Foods for Inflammation: The ultimate guide!
Dhow X Soulsfood Nutrition
Thimpika Sachdej, a qualified & registered nutritionist, founded and currently runs Soulsfood Nutrition (@soulsfood_nutrition). A great solution for translating scientific evidence regarding health & nutrition into daily, achievable steps to practice at the comfort of your own home. Soulsfood mainly focuses on the benefits of whole foods and a plant based diet.
Using foods to fight inflammation
There’s no denying that 2020 was a tough year. Along with the pandemic, it also brought many of us prolonged stress and anxiety. For some, the effects are still lingering. Prolonged stress can over-activate the immune system, which in turn causes your inflammatory response to be at an all-time high.
Inflammation is part of your body’s defence mechanism against stress, infection, injury and disease. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system. It plays an important role in healing, but excessive or prolonged inflammation can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.
In times like this, it is especially important to introduce stress management techniques, movements and more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Diet and nutrition are extremely powerful in helping your body fight inflammation. What you eat - or don’t eat - can have a profound effect on your inflammatory response.
Here are some of the most studied anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet:
Perhaps this does not come as a surprise to you, given all the recent hype about the benefits of turmeric and “golden lattes” - this trend is here for a reason, and rightly so, we have introduced our very own version of golden milk; our organic turmeric latte. Our mother's recipe to many ailments. Turmeric contains a myriad of plant compounds with medicinal properties, collectively known as curcuminoids. The main active compound, curcumin, has been studied and promoted extensively for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Scientific studies show that curcumin reduces inflammatory response in the body by blocking the activation of certain pro-inflammatory proteins. It also has the ability to directly suppress inflammation through many different mechanisms that take place on a cellular level. The catch is - curcumin only makes up about 2-4% of turmeric and is poorly absorbed in the body.
This is why it is recommended that you add some black pepper, which helps to activate the curcumin, and consume turmeric regularly to maximise its effects. Our organic turmeric capsules are a great, convenient way to regularly add this superfood to your routine. or combine our organic turmeric powder and black pepper into your food!
Cinnamon is more than just a delicious additive to your cakes and baked goods. It is packed with powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, the main one being cinnamaldehyde. This compound is mostly found in the bark of true cinnamon - Like in our “True” Ceylon Cinnamon.
Learn more about different types of cinnamon & their benefits!
Evidence shows that regular consumption of true cinnamon has shown to block the activity of several inflammatory markers in the body. For this reason, it is often recommended as one of the best spices for arthritis, a condition that stems from chronic inflammation in the joints. There is no standard dosage for cinnamon, but most experts suggest between 2 to 4 grams or ½ to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, either as whole bark or powder.
Green cardamom is another great spice that offers anti-inflammatory benefits. This spice has shown to help with inflammation-mediated diseases such as stomach ulcers, liver disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity as well as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) in women.
The anti-inflammatory properties of green cardamom have been widely reported. A study shows that supplementation with green cardamom significantly reduced the levels of inflammatory biomarkers in patients with type 2 diabetes. It is also an effective treatment for patients with stomach ulcers and obesity, which are primarily driven by inflammation.
Green cardamom, both as whole pods and powder, are powerful when it comes to reducing inflammation in the body. You can add the pods to your grains or legumes as you cook them, use them in stewed fruit, or simply add them to your favourite tea.
The humble ginger may be more powerful than you think. It is most commonly known for its role in relieving nausea and improving digestion, but it has so much more to offer. Our organic ginger powder has the ability to inhibit the production of several proteins involved in the inflammatory response as well as down-regulate the activity of some. This means less inflammation in the body!
Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, our ginger powder has also been used as a treatment option to ease arthritis and joint pain. A study found that ginger extract is as effective as Ibuprofen in treating chronic pain due to arthritis during a period of the study. Another study found that two grams of ginger helps to reduce inflammation and pain after an injury or surgery. In order to maximise the effects of ginger, it is important to incorporate enough in your diet, ideally spread out throughout the day.
The main anti-inflammatory benefits of moringa is attributed to its high antioxidants level. This helps to reduce oxidative damage to the cells, which consequently reduces inflammation. A study demonstrated that supplementing 7g of moringa for 3 months lead to significant increase in blood antioxidant levels as well as a 16% decrease in a marker of oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are intertwined processes that form a hallmark of so many chronic diseases. Therefore, reduced oxidative stress often translates to lower inflammation and higher balance in the body.
Our organic moringa is another versatile food of the range, it can absolutely be used raw, and in baked treats. It can simply be taken in hot water every morning. Or for a convenient alternative you can turn to our organic, plant based moringa capsules!
Our organic chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids ALA and other compounds that have anti-inflammatory benefits in the body, especially the brain. Regular consumption of chia seeds can help to support your body in reducing inflammation, especially during times of stress.
A study showed that eating 37g of chia seeds daily can reduce an inflammatory marker in diabetes patients by 40%. These little seeds have also shown to reduce inflammation of the brain cells, which can lead to the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease. You do not have to consume exactly 37g to see anti-inflammatory benefits, though. The goal is to incorporate chia seeds into your diet when you can - the more frequently the better.
Check out these chia seed & moringa parfaits by @jadoresmoothies! How delicious?!
This may come as a surprise, but sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of vitamins, most of which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene (a plant compound that gives a bright orange colour), which are both potent antioxidants helping to protect your cells against inflammation.
Sweet potatoes also have a high concentration of choline - a nutrient known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Choline helps to reduce inflammatory responses in the body, resulting in less inflammation and faster recovery. While research is still lacking, it has shown promising results in reducing systemic inflammation and therefore should be included as part of a healthy diet.
Our organic orange sweet potato flour is the perfect version of the supplement that can be added to all your favourite dishes or desserts!
All the above superfoods have shown to improve inflammation and we highly recommend adding at least a few if not all into your diet! Our range is 100% pure, organic and preservative free. Farmed and processed at the best standards for maximum nutrient retention!