Foods that Fight Inflammation for Less than $5
Nutritionists tell us that sticking to a healthy diet, especially one that fights free radicals and inflammation, is the number one thing you can do for your health. News to you? Even if you’re personally not on the bandwagon yet, a healthier, more anti-inflammatory diet does seem to be on the front page of most health magazine these days, and rightfully so!
Inflammation is at the root of many health conditions, from causing discomfort, aches and pains in your joints and muscles, to creating belly bloat and contributing many skin issues. The good news is that eating well and leading an anti-inflammatory lifestyle doesn’t have to cost you your entire paycheck! Healthy foods often have that negative stigma, with people assuming that they are all expensive (and don't taste good). But that doesn’t have to be true, if you select the right items. And by simply modifying your diet with foods that best fight inflammation, you may be able to alleviate some or most inflammatory symptoms. Read on to learn to learn our best choices that cost under $5 each.
What is Inflammation
First it’s important to understand what Inflammation is, and why it can be bad in the body. Inflammation is the body’s defensive response against intruders, injuries, and other harmful stimuli. It’s a result of the body’s white blood cells releasing chemicals to provide protection. Short-term (or acute) inflammation responses are critical to keeping us healthy. Without acute inflammation, our bodies would never be able to recover from infections and injuries, or fight off pathogens. It’s when our bodies are constantly or chronically inflamed, that problems start to rise. More on that in just a moment. First let’s look at some common signs of inflammation. They include:
- Redness over the affected area
- Swollen muscles/joints
- Stiffness of muscles
While this process is important to keep our body functioning and protected, inflammation isn’t always a welcome reaction. When this life-saving biological response goes from acute to chronic, it can have a host of adverse effects. Chronic inflammation (inflammation that could last for months or even years) can be a result of autoimmune diseases, a poor diet, some lifestyle habits, exposure to pollutants or irritants, and general wear and tear with age/life. Inflammation-related issues can worsen over time and even cause life-threatening diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, and obesity, among others.
Good News! You Can Now Fight Inflammation with Food!
One of the best ways to keep inflammation at bay is to modify your diet with the right type of foods. There are certain foods that you most certainly should AVOID however. Here’s a list of some common foods that cause inflammation:
- Anything containing high-fructose corn syrup or table sugar
- Foods containing trans fats (margarine, microwave popcorn, crackers, etc.)
- Anything cooked with seed or vegetable oils
- Anything that includes refined carbohydrates
Top Ten Foods that Fight Inflammation for Less than $5
Being mindful of what you eat and making some dietary adjustments can help prevent inflammation and keep it from manifesting itself into disease or chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, when it comes to changing diets, people often shy away because it’s not always budget-friendly. Lucky for you, here is our easy to follow, top 10 list of the superfoods that fight inflammation and won’t burn a hole in your pocket. In fact they are all under $5!
Without further ado, here are some foods that you could use to build up an effective and wallet-friendly anti-inflammatory diet:
When it comes to talking about anti-inflammatory foods, people often forget chia seeds (although if you follow our page at all, you know we talk about them all the time!). Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and featuring a small price tag, chia seeds definitely deserve a spot in your anti-inflammatory diet. The credit goes to the omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to cool that fiery inflammation. Chia seeds pack a huge punch of nutritional value, with just an ounce containing nearly 5g of omega-3 fatty acids, 4 g of protein, and 11 g of fiber!
If you’re a fan of fish and currently dealing with inflammation, then you should get your hands on a serving of sardines. Like all fish, sardines also include a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which can keep those inflammation symptoms under control. While it’s true that sardines aren’t usually the first choice for seafood lovers in America (they are loved in Europe), if you’re building an under-budget anti-inflammatory diet, this is one of your best options.
Walnuts are one of the most nutritious nuts. Offering all kinds of health benefits, walnuts can help you keep your gut in healthy condition, your weight under control, and keeping risks of developing cancer, and of course, inflammation, under control. Walnuts include healthy omega-3 fats, vitamin E and ellagitannins, all of which can fight inflammation. The best part about walnuts is that you don’t necessarily have to cook them, and a few servings are under $5!
If you want to fight inflammation on a budget, you can never go wrong with an avocado. Avocados boast an assortment of nutrients, making it the favorite fruit for the health conscious. They are rich in phytosterols (a compound found in plant cells), monounsaturated fats, zinc, manganese, and vitamins C and E — the perfect anti-inflammatory cocktail! It is also easy to digest, great for blood sugar management and extremely versatile. You can pair it with just about anything! If you have extra budget to spare, you could go one step further by getting avocado oil and using it to cook your meals.
Turmeric is a yellow spice that has a lot of benefits to offer. This spice includes a special curcuminoid compound known as curcumin, which has strong inflammation-fighting properties. Curcumin battles molecules that cause inflammation, making it a must-have for a daily regimen. The two most common ways to consume turmeric is:
- Adding turmeric powder to your meals and drinks
- Taking a curcumin supplement
While adding turmeric to meals is super cheap, it’s a less effective way to get the most out of the inflammation fighting power of curcumin, since the curcumin exists in very low quantities inside turmeric, and it’s difficult for the body to absorb. Fortunately, a powerful curcumin supplement can cost as little as $0.71 per day!
If you want to experience anti-inflammatory euphoria, then you must try ginger. It is highly recommended for those who have joint discomfort due to inflammation. Ginger is actually a flowering plant, and its roots are where all the beneficial nutrients are stored. You can consume ginger by adding it to your meals, putting it in your favorite juice or smoothie, or making tea with it.
There is a very wise saying, “The greener the meals, the healthier the person.” This is especially true if you incorporate collard greens to your diet. They are famous for lowering cholesterol, improving digestion and heart health, and of course, for their anti-inflammatory properties. The credit goes to the many vitamins and antioxidants found in the collard greens that can keep inflammation under control. You can enjoy your collard greens in many ways:
- Mix them up in a braise
- Throw them in a soup
- Steam them and add Tahini or lemon juice and olive oil
- Add them to salads
Another leafy vegetable that is great at fighting inflammation are mustard greens. Like collard greens, they contain different minerals and vitamins, offering a strong cocktail of nutritious benefits. They are high in fiber, antioxidants, great for eye health and bone building and they have an incredible amount of vitamin C to boost immune system functioning. And of course, they do not cost much.
When it comes to building an anti-inflammatory diet, bone broth is another awesome option. You can use the bones of cows, lamb, chicken, or even fish to make a bowl. It’s super easy to make, and bone broth contains a number of vitamins and an amino acid called “glutamine.” Glutamine is very effective at combating inflammation associated with the gut.
Last, but certainly not least, berries deserve a place in your anti-inflammatory diet. They are rich in antioxidants, which are great at keeping inflammation symptoms under control. They are chock full of vitamin C, fiber and low on the glycemic index. Besides, who doesn’t love the sweetness of fresh berries? Add them to your bowl of chia seed pudding, or simply chow down on a few in the morning and start your day off right. Throw the over-ripe berries into the freezer and savor them as a frozen sweet treat instead of grabbing the ice cream. They taste just as good! Even your kids will love them.
There’s no easy one food solution for chronic inflammation. But inflammation is manageable with stress reduction, exercise, quality sleep, and dietary changes. Fighting inflammation is absolutely do-able and you have the tools to keep it better under control! Consistency is key and making good food choices is one of the best places to start. Go ahead and try the above-mentioned foods that fight inflammation, and you should start to notice the difference!