We all find that as our bodies age, they become less efficient at fighting off disease, our immune systems tend to slow down, and we just don’t recover as quickly as we did in our youth! It’s important to keep yourself as fit and healthy as you can, not only to relieve current health problems, but to also lessen the chances of developing others. One way to do this is through your diet, and understanding the foods, spices and herbs that can naturally aid your body’s immune system.
You may be suffering from various minor ailments, most of us will have one on-going niggle or another, or your problems may be more debilitating, such as arthritis or osteoarthritis. Most diseases and injuries will generate some form of inflammation, which causes you pain and discomfort. Whilst it is important to find out what all the medical options are, such as surgery, physiotherapy and medication, you should also make sure you are doing what you can to best support your body’s natural ability to heal.
Inflammation is the body’s instinctive response to injury or disease. As a critical part of the immune system, the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce set to work to protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. It has both positive and negative effects on your body. The positive is that it helps your body respond to stress. However, chronic, low-grade inflammation is thought to be one of the leading causes of disease, premature aging, and illness.
Now, it might sound obvious, and possibly a bit tedious (it doesn’t have to be!) but you can help your body fight inflammation by reducing stress, eliminating sugar and processed foods, and getting enough sunshine. Diet is a key part of your inflammation-fighting plan, and some foods have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
So, here they are, time to keep or add them to your diet now!
- Broccoli is full of vitamin C and calcium. It is part of the cruciferous family, and contains a compound called sulphoraphane, which helps slow cartilage damage in joints due to osteoarthritis.
- Hemp Oil has lots of omega-3 fatty acids, and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) to further fight inflammation.
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation.
- Walnuts are full of vitamin E and more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. (Soak your walnuts and other nuts before you eat them to remove the enzyme inhibitor, making them easier for your body to digest).
- Onions and garlic. Onions have lots of quercetin, a potent antioxidant that can help your body fight inflammation. Garlic contains sulphur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Garlic is a member of the allium family and contains a compound called diallyl disulphide, which may help with a number of diseases—including arthritis.
- Pineapple has bromelain, an antioxidant that naturally boosts your immunity.
- Spinach has plenty of carotenoids, one kind of inflammation-reducing antioxidant and it also contains vitamin E. (Make sure to steam your spinach for effective digestion).
- Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin and has been used for centuries in India to ward off inflammatory diseases.