Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods Recommended By Health Coach

The food we eat has a big effect on how our body’s inflammatory system works. For example, foods high in carbohydrates have been seen to have an effect on raising the likelihood of chronic inflammation.[1]

On the other hand, low-carb foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are seen to do the direct opposite.[2]

It becomes clear, then, that if we want to stay fit and healthy, making sure we avoid foods that increase the likelihood of suffering chronic inflammation must be one of our priorities.

Here’s a list of the 10 best anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet and why we need them.

Why Do We Need Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

To understand why consuming anti-inflammatory foods are a good idea, you first have to understand what inflammation is—when it is a good thing and when it is not.

The term inflammation refers to one of the body’s most important protective mechanisms. All through our lifetime, we come in contact with organisms and chemicals that pose a threat to the body—some of these threats are milder than others.

The body always responds to these by releasing several chemicals in a mechanism called inflammation. This means inflammation is an immune response to harm.

Acute Inflammation

There are two kinds of inflammatory responses. An acute inflammatory response is a short-term and low-spread response. This is what is seen when we sustain cuts on our skins.[3]

The body senses a compromise in vascular integrity and sends signals to cells around that area to initiate inflammation. It is these signals that make the area swell up a bit, so the repair cells can get to work and healing can take place. If this response is blocked, wound healing will be slow.

Chronic Inflammation

In contrast with acute inflammation, chronic inflammation is a widespread inflammatory response. It takes place over a longer period and is usually not pronounced.

One can suffer chronic inflammation for a while and not know it. It has been associated with diseases like heart disorders, stroke, hypertension, and anxiety.[4]

Experts believe that chronic inflammation does not just exist on its own. There seem to be some factors that trigger and even sustain it, and one of those factors is our diet.[5]

10 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Here is a list of 10 anti-inflammatory foods you should have on your table as often as you can.

1. Fish

Fishes are a great source of protein, meaning they are great if you are trying to build some muscle. But that’s not all. They are also a storehouse of unsaturated fatty acids.

Unlike saturated fats, which cause a build-up of cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels, unsaturated fatty acids are healthy.

They are two kinds of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated fats are the ones stored in fish. High concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, a kind of polyunsaturated fat, have been linked to lowering the risk of premature death.[6] It has also been linked to reducing the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and inflammation.[7]

Eat fish as often as you can. They’re an amazing meal for most kinds of lunch.

2. Shrimps

Again, another seafood. Shrimps are such a great idea because they contain quite low calories while managing to contain healthy amounts of protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins.

The fat contained in shrimp is also an omega-3 fatty acid, a polyunsaturated fat with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The vitamins include vitamin B6 and vitamin E, which is great for the skin.[8]

Some minerals contained in shrimps include zinc, a micronutrient that helps improve our immunity and helps our gut function better[9], and iodine, which is needed for the production of one of the most important hormones in the body: tyrosine.[10] Without this mineral, we are at risk of developing thyroid disorders.

3. Nuts

Nuts are a healthy choice of anti-inflammatory food. They are tasty and do not contain a lot of calories.

Instead, they contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids contained in nuts have been linked to reducing inflammations that might cause arthritis.[11] They also contain vitamin E, which helps keep the skin moist and healthy.

Nuts may also have an impact on weight loss because aside from the vitamins and nutrients, the fiber in nuts also helps us feel full for a while after we eat them.[12]

4. Apples

Have you ever wondered why there is a saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, it’s because apples are one of the healthiest foods out there.

A whole apple contains almost every nutrient needed in a balanced diet: carbohydrates, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.[13]

The anti-inflammatory effects of apples come from their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are a class of compounds that function to mop out free radicals from the body.

Free radicals can cause oxidative stress since they are free compounds that can react quite easily with other body compounds. Therefore, mopping them out is effective in lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other harmful kinds of inflammation.

5. Berries

A dietician will always tell his clients to stick to eating fruits when they are trying to consume anti-inflammatory foods. This is such great advice, as fruits are a great source of natural antioxidants.

Berries taste great, and at the same time, they contain vitamins and minerals, and fiber. Vitamin C helps the immune system function optimally. Fiber helps our lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) function better—they make our stools heavier and easier to pass.

