Stave Off Inflammation with These Foods

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Because nobody likes swelling up like a blowfish.

Inflammation is the process of your body fighting off foreign entities like viruses and bacteria. It can also happen when you’re injured, since blood surges to the damaged spot to begin repairs. In theory, this is a good thing; all of your cells are flocking to a damaged spot to fight off intruders while repairing damage. The problem is that excessive inflammation in your body can lead to permanent damage or long-lasting conditions. If your body overreacts to every little thing, you’re going to be spending a lot of time painfully swollen. To help keep inflammation down to manageable levels, there are certain foods and spices you can eat to keep things regulated.

Plants and herbs like ginger, turmeric, and rosemary are known to have potent inflammation-fighting properties. Turmeric in particular is especially potent because it contains a special chemical compound called curcumin that’s chock full of anti-inflammation agents, as well as anti-oxidants. If you add some black pepper to a dish with turmeric in it, your body will absorb the compounds better.

Speaking of spices, capsaicin is an especially powerful inflammation fighter, though you may be somewhat reluctant to eat it. Capsaicin is what gives chili peppers their fiery kick, so if you’re not into spicy foods, capsaicin isn’t going to be especially friendly to you. If you can handle the heat, though, capsaicin will get your blood flowing like nobody’s business, which in addition to managing inflammation, is great for strengthening your metabolism.

If you’re not into spice, try something a little milder: green tea. Green tea’s antioxidants are good at battling viral agents in your body, providing some extra ammunition to your immune system and keeping inflammation under control. It’s also great for your general mood and brain health. I prefer it iced, personally.