Two of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods are salmon and avocados. I love these foods because they have amazing sources of healthy fats that can help fight inflammation. Salmon is full of Omega 3 fatty acids and avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats. I’m giving you the lowdown on both salmon and avocados and why they can help you in your inflammation and autoimmune healing process.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important compounds for reducing inflammation. Fish oil and fatty fish like salmon are where you’ll find your biggest bang for your buck in terms of these compounds. These fish sources contain both Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which your body uses more efficiently. Omega 3 fatty acids can:
- Reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals,
- Reduce the creation of specific immune cells to lessen anti-inflammatory response
- Can also help get your body back in balance after anti-inflammatory response faster, which helps lower low grade chronic inflammation period.
The other piece that is not often talked about when discussing omega 3’s and inflammation is something called specialized pro-resolving mediators or SPMs. Your essential fatty acids are converted to these SPM’s and research has shown that SPM’s help terminate the inflammatory process and promote tissue repair and regeneration. In fact, some studies have even shown that in disease states such as autoimmunity, that SPM production becomes dysregulated and fails to completely resolve inflammation. So SPMs don’t prevent inflammation but they help keep inflammation under control. If you’re interested in learning more about SPMs and omega-3 supplementation, please go to this blog. There’s also a link to a supplement protocol to access these supplements.
Other Benefits Of Salmon
- Salmon is also rich in Vitamin B12. This B vitamin supports our immune system and is involved in the reaction that makes energy for our bodies. In addition, B12 helps with white blood cell production, a key component of our immune system.
- Salmon contains Selenium. Selenium is a mineral that is crucial for our thyroid hormone production and DNA synthesis. This mineral also helps reduce inflammation in our bodies.
- Salmon is also rich in potassium, which can help you better manage your blood pressure and regulate fluid balance.
- It also contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant from the carotenoid family. This gives salmon its pink color. Astaxanthin helps resolve oxidative stress and inflammation and may also help lower LDL cholesterol and prevent skin damage.
- Salmon is also great for your brain and can improve depression.
How Do You Include Salmon In Your Diet?
The goal is to include salmon or other fatty fish at least three to five times per week. You want to aim for wild-caught salmon. It has a better nutritional profile than farmed salmon. If cost or access is an issue use canned salmon. I love topping salads with canned salmon or making a salmon salad ( like tuna salad) with coconut yogurt. Substitute salmon burgers as meat burgers at barbecues and use smoked salmon for breakfast protein
Avocados are an amazing fruit and are fantastic for fighting inflammation. They are also full of important vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal health. Despite the advice in the 1980s and 1990s, fats are our friends. We need healthy sources of fats in our diet to support a number of important functions and processes including:
- hormone production from cholesterol
- energy creation
- assist in vitamin and mineral absorption
- managing inflammation
- brain function
- blood sugar management.
However, The Type of Fat Does Matter.
Most of our fats should come from monounsaturated fats and avocados are a great source of these. They also contain a specific monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. One study found that higher levels of oleic acid can help activate regulatory T cells. These activated T cells can actually help reduce the inflammatory effects of multiple sclerosis.
While the flesh of avocados can help fight inflammation, so can the seeds. A 2019 study found that avocado seed extract actually reduced Inflammatory Cytokines, Interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), and Interleukin -1 beta (IL-1B). Researchers are hopeful that avocado seed extract may be used in pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories as another tool to fight inflammation.
Other Benefits Of Avocados
- Avocados are also high in fiber. Fiber supports our gut microbiome.
- Avocados can contribute to gut diversity as well. A randomized control trial in 2021 found that people who ate avocados once a day for 12 weeks, had a more diverse microbiome and higher concentrations of certain gut bacteria that support the production of short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids are important for controlling inflammation and for immune system support.
- They also contain a lot of potassium, which can help again maintain blood pressure and help direct nutrients in and out of our cells.
- Avocados also contain correct carotenoids, a potent antioxidant that helps protect our cells and tissues from damage.
- They’re also rich in a number of vitamins including a handful of B vitamins, vitamin C, K, and E.
How To Incorporate More Avocados Into Your Diet
I think avocados are really easy to add to your regular eating pattern. Here are some of my favorite ways to include avocados
- you can add it to smoothies to increase the thickness of your smoothie
- You can use it instead of mayonnaise for salmon chicken or tuna salad
- I make guacamole for filling snack
- top salads with avocado slices for a healthy fat boost
- dairy free avocado chocolate mousse Need I say more?
- spread on toast for breakfast and sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning
- blend avocado with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices for a great creamy dressing.
In conclusion, both salmon and avocados should be included in your eating pattern on a daily basis. If you need more help switching your eating habits to include more anti-inflammatory foods. Please reach out and schedule a free discovery call with me. You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more tips and tricks on living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.