Self, Health And Wellness

10 Antioxidant-Packed Foods You Need In Your Life STAT

Photo: WeHeartIt

By Sarah-Jane Bedwell

Believe it or not, there could be one culprit behind body ailments as varied as skin blemishes, digestive issues, joint pain and even heart disease. The common denominator? Inflammation.

It’s a problem that can actually spread from one part of your body to another. Case in point: the well-researched connection between gum disease and heart disease.

The good news is that one trip to the grocery store can produce a haul of healthy, anti-inflammatory whole foods. Pretty empowering to know that we can temper our body’s inflammation simply by reaching for the right snack, right?

Here’s a shopping list-starter: 10 healing, antioxidant-packed foods.

1. Tomato Sauce

Cooked tomatoes are even higher in the antioxidant, lycopene, than raw ones. Lycopene is associated with reduced levels of inflammation in several areas of the body, including the skin and lungs.

2. Edamame 

Studies have suggested that isoflavones, which are compounds found in soy, such as edamame, may help to reduce the C-reactive protein levels (and thereby reduce inflammation).

3. Curry

This spice,  a natural anti-inflammatory agent,  works well on colorful vegetables, which are also loaded with antioxidants. Try this recipe for delicious curry sweet potato fries for a double-dose of antioxidant power.

4. Pineapple

This tropical fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has been linked to decreased inflammation, particularly in the sinuses and joints. As an added bonus, it's also rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.

5. Salmon 

Consuming salmon and other cold-water fatty fish at least 2-3 times per week can increase the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in the diet. Studies have shown that eating a high-omega-6 and low-omega-3 diet is linked with higher levels of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins released by cells that can trigger inflammation.

6. Sunflower Seeds

News alert: these seeds are the highest natural source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that has been associated with reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body.

7. Oatmeal

The fiber in oatmeal and other whole grain foods is associated with reduced levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, which is a marker of inflammation. Interestingly enough, when used topically (think oatmeal bath), it's also an anti-inflammatory skin soother.

8. Walnuts

In addition to having those healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, walnuts also have other antioxidants that can help your body’s cells repair from damage.

9. Tart Cherry Juice

According to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, tart cherries may have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food. Studies have shown that athletes who drank tart cherry juice saw an improved performance while decreasing their use of anti-inflammatory meds. To reap the benefits, make sure that the juice is 100% tart cherry juice and not a blend of some kind, and aim to drink 1 cup per day.

10. Yogurt

Lowfat yogurt that contains live active cultures is a great source of probiotics, which can help reduce inflammation, specifically in the digestive system. 

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This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission from the author.