The fibers found in berries are soluble. They also have an effect on lowering our blood glucose levels as well as the level of cholesterol in our system.[14]

Anthocyanins, a class of antioxidants found in berries, have strong anti-inflammatory properties. They help keep cells in good shape by mopping out free radicals.

6. Avocados

Avocados are a rich source of many nutrients. A whole avocado contains a lot of potassium, magnesium, and fiber.[15]

Potassium helps in regulating body functions like water balance, cell signaling, and also the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Magnesium is needed for maintaining blood pressure. Fibers in avocados make it easier to pass stools.

Carotenoids contained in avocado are powerful in reducing the risks of cancers. They help keep free radicals in the body low, reducing oxidative stress.[16] They also stop the inflammation of new skin cells.

Include avocados in your meals as often as you can. Be creative. They can make a list of beautiful recipes.

7. Carrots

Carrots are root vegetables containing vitamins, minerals, and fibers.

Pectin, a fiber contained in carrots, can lower blood sugar. It does this by slowing the digestion of sugars and starches. They also have an effect on lowering your cholesterol levels.[17]

Carrots also contain a lot of carotenes. Our bodies convert this compound into vitamin A, which is great for our eyes. Without enough vitamin A, one is at risk of developing a condition called night blindness.[18]

Vitamin K, also contained in carrots, is helpful during coagulation.

Eat carrots as often as you can. If possible, make juices out of them and have yourself a drink.

8. Almonds

When it comes to almonds, you are sure to get a lot of healthy fatty acids, vitamin E, and the compound manganese. They also contain magnesium.

Eating almonds will help maintain your blood fatty acid levels. The healthy fatty acids contained in them will also reduce your risk of heart disease since they do not build up on the walls of arteries.[19]

Compared to other anti-inflammatory foods, almonds contain more calories. This does not mean that they will destroy your weight loss goals. If you can stick to having just enough, you are fine.

A few almonds once in a while are great for you.

9. Olive Oil

Olive oil is part of one of the healthiest diet plans there is—the Mediterranean Diet.[20] You should stick to this diet plan if you are down to eat just anti-inflammatory foods.

Olive oil contains a monosaturated fatty acid called oleic acid. This fatty acid helps lower the risk of chronic inflammation and can also lower the risk of cancer.[21]

Olive oils also contain some vitamin E, making them an added advantage to your skin. Just like you would do the coconut oil, you can use olive oil on your skin to keep it aglow.[22]

10. Oranges

Oranges contain a rich amount of vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and potassium. As I’ve mentioned previously, fiber keeps the GIT healthy while lowering the concentrations of cholesterol in the body.

Vitamin C helps immune function and also helps maintain connective tissue and blood vessel integrity.

If you are not in for having whole oranges, you can have yourself some homemade orange juice. It tastes great and is great for you.

Final Thoughts

Anti-inflammatory foods must be our go-to foods, seeing that they are foods that are loaded with chemicals that mop out inflammatory proteins. They are a class of food that have a healthy concentration of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, and our bodies would benefit greatly from them.

However, be especially careful of seafood if you have a history of allergic reactions. Many people show sensitivity to seafood like shrimp and fish because they contain allergens.

Though, this shouldn’t discourage you since there are still eight other anti-inflammatory foods on this list that you can choose from.

Featured photo credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Healthline: 6 Foods That Cause Inflammation
[2] Healthline: 13 of the Most Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Can Eat
[3] Cleveland Clinic: Inflammation
[4] National Library of Medicine: Linking Chronic Inflammation with Cardiovascular Disease: From Normal Aging to the Metabolic Syndrome
[5] Medical News Today: What to know about foods and inflammation
[6] Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Higher blood omega-3s associated with lower risk of premature death among older adults
[7] National Library of Medicine: Omega-3 Supplements and Cardiovascular Diseases
[8] Healthline: Is Shrimp Healthy? Nutrition, Calories, and More
[9] Medical News Today: What are the health benefits of zinc?
[10] endocrineweb: How Your Thyroid Works
[11] Arthritis Foundation: Best Nuts and Seeds for Arthritis
[12] Healthline: 8 Health Benefits of Nuts
[13] Medical News Today: What to know about apples
[14] Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source
[15] Healthline: 7 Potential Health Benefits of Avocado
[16] PubMed Central: The Odyssey of Bioactive Compounds in Avocado (Persea Americana) and Their Health Benefits
[17] Healthline: Carrots 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
[18] Healthline: Are Carrots Good for Your Eyes?
[19] Mayo Clinic: Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
[20] GoodHealthRecipe: Best Diet Plans for Overall Health
[21] Healthline: 11 Proven Benefits of Olive Oil
[22] Medical News Today: Is olive oil a good moisturizer for your face?

