There are plenty of foods to suggest to shoppers to help combat inflammation and boost general health.
What’s the truth about inflammation, and is it as bad as the media is making it out to be? Find out what you need to know about inflammation and anti-inflammatory foods to best support your shoppers.
Inflammation is normal! We encounter the inflammatory response on a regular basis: when we get a bug bite or a bruise or a cut or scrape. Inflammation includes redness, heat, swelling, throbbing, and pain; all part of the body's healing response, signaling the need for nourishment and increased immune activity to the area. Although an acute inflammatory response is necessary, chronic inflammation can damage the body, overwork the immune system, and cause illness. Stress, genetic predisposition, lack of exercise, poor dietary habits, and exposure to things like secondhand smoke, can all contribute to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is triggered by an over expression or lack of control of normal protective mechanisms and luckily can be greatly subsided through dietary choices and lifestyle changes.
How to help your shoppers have a healthy inflammatory response? There are many nutrients readily found in some of our favorite foods that have been studied to successfully decrease the markers of inflammation.
- Omega-3 rich foods: fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and cod, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds as well as soybeans, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Omega-3 fatty acids alleviate inflammation and can even block inflammatory pathways. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, omega-3’s also suppress 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines, immune system molecules known to destroy joints and cause inflammation.
- Vitamins C and D, folate, resveratrol and lycopene. Vitamin C is found in most fruit and vegetables, while vitamin D can be obtained through exposure to sunlight, fortified milk, or naturally in sardines and butter. Folate is found in spinach, asparagus, lentils, fortified breads and more. Resveratrol is found in red wine, and thus in the skin of red grapes as well as mulberries and cocoa powder. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelon and guavas. Acai and pomegranate are also being studied for their anti-inflammatory effects.
- Cherries, tart cherries, in particular are known as powerful anti-inflammatory foods. The flavonoid and carotenoid phytonutrients in cherries have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A study conducted at UC Davis found that regular consumption of cherries (for approximately a month) produced a decrease in markers of inflammation in blood. Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University found that tart cherries may be beneficial for those with inflammatory osteoarthritis, helping manage pain more effectively.
- Spice meals up with cayenne, ginger, and turmeric. Cayenne contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and protects our cells where they need it the most, in the nucleus. Cayenne pepper is also thought to be beneficial in relieving arthritis and back pain. Ginger is another powerful anti-inflammatory known to reduce pain. Gingerols offer free radical protection and have been shown to reduce discomfort and swelling related to arthritis. Lastly turmeric, also a plant of the ginger family, contains the powerful curcurmin, and may have a positive effect on the mechanisms that cause inflammation and pain.
- Other beneficial anti-inflammatory foods? Green tea, dark green veggies, pomegranates and yes, dark chocolate. Choosing vibrantly colored foods is a sure way to get your antioxidants and have a healthy inflammatory response.
There are plenty of foods to suggest to shoppers to help combat inflammation and boost general health. With flyers, endcaps, prepared food selection and more you can make anti-inflammatory eating easy for your shoppers.