Top 10 Highlights
We are all familiar with inflammation when we scrap our knee or get a cut. The wound gets red and inflamed which just means the body is doing its job by increasing blood to the wound to deliver infection fighting corpuscles and cells to form scar tissue. When the wound is better the inflammation goes away.
Research that’s been going on over the last decade or so suggests that the body has a background level of inflammation that people are calling ‘systemic inflammation’, and that a high level of this background inflammation is linked to a variety of diseases and even the way in which our body ages.
Some foods help reduce the level of systemic inflammation in the body and others tend to increase the inflammation. It’s all got to do with prostaglandins which are chemical compounds found throughout the body. Prostaglandins do a number of things, one of which is to regulate inflammatory mediation.
We’re not advocating in favour of this whole inflammatory thing, although it sounds fair enough. If it was incredibly good to reduce our levels of inflammation what foods would we have to eat?
(Note, the inflammation factor (IF) figures we are quoting are from nutritiondata.self.com, which is a pretty comprehensive website on food nutrition if you’re interested. We don’t know them, but we like their graphs). The higher the IF the better.
Inflammation Factor: 53
Some people are not going to mind this entry and others will jump straight to number nine, but include some broccoli in your meals when you can. Just lightly boiled or steamed this is a tasty vegetable and great for soaking up some of the sauces you might have in the meal.
Green beans, carrots and celery all have an IF of between 0 and 20. They’re not going to make up for big dollops of butter on your lunch sandwich, but they will help. Mostly they’ll give you something to eat the broccoli with.
Prevent arthritis by eating broccoli. We’re not sure if the person speaking is a person. We think it might be a computer. What do you think?
Inflammation Factor: 116
Well aren’t we the lucky ones. Avocado is a really good anti inflammatory and it’s just an absolutely yummy thing to eat by itself, in a salad, spread on a sandwich (wholegrain of course) or as guacamole.
Lemon is mildly anti inflammatory so an avocado cut in half with lemon juice and pepper on it is a fantastic treat and great for levelling out the days inflammation.
These guys think avocado is the best food on the planet. Whether or not it’s a good anti inflammatory is beside the point, it’s just the best.
8. Red Bell Peppers/Capsicum
Inflammation Factor: 126
The trusty pepper is known by a number of names around the world. What we’re talking about is the big pepper, not the little red chilli pepper. These guys can be sliced raw and put in salads, cooked quickly in some olive oil and added to pasta’s or roasted in the oven and put next to the turkey for some anti inflammatory love.
Oh, they are great barbequed. Leave them on the grate so they get nice black lines along them. Yum, and very, very good for you.
Mmm, mmmm. OptimumHealthCafe lady doesn’t talk about inflammation but we love the salad and we know it has bell peppers in it.
Inflammation Factor: 129
Ginger, like some of the higher ranking foods, is not something we sit down and have a meal of, but it can be used as a flavouring in all sorts of foods and will help to balance out the inflammatory components in the meal (there will inevitably be inflammatory ingredients in most of the dishes we eat).
Get yourself a ginger grater and become a ginger eater.
Dr Weil talks about ginger and tumeric. We don’t have tumeric on our list but sounds like we should.
6. Red Chilli
Inflammation Factor: 274
These are going to be hard to eat in any great quantity without resulting in side effects that we probably don’t want to know about. But a couple of little red chilli’s (the hot little numbers, not the big bell peppers) are a great accompaniment to a lot of dishes and that extra dose of anti inflammatory compounds might just be enough to keep you fit on the inside.
It’s KOAT, but it’s okay.
Inflammation Factor: 278
Nuts are a funny bunch. Hold on, that’s grapes. Nuts are a funny type of food. They’re good for you in a lot of ways, but bad for you sometimes, don’t eat too many but eat enough, eat cashews but not peanuts.
Well the same goes for their anti inflammatory properties. Almonds are good. In fact almonds are great. Peanuts, cashews and pistachio’s are also pretty good. Walnuts are bad. Badbadnotgood. To save confusion just eat a few almonds every few days and maybe mix it up once every few weeks with some cashews.
Mike Foster here. He’s a bit confused on the mono, poly fat thing, but he can talk while eating almonds and we like that.
Inflammation Factor: 335
Salmon and his fatty-acid, omega-3 friends, tuna, mackerel and the rest of them are regularly at the top of lists of the healthiest things to eat. It’s nice to see them back in the pack this time, kicked out of first place by some pretty stinky customers as well.
Nevertheless, this is a beautiful, tasty food and helps you in so many ways. Add anti inflammation to its long list of credits.
Oh my, this guy is blending some of our top rating anti inflammatory foods, and a delicious recipe to go along with them.
Inflammation Factor: 374
Who have thought onion was anti inflammatory? It’s such an aggressive, eye-watering piece of stuff. But there you go. And not just a little bit anti inflammatory, the humble onion is mightier than the too-cool salmon and his friend, trendy tuna.
Onion is a standard component of heaps of sauces and salads so put two in your next dish instead of one and the anti inflammatory good guys in your body will love you for it.
Does this woman have the fix for onion tears? No she doesn’t, but she knows her onions. PS. Put your onion in the fridge before cutting it and you won’t cry.
2. Olive oil
Inflammation Factor: 1,137
This is a bit odd because fresh olives are somewhere around an IF of 0 meaning they are neither inflammatory nor anti inflammatory. The oil taken out of the olive must be all the good stuff. With this IF it is worth putting olive oil on everything you eat. Little wonder Mediterranean countries like Italy have low rates of heart disease.
Why eat olive oil indeed. Mike Foster is back and he is good on his oils.
Inflammation Factor: 4,863
Wow, you might live a long and healthy life but you aren’t going to have too many friends visiting you. Eat garlic as much as possible. It rates so highly on the IF scale that even just a little bit each day is going to help balance out those negative prostaglandins.
Or, if you are really keen on getting your systemic inflammation down why not develop a taste for garlic sandwiches. Just remember the caution given at the start of this entry, your friends are not going to invite you around so much.
This guy is a guru. He’s actually pretty good.
Bananas are not good with an IF of -115. Roast lamb on the other hand isn’t too bad at -49 (even less if you baste it in olive oil). Feta cheese comes in at a not so great -136 but the real killer is butter. -720 IF. Spread it thickly at your peril.