Inflammation plays a dual role when it comes to our health. On the one hand, it is our body’s beneficial response to fighting off illness or repairing a wound. That fever and sore throat with swollen glands you feel when getting sick, the redness and swelling you incur around an infected cut are signs your immune system is sending white blood cells to the rescue. In this sense, inflammation is a healthy response within your body. However, when your joints feel stiff and swollen, it’s not a good sign and can cause serious damage. The problem worsens as the inflammation becomes chronic.
It’s one of the leading causes of illness.
What are the causes of chronic inflammation? These can be anything from a virus or bacteria, an autoimmune disorder, the way you handle stress–even the foods you eat. From fatty foods to sugary treats, what you eat matters. But we gardeners knew that, right? Did you also know how extensive the effects of inflammation could be? The wide-ranging problems linked to chronic inflammation are staggering, including arthritis, depression, obesity, Alzheimer’s, irritable bowel syndrome and heart disease, to name a few.
“It turns out that sugar—in all its many guises—is the real culprit for making you fat. What it also means is that because sugar causes inflammation throughout the body, it increases your risk of cardiovascular disease—and just about everything else!” says Dr. Christiane Northrup. According the American Heart Association, one 20 ounce soda can increase your risk of heart attack by 30%.
Those stats are enough to send me fleeing to my garden, shouting, “Give me fruits and veggies!!”
Foods that Heal.
Some vegetables can lower inflammation levels better than others. You’ve probably heard of turmeric. It’s the spice that’s nice to your heart and body because it has been proven to lower inflammation. Not sure I can eat enough of it to do the trick, though I do enjoy it in my salads. It does come in a pill form. But if you’re like me and don’t like taking pills, try to add these fruits and vegetables to your garden. They’re key when it comes to reducing inflammation naturally.
Dark leafy greens like broccoli, spinach and kale.
Best berries are blueberries and raspberries.
Colorful vegetables like ruby-red beets and orange sweet potato and papaya are awesome.
Roots like garlic and onions are also inflammation fighters.
The plant-based fat olive oil is the perfect complement to your veggies.
Something I can’t grow, but works wonders on inflammation is shiitake mushrooms.
And to wash it all down, grab a glass of green tea. It’s a powerhouse!