How to overcome inflammation with functional foods

Inflammation is the response of a tissue to injury often caused by invading pathogens. It is characterized by increased blood flow to the tissue causing increased temperature, redness, swelling, and pain.

Acute Inflammation protects the body in response to tissue damage by isolating the damaged area, mobilizing effector cells and molecules to the site, and finally promoting healing.

When inflammation persists or serves no purpose (chronic inflammation), it damages the body and causes illness. Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, and exposure to toxins can all contribute to chronic inflammation however dietary choices play a big role.

Associated with inflammation:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Asthma
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Chronic prostatitis
  • Obesity
  • Meals high in saturated fat, and calories

And many more…

Many foods are naturally anti-inflammatory, whilst other foods can be po-inflammatory (causing inflammation). Hence, the types of foods you consume may have a significant impact on your inflammatory responses.

Some inflammatory foods (causing inflammation) include:

  • processed foods
  • sugary foods
  • saturated fats (meat, cheese)
  • trans fats (commonly found in snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and vegetable shortening)

Foods to include in an anti-inflammatory diet:

  • Pineapple (bromelain)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Green tea
  • Fish
  • Purple foods- blueberry, pomegranate, beetroot, cherries
  • Kelp
  • Shitake mushroom
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • tofu
  • almonds
  • mustard seeds
  • dried cloves and oregano
  • sacha inchi seeds
  • Flaxseed oil

There are too many to list them all…

Anti-inflammatory Herbs:

  • Turmeric
  • Cats claw
  • Ginger
  • Aloe vera
  • Licorice

In general fruits and vegetables are anti-inflammatory as well as wholegrains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds and these form the foundation of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet.

Food allergies also significantly contribute to inflammation and any known food intolerance or allergy should be strictly avoided.

Anti-inflammatory Recipe

Royal quinoa with tuna steaks

Serves six


1 cup royal quinoa, soaked 10-15 minutes and rinsed

3 cups water

Celtic sea salt, to taste

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil

400g fresh tuna steak

Tamari, to taste

100g shitake mushrooms, sliced

2 broccoli crowns, blanched for three to five minutes

1/4 cup coriander, chopped

1/4 cup spring onions, chopped

Lettuce leaves for serving


2 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp fresh ginger minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp tamari

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil


Heat a saucepan and add the rinsed quinoa. Stir in the hot pan until all the water has evaporated and the quinoa is beginning to smell toasty, (about five minutes).

Add 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, until the quinoa is tender.

Cook fish in oiled pan until golden and slightly crisp. Gently break apart fish. Add tamari to taste and toss together. Remove from the heat, and add to the bowl with the quinoa. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Whisk together the lime juice, ginger, garlic, tamari, sesame or walnut oil, and the oil. Toss with the quinoa mixture. Line plates with lettuce leaves, fill the leaves with the mixture, and serve.

By addressing inflammation we may greatly improve quality of life and wellness.


The information contained in this article is based on published nutritional research. It is in no way designed to diagnose or treat specific medical conditions. If you suffer from any chronic health problem; take prescription medication or are pregnant or lactating, please speak to your health professional.


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