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How to Identify Your Core Needs In A Relationship

We all start relationships because we need to love and be loved, to feel appreciated and safe. But these are not the only basic needs each person seeks in a romantic union. So, what are the rest of the valuable things?

The problem is that we can rarely formulate our core needs in a relationship because we never thought about them. As a result, we start dating a new person hoping they’ll make us feel good, but it never happens.

To avoid another romantic disappointment, you should start identifying your relationship needs. When you have a clear structure of your needs, you’ll find it much easier to gravitate to the right partners instead of wasting time on dead-end relationships.

So, how to know what’s right for you? Read on to find out.

Core Needs in a Relationship: What Are They?

Human needs can be categorized into several types, such as physical, financial, emotional, etc. However, the majority of relationship needs are psychological.

The basic ones include the following:

  • Affection (romantic gestures, words of love, and sex)
  • Respect (your opinion matters to the other person)
  • Appreciation (receive gratitude and praise)
  • Security (physical and emotional safety)
  • Loyalty (partners are faithful to each other)
  • Trust (transparency in all aspects of life)

You can also have a hierarchy of those concepts and decide which are fundamental and which are more or less flexible.

For example, trust and loyalty are your top priorities, and you want your partner to follow them. So, if someone lies to you or cheats, that’s a dealbreaker.

At the same time, you are used to speaking about your feelings but don’t mind that your partner doesn’t share much because they’re reserved or shy.

Essentially, each person has to determine their needs for themselves and look for a partner who has similar values.

Can Basic Relationship Needs Differ From Person to Person?

We all value similar things fundamental to building a lasting relationship, such as love, passion, support, etc. But do we appreciate them to the same extent?

Obviously, the answer is “no” because different people have their own hierarchy of needs. It means that one specific need, such as raising kids, can be not as important as emotional comfort in the couple for one person but be a priority to another.

What does it depend on? Studies show that the distribution of values primarily depends on age.[1] But there are other factors, such as family traditions, culture, education, social circle, and personal traits.

Even though core needs like support and compassion are present in every person’s belief system regarding healthy relationships, their importance may vary from one individual to another.

How to Determine Your Relationship Needs?

When you know your core needs, you can determine the people you want to engage with by consciously or unconsciously comparing your needs and the other person’s ability to meet them.

Without a clear value system, you can lose yourself in a relationship and do things you don’t enjoy.

But fear not. The following techniques will help you get on the right track with determining your core needs.

1. Identify Your Love Language

Love languages are a concept first described in the 1990s by Gary Chapman, Ph.D.[2] Essentially, these are how we receive and express affection in our relationships.

If you can identify your love language, you can better understand your basic needs in a relationship.

There are five love languages:

  • Physical touch
  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service

To find out which of them is your go-to language, choose one thing that is the most significant in a relationship from the options below. Each option corresponds to the previous list of love languages.

What matters to you most:

  • Walking down the street holding hands, cuddling, hugs, and kisses
  • When your partner says words of love or compliments and praises you
  • Spending most of the evenings and weekends together
  • When your loved one often surprises you with gifts
  • Care and actual support, such as help with chores or breakfast in bed

Each love language can be translated into core needs: physical touch is physical intimacy and sex; words of affirmation equate to emotional support; receiving gifts means attention; acts of service are done through help and support, and quality time means attachment.

1 Action

Determine which love languages are closer to your heart

2. Decide What Currently Makes You Happy or Mad

You can use a simple exercise to figure out what you appreciate or can’t stand in a relationship. So, let’s start with identifying the things you enjoy.

Write “I love it when / It’s great when” on a piece of paper at least 10 to 15 times. Then, come up with a suitable ending. You can use current or past relationships as an example. The things you wrote are your needs.

