The Antioxidants/Anti-inflammation Connection

As you work to form habits that will help you eat mindfully without even having to thing about it, remember the connection between ANTI-oxidants and ANTI-inflammation.  Antioxidants play a critical role in helping to reduce chronic inflammation in the body.  (For a basic understanding of the process, see Inflammation and How to Calm It.)  Inflammation is associated with most chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s, asthma, arthritis, and cancer.

What you eat can either cause inflammation or help to prevent it, and foods that are high in antioxidants are some of your best weapons against it.  Try to eat the following:

  • Dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, and oregano
  • Coffee, tea, and red wine
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bell peppers and hot peppers

The main foods to stay away from are:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages or foods with added sugar
  • Processed meats like hot dogs and bacon
  • Fried foods
  • Refined grains like white flour, white rice, and white pasta
  • Excess alcohol

For a list of other types of foods that help fight inflammation, see our article Antioxidants:  Cell Defenders! .  In the meantime, make the connection between antioxidant and anti-inflammation and make it a point to include them in your meals.  You can put fresh spinach on sandwiches or add it to smoothies or pasta sauces; nuts make a great snack and add crunch to salads; berries can be dipped in dark chocolate for a delicious dessert; spice up your meals and cut down on the salt.

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