Whether from running hard in training or pushing beyond your comfort zone in a race, inflammation is an inevitability all runners have to deal with.
After a demanding run micro-tears to your muscles occur and this results in inflammation with white blood cells rushing bio-chemicals to rebuild the stressed areas.
If you allow your body to rest and you fuel correctly your muscles will adapt positively to the stress, repairing and growing stronger.
On the other hand, if you regularly train too hard and skip recovery runs your muscles will not have the required time to repair. This can lead to inflammation that becomes chronic rather than temporary, possibly leading to injury.
As well as giving your muscles the time to rebuild, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help facilitate a faster recovery and counter the possibilities of chronic inflammation. Here are 10 nutritious foods with anti-inflammatory properties to get you started.
Avocados contain persenone A, which research shows suppresses the effects of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase, two chemicals that cause inflammation in the body.
Avocados are also high in healthy monounsaturated fats, and an excellent source of fibre, magnesium, potassium.
The combination of vitamins A, C, E and B-complex vitamins, with the polyphenols, make avocados a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet.
The spice turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin that has been shown to outperform NSAID (such as ibuprofen) for anti-inflammatory benefits.
Turmeric is also potent in antioxidants; glutathione, Coenzyme Q10 and Alpha Lipoic Acid, all which help fight inflammation.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant.
They are also high in fibre, and an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and K, potassium, and B complex vitamins.
Blueberries a high in polyphenols, that promote antioxidant activity. These phytochemicals, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins and tannins, prevent and repair the cellular damage done by free radicals. Blueberries are also rich in vitamin C and vitamin E.
Research has also shown that chemicals in blueberries, in particular, anthocyanins, help reduce inflammation.
Like Turmeric, the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger are well documented. Compounds in ginger work to manage inflammation by suppressing pro-inflammatory effects.
Ginger can also boost the immune system.
Pineapple is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium, manganese and a digestive enzyme called bromelain, which studies have shown helps regulate the immune response that creates unwanted and unnecessary inflammation.
Bromelain has also been shown help fight heart attacks or strokes by stopping blood platelets from sticking together or building up along the walls of blood vessels.
Spinach is regarded as one the leading anti-inflammatory foods because it contains lutein, which is linked to vitamin A and beta carotene.
This green leafy vegetable is also an excellent source of iron, vitamin K, and folate.
Broccoli contains the flavonoid quercetin which research suggests effectively counters inflammation.
The vegetable broccoli is high in phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which are powerful antioxidants. Broccoli is also a great source of potassium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Like spinach, kale is one of the best vegetables you can eat to fight inflammation because it contains the flavonoid quercetin.
It is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, and is a source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium, all essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function correctly.
Kale also contains lutein, zeaxanthin and glucosinolates which may help lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Like sweet potatoes, carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant.
Carrots also contain zeaxanthin and lutein, which are related to vitamin A, both of which are believed to fight inflammation.