Superfoods that are anti-inflammatory in every season
Summer brings berries and watermelon, while winter brings kale and beets. Seasonal changes can alter the recipe for anti-inflammatory foods to enjoy.
A consistent diet of these nutritious foods can benefit your heart, brain, and even your joints, and scientists believe that their anti-inflammatory properties may be one reason.
Inflammation: How it Benefits and Harms the Body
Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process in your body — it's why your knee swelled and turned red after you injured it. However, this inflammatory repair process can occasionally go awry, lasting too long and causing more harm than good. When inflammation is a result of a persistent problem, it can exacerbate health problems. Chronic stress, obesity, or an autoimmune disorder can all contribute to the development of conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, or cancer. Additionally, it may be detrimental to the brain. Researchers have discovered a link between increased brain inflammation and an increased risk of cognitive decline and impairment. Including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet on a regular basis may help to inhibit this process.
Three anti-inflammatory diets
No research has been conducted specifically on the anti-inflammatory benefits of eating seasonal foods. "However, it is widely accepted that eating what is in season is likely to be fresher, and there are obvious additional benefits, including those for the environment," says Natalie McCormick, a Harvard Medical School research fellow in medicine. Consuming seasonal foods may also help you save money on your grocery bill.
When it comes to anti-inflammatory foods, the objective should be to include as many as possible in your daily diet. "Our focus is now on eating patterns, as interactions between foods and their combinations appear to have a greater effect than individual foods," McCormick explains.
According to her, three diets, in particular, contain the optimal combination of components: the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index. These diets are similar in that they emphasize anti-inflammatory foods such as colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats such as olive oil and nut butter. However, these diets also eliminate foods — such as highly processed snacks, red meat, and sugary beverages — that have been shown to increase inflammatory markers in the body, such as a substance called C-reactive protein.
Combining and matching foods from these diets, as well as selecting the freshest in-season offerings, can help you tailor an anti-inflammatory approach to your personal tastes. Whole grains, legumes, and heart-healthy oils can be year-round staples, but for added variety, mix and match your fruits and vegetables. The following are some excellent seasonal options.
Winter anti-inflammatory superstars
Consider going green during the cold winter months. Numerous green leafy vegetables, such as kale, collard greens, and swiss chard, take center stage during this season. Beets, for example, are another excellent and hardy winter vegetable. Sweet potatoes and turnips are excellent choices. Other fruits and vegetables to try to include brussels sprouts,, kiwi, oranges, lemons, and pineapple.
Anti-inflammatory superstars of spring
As the spring months approach, keep an eye out for avocados asparagus, apricots, carrots, mushrooms, rhubarb, and celery, as well as fresh herbs.
Summer's anti-inflammatory superstars
Summer is the peak season for a variety of produce, and you'll have plenty of options. Berries are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory compounds. Consider experimenting with various blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries varieties. Consider marionberries, huckleberries, gooseberries, and cloudberries, all of which grow in various parts of the United States. Additionally, peaches, cherry, green beans okra, eggplant, zucchini, watermelon, honeydew melon, and plums are excellent choices.
Anti-inflammatory superstars for the fall
Nothing quite captures the essence of autumn quite like a crisp, crunchy apple. However, there are a variety of other anti-inflammatory foods to try, including cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, winter squash, parsnips, peas, ginger, and various lettuce varieties.
Whenever possible, substitute a portion of less healthy food for anti-inflammatory food. For instance, swap a muffin for a fruit salad made with fresh berries, or a plate of French fries for a baked sweet potato. Making small changes to your diet over time can result in significant health benefits.