Today, I’m going to talk to you about inflammation — a buzzword you’ve probably heard a few times by now.
So what exactly is it? Inflammation is naturally produced by your body as an immediate healing response to infections, injuries, and wounds of all kinds.
But when your immune system remains in a constant inflammatory state — either from untreated infections/injuries, an autoimmune disorder, long-term exposure to irritants, or an unbalanced microbiome — it can lead to major problems.
In fact, chronic inflammation is the No. 1 cause of disease and aging. And research links it to virtually every chronic disease of our time, including Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancers, heart disease, and Type II diabetes.
Fortunately, mounds of research show that by simply incorporating key foods into your diet, you can prevent— and even reverse — chronic inflammation.
So, today, without further ado, let’s talk about five of the most helpful foods for reducing harmful, chronic inflammation…
1.) Wild-caught fish
Wild-caught fatty fish — like mackerel, salmon, and sardines — comes in at the top of the list of inflammation-busting foods.
These kinds of fish contain particularly high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which thwart chronic inflammation and prevent dementia, heart disease, and stroke. They also help with inflammation that causes joint pain.
Just remember to opt only for wild-caught seafood — especially salmon. Wild-caught salmon comes only from the Pacific. They are much healthier than farmed fish, which are raised in less than ideal conditions, often treated with antibiotics to help prevent infection, and have higher levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6s.
To ensure you’re buying high-quality fish, simply look for a label on the packaging indicating it’s indeed “wild-caught,” and preferably buy it fresh from your local market.
2.) Green, leafy vegetables
I recently saw some photos of grocery stores from the politically correct corners of the Pacific Northwest taken during their “snowstorm of the century.” The kale was wiped out, leaving behind piles of extremely healthy greens of other varieties.
Quite frankly, this craze about kale being a “super food” is a con job. It’s actually the least digestible, least palatable, and least tasty of healthy greens.
In reality, all green, leafy vegetables reduce chronic inflammation. So, don’t be fooled into thinking one variety, like that nasty kale, is somehow supposed to be better than all the rest.
Rather than focus on one “super food,” I always encourage you to eat a variety of greens to give your body a diverse helping of various nutrients. I suggest incorporating plenty of greens from the Brassica family, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, mustard greens, and mustard spinach. Research links high intake of these greens with a lower risk of chronic inflammation — and even cancer.
In addition, all greens contain healthy fiber, which research links to lower levels of C-reactive protein in the blood — a major marker of chronic inflammation associated with heart disease.
As I explained last week, you should always get your fiber from fruits and vegetables — not processed grains and cereals. You can learn all about this fiber scam in the upcoming April 2019 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now’s the perfect time to get started.
Ginger has a long history as a folk remedy for stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea. And more modern research shows ginger helps rein in damaging, chronic inflammation.
Right off the bat, it goes to work reducing inflammation in your microbiome, the environment in your GI tract where billions of healthy probiotic bacteria thrive. It also helps prevent sugar from entering the bloodstream.
Plus, one recent study, published in the journal Arthritis, found that ginger capsules performed better as an anti-inflammatory agent than ibuprofen!
I often write about adding ginger to hot infusions at this time of year. It will help you get over colds and the flu faster. You can also add fresh, grated ginger to salads, soups, and stews.
And if you’re not a huge fan of the flavor, or would like the added convenience, ginger is also available in supplement form. I suggest 150 mg of Gingest®, a branded ingredient of choice, which is one of the superstar ingredients featured in my new blood sugar supplement, CoreMetabolicFX.
4.) Olive oil
A mainstay of the Mediterranean Diet (together with often-overlooked full-fat dairy), olive oil is loaded with potent antioxidants, including oleocanthal, which research shows possesses anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.
Some people will tell you to only ever use “extra virgin” olive oil. But that’s quite unnecessary.
Sure, it may taste lighter to you, but it isn’t any healthier than other varieties, as long as they are high-quality. So, if you prefer extra virgin in salads, that’s fine. But nutritionally speaking, there’s really no reason to pay the extra price.
Instead, focus more on choosing a high-quality olive oil. Stick to trusted brands that use only high-quality ingredients and processes. Some of my favorites include: Bariani, California Olive Ranch, Corto, Kirkland Organic, Lucero (Ascolano), Lucini, McEvoy Ranch Organic, Olea Estates, and Ottavio.
And remember, olive oil will only stay fresh for about three months in a dark cabinet at room temperature. So, only buy it in quantities you expect to use in that time frame.
Tomatoes contain more lycopene — a potent, inflammation-reducing carotenoid — than just about any other type of food. And cooked tomatoes, as found in tomato sauce and tomato paste, contain particularly high levels.
Lycopene also helps reduce inflammation of the prostate. (In fact, I’m putting the final touches on a new online prostate protocol, which will contain all the natural approaches shown to support a healthy prostate gland. As always, you’ll be the first to hear when it’s released.)
No matter how you choose to prepare your tomatoes, I always urge you to buy organic or from your local farmers’ market whenever you can. Especially since tomatoes rank No. 9 on the Environmental Working Group’s 2018 “Dirty Dozen” list, which highlights the types of produce with the highest levels of pesticides. (You can check out the full list here.)
However, a quick note: Tomatoes belong to the Solanaceae — or “deadly nightshade” — family. So, if you’re sensitive to this family of foods, which also includes peppers and eggplant, or if you have a sensitive immune system, you may want to limit your consumption.
Of course, there are many natural approaches for controlling inflammation in addition to your diet — including exercise routines, medical screenings, nutritional supplementation, and lifestyle interventions. You can learn all about the remarkably fast and easy ways to reverse the #1 cause of disease and aging in my brand-new online learning protocol, Dr. Micozzi’s Protocol for Eliminating Deadly Inflammation.
“Health Promoting Effects of Brassica-Derived Phytochemicals: From Chemopreventive and Anti-Inflammatory Activities to Epigenetic Regulation.” Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2013; 964539. doi.org/10.1155/2013/964539.
“A synoviocyte model for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: response to Ibuprofen, betamethasone, and ginger extract-a cross-sectional in vitro study.”Arthritis. 2012;505842. doi.org/10.1155/2012/505842.
“Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal.” Curr Pharm Des 2011;17(8):754-68. doi.org/10.2174/138161211795428911.