Superfoods That Help Fight Inflammation and Taste Amazing

By: Dave Asprey
January 30, 2013

Superfoods That Help Fight Inflammation and Taste Amazing

  • Superfoods are more than just goji berries. These foods are backed by science and have big benefits for your mind and body.
  • My favorite superfoods help your body manage inflammation. Inflammation increases your risk of chronic disease, but certain foods can help reduce it.
  • Keep reading to learn the science behind my favorite superfoods. Then, get a free guide to upgrade your life in 30 days.

Clever but ill-informed marketers will name almost any unusual food a “superfood.” Did you know goji berries are in the nightshade family like tomatoes and can cause inflammation in some people? Give me a break.

The truth of the matter is that real superfoods have science behind them, and when you eat them, you can feel a difference quickly.

In particular, there are a few foods that take your focus and energy to new levels, all while increasing cognitive function and helping manage inflammation. Some of my favorites include butter, coffee, vanilla and chocolate. I know, it sounds too good to be true.

Keep reading to find out why inflammation is bad news, how these foods help and how to make sure you’re getting the best quality product.

What is inflammation?

Closeup of cells displaying inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s innate response to injury, stress or illness.

What if all chronic disease — cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and age-related cognitive decline — were rooted in one thing? A concept like this just might flip everything we know about medicine on its head. And it’s true.

Systemic inflammation is the common link between all of these conditions and more. And the craziest part? Inflammation is totally preventable.

Inflammation is caused by factors like:

  • Poor gut health
  • Eating a processed, high-toxin, high-sugar diet
  • Taking certain medications
  • Environmental toxins
  • Stress

When the inflammation response from crappy food and a toxic environment becomes the norm for your body, inflammation becomes a low-level feature in your physiology. Chronic inflammation increases your risk of chronic disease and brings down your quality of life.

When I was fat, tired and suffering from cognitive decline, low-level systemic inflammation was at the root of all of it. When I changed my diet and started managing my stress, the weight started to fall off and my performance shot through the roof.

A lot of that had to do with adding nutrient-dense foods to my diet that help fight inflammation. Here’s a list of some of my favorite superfoods, all Bulletproof Diet-approved and damn delicious.

Remember: eating these foods isn’t your one-way ticket to better health. You still need to eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet with minimal processed foods and refined sugars. For an easy guide, check out the free Bulletproof 30 Day Upgrade.

Superfoods to help reduce inflammation

Coffee

Person pouring coffee into mug

Drinking coffee has short and long-term effects on your brain. The short-term effect of coffee on mood may be due to altered serotonin and dopamine activity, whereas the mechanisms behind its potential long-term effects on mood may relate to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.[1] [2] [3]

Caffeine is more than an energy booster — caffeine may help ease cognitive decline and block inflammation in the brain.[4] In a rodent study, researchers discovered that caffeine may block inflammation associated with neurodegenerative disease.[5]

Along with fighting cognitive diseases, caffeine and coffee increase insulin sensitivity in healthy humans.[6] [7] [8] Insulin sensitivity is correlated with how well your body responds to certain kinds of inflammation.

Coffee is the world’s number one source of antioxidants, and for this reason, it is a staple in the Bulletproof Diet. The problem is that some coffee beans contain mold toxins, which induces an inflammatory response.[9] [10] That’s why coffee quality matters, especially if you drink it daily.

The bottom line: Coffee is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. For a better brew, make sure your coffee is clean and tested for toxins.

Butter

Melting butter in shape of heart

Butter is an unexpected source of cognitive enhancement, and contains one ingredient that studies show is beneficial for cognitive function and gut health: butyrate. Butyrate is a short chain saturated fat with anti-inflammatory properties.[11] According to studies, the most common class of genetic neurodegenerative diseases are delayed in mice with the treatment of butyrate.[12] [13] [14]

Butyrate protects against intestinal permeability in rat models of ulcerative colitis.[15] This shows that short-chain fatty acids, including butyrate, play an important role in the maintenance of gut barrier integrity. Butyrate also sharply reduces the harmful effects of type 1 diabetes in rats.[16] Butyrate may also prevent and treat diet-induced insulin resistance in mice. Butyrate is related to promotion of energy expenditure and induction of mitochondria function.[17]

The highest concentration of butyrate may be found in high quality grass-fed butter. Kerrygold is my butter of choice, but any brand may suffice as long as it is grass-fed (organic isn’t enough and is typically a sham if the cows eat organic soy and corn).

The bottom line: Grass-fed butter is a great source of butyrate, a saturated fat that supports energy production, reduces inflammation and supports gut health in animal studies.

Related: Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter

Vanilla and chocolate

Dark chocolate bar

Vanilla is a great food to add into your diet if you are looking for a cognitive boost. Vanilloids found in vanilla can help maintain healthy levels of inflammation, and are a great add-in for coffee or dessert.[18] [19] [20]

Chocolate, along with coffee, is high in antioxidants. Chocolate favorably alters eicosanoid synthesis, which inhibits vascular and inflammatory processes.[21] Chocolate can contain toxins if it’s not processed and stored delicately. Look for high-quality chocolate with a cacao content of at least 70% in order to reap the benefits.

Coffee, butter, vanilla and chocolate are ideal foods for people looking to boost their performance. These foods are associated with anti-inflammatory benefits and turn your brain into an upgraded machine. They are also the core ingredients of almost all truly excellent desserts, like Keto Chocolate Lava Cake. 🙂

Quality matters

Before you think about any food’s anti-inflammatory properties, keep in mind we are talking about high-quality food. In “The Bulletproof Diet,” you’ll learn that the quality of your food is so much more important than how many calories you consume. Lower quality foods often have toxins or inflammatory agents in them, which initiates an inflammatory response in your body. The higher the quality, the more nutrition that food provides.

Read next: Reasons Grass-Fed Beef Is Better Than Conventional Beef

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This article has been updated.