Hot weather, happy hours, and summer hikes – no matter what you’re up to this month, the excitement and busyness of the season can lead to increased inflammation.
Here are five in-season foods to help keep inflammation at bay:
1. Cherries Research shows that cherries are major inflammation fighters. Tart cherries and tart cherry juice, in particular, can help reduce inflammatory markers and recovery time following a workout. Cherries contain phytonutrients called anthocyanins, which give them their deep-red color and may also have an anti-cancer effect.
2. Blackberries Like cherries, blackberries are a great source of anthocyanins. In fact, blackberries have been shown to have the highest antioxidant capacity when compared to raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries. For a major antioxidant-rich breakfast, add blackberries to an acai bowl!
3. Cabbage Cabbage is a major source of sulforaphane, a compound that helps reduce inflammation and may also help reduce the risk of cancer. As a relatively inexpensive vegetable, a head of cabbage goes a long way during the week; try roasting cabbage wedges, adding thin slices to salads, or including it in a fresh summer stir-fry. Interestingly, cool cabbage leaves may also work as a compress to help reduce inflammation when applied directly to the skin. In fact, new moms may find cabbage leaves relieve breast engorgement and help reduce breast pain that can occur while breastfeeding.
4. Tomatoes As a great source of lycopene (an anti-inflammatory compound), tomatoes may help reduce the risk of both cardiovascular disease and cancer. They’re also a great source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps boost immunity and keep skin healthy.
5. Peaches Peaches are high in vitamin C and a great summer treat that can help reduce excess inflammation. Research shows that peaches help reduce oxidative stress and prevent organ damage. To get the most benefits, opt for fresh peaches (rather than canned) and eat the peel, too.
To further reduce inflammation, be mindful of your consumption of highly processed foods, added sugars, and alcohol and be sure to get enough sleep.