood markers of chronic inflammation. Harvard University conducted research around this topic as well.
On the other hand, research (such as this one) has also shown the inflammatory effect of certain types of food, like processed meat. That also doesn’t mean that you need to avoid the items on the list below like the plague as they can have positive effects on other aspects of your health. Like beef for instance, it’s a great source for vitamin B12 and iron. So a healthy YOU should have red meat, just in moderation. A few things on the list of inflammation enhanving food are in fact not total no-go’s. Another one being dairy. You should have dairy as it provides you with calcium. Again, moderation is key. If you however find another great source for your calcium, like beans, lentils, seeds (chia, sesame, poppy), almonds or dark leafy greens.
Some food is literally ambivalent. As in it depends on certain factors whether they help you cure an inflammation or might accelerate one. One of the more common items on the list are eggs. It completely depends on the food that the chicken were fed, which turn the egg takes. If the chickens ate unnatural food, the eggs can have an intensiving effect on inflammation, if they are fed their natural diet (which is very rare), then they actually can help you get healthier.
Food that supports your body fighting inflammation
- Fatty fish (e.g. salmon)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Leafy greens (e.g. spinach, kale)
- Brussels sprouts
- Seeds (e.g. flak seeds, chia seeds)
- Nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds)
- Fruits rich in vitamin A, B and C (pineapple, oranges, cantaloupe, lemon)
- Berries (Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- Coffee (low acidic)
- Alternative „milk“ drinks (made of almonds, oats, coconut etc.)
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Basil
- Eggs (ONLY IF poultry was fed natural diet)
Check out some tasty recipes that follow the low inflammation princple:
Food either causing inflammation or slowing down the ability to fight it
- Dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt)
- Saturated fat
- Red meat (bacon, steak)
- Sugar (candy, chocolate, pastries, cookies, corn syrup etc.)
- Fried food
- Eggs (if chickens were fed non traditional food like grains, soy or corn)
- Processed meat (salami, ham, saussages etc)
- Refinded carbs a.k.a. carbs that have most of their fiber removed (e.g. like in white bread, pasta)
- Artificial trans fat (e.g. margerine, sunflower oil)