If you can’t clearly define what’s most important to you in a relationship, try a reverse approach. It means pointing out the qualities or actions that you consider unacceptable. And again, take a piece of paper and write “I can’t stand/hate it when” several times and complete each sentence.

For instance, let’s say you wrote, “I hate it when my partner leaves dirty dishes in the sink.” It means that you appreciate tidiness as a trait in your loved ones and want them to perceive cleaning as rewarding work, not as a source of frustration.

Go through the entire list and add more phrases like that when you remember something else. At this point, you can write as many things as you want. Later, you’ll learn to differentiate between fundamental values and desirable but not required ones.

2 Actions

Write “I love it when…:” or “It’s great when…”
Write “I can’t stand…” or “I hate it when…”

3. Set Your Priorities

Now, when you have a list of needs, it’s time to decide which are the must-haves. It’s okay to have many standards and strive for perfection. But unfortunately, you won’t likely find a person who will fit all requirements.

The following method should help narrow your needs to five to seven critical things. For now, you have approximately 15 of them on the list from the previous chapter. So, write your needs on small pieces of paper and lay them in front of you on a table or other surface.

Now, imagine that you’re crossing a river, but to enter the bridge, you must leave one item behind. What’s it going to be? Repeat the same exercise until you have five to seven things without which you can’t imagine a romantic relationship. Of course, the number can be higher depending on your personality.

The last step is to order your concentrated needs by their importance. It’s an effective way to determine which items you will be looking for in a relationship in the first place and walk by if they aren’t present.

1 Action

Decide which are the Must-Have items for your needs.

4. Discuss Your Needs With Your Partner

The conversation is an effective way to check a couple’s compatibility and see if they view things similarly. In addition, it will help compare your values and boundaries and determine if you share them.

When should you start mentioning your core needs? Things like having kids and spending money are a little awkward to discuss on the first date. Others, such as vacation preferences, are safe to talk about anytime.

Generally, you’ll need to wait for the 4th or 5th date. In the meantime, ensure chemistry and emotional connection before discussing serious topics. Otherwise, there’s no point in wasting time matching the values.

Naturally, your partner will disagree with several things or their priority. Many dissimilarities equal fewer chances for this relationship to succeed in the long run.

But before you decide to break up, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can your partner adjust to your beliefs over time?
  • If they can’t, can you bend your own rules?
  • Is this specific need you disagree with outweighing the current relationship?

If the first and second answers are “yes,” don’t rush to call it quits. There’s still hope to find common ground.

1 Action

Schedule for this discussion with your partner now!

5. Analyze Your Current Relationship

If you’re currently dating, you can analyze the existing romantic relationship to determine what is important to you.

Ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers:

5 Actions

What do you like about your partner’s actions? For instance, they respect your opinion or give you space when needed.
What is missing in your relationship? Perhaps you often feel alone, or your partner does not pay enough attention to you.
When was the last time you felt inspired in a relationship? What was happening? For example, your loved one refused to go to a bar with friends to spend time with you.
What has worried you or made you nervous lately? Maybe you feel that your partner hasn’t been honest or noticed some signs leading you to a thought they might be cheating.[3] It means that you value honesty and transparency.
What is your role in this relationship? For example, you may favor the traditional model when one partner leads and the other follows. Or, maybe you prefer to split decisions and obligations down the middle.

The answers to these questions will reveal your genuine opinion about an ideal relationship’s components.

Can Core Needs Change With Time?

Basic needs and values do change over time despite their universal nature.[4] It can happen gradually with aging or spontaneously if a person faces significant life events. Social media and advertisements also have a great impact, especially in young and middle adulthood.

One interesting consequence of altering at least one value is that the others also begin changing to fit it. It doesn’t happen in one day and typically takes a year or two. It means that you will be a different person in ten years or so with a slightly different value system.

So, be wary of that and check into your needs from time to time.

Final Words

Building a happy relationship begins with mutual sympathy and continues and strengthens if the couple has the exact core needs. That’s why it’s so important to identify them early on. It will help weed out unsuitable partners and focus on finding the right person.

Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

Reference

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As far back as 1872, despite…

As far back as 1872, despite practically no women being allowed to vote, Victoria Woodhull of the Equal Rights Party became the first woman nominated for a US Presidential election. Frederick Douglass, a black abolitionist, was even chosen as her running mate.

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