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Inflammation is an important immune system function. But, when out of control, it can cause serious damage. Inflammation has been linked to major diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancerdiabetesheart disease and signs of aging.

There’s good news, though: many foods are naturally anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants found in foods protect your cells from the effects of free radicals and can help reduce an overabundance of inflammation in your body.

seaweed
Seaweed, which has anti-inflammatory properties, contains 14 times more calcium by weight than milk. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Here are 12 natural, anti-inflammatory foods:

1. Beets, with their wonderful red color, are a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Beets can boost your energy and lower your blood pressure. A single serving of 500 milliliters of beetroot juice has been shown to reduce blood pressure by 10.4/8 millimeters. Beets are high in nitrates; this study showed that a serving of beetroot juice boosted athletic performance by one to three percent.

2. Blueberries have been found to reduce inflammation in many studies on animals; there are yet to be more studies done on humans. Studies do indicate that blueberries are good for brain health. It is best to eat organic berries since pesticides on berries are hard to wash away due to their size.

3. Broccoli is loaded with detoxifying antioxidants. Broccoli is a particularly rich source of kaempferol and isothiocyanates, both anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli even has a significant amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which is a well known anti-inflammatory.

4. Flaxseed oil has a balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. The omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. Research studies show lignans can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. It was also found that lignans may play an important role in increasing breast cancer survival. Three studies following thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer were published at PubMed Central (123)

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