Top 7 Foods With Luteolin That Will Fight Inflammation

CChronic inflammation is the root cause of countless diseases. While many things can trigger inflammation in the body (think stress, pollution, inadequate sleep, smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, etc.), the good news is that there are plenty of nutrients that can help control inflammation. One such nutrient to prioritize is luteolin, which exists in a variety of plant-based food sources.

To find out why luteolin is so powerful when it comes to protecting the mind and body from the damaging effects of inflammation, we turned to Dr. Uma Naidoo, Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, nutritional biologist, and author of the report. national and international best seller, This is your brain on food—for his insights. In addition: the seven foods with luteolin that he recommends the most.

What is luteolin?

Dr. Naidoo begins by saying that luteolin is a common flavonoid found in many fruits, vegetables, and herbs. “Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant, specifically a polyphenol, that help plant cells defend themselves against a variety of environmental or situational stressors,” she says. When you eat plant-based foods that contain them, flavonoids develop their antioxidant capabilities by protecting cells from damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. “Specifically, luteolin has been shown to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in humans,” adds Dr. Naidoo.

How Luteolin Benefits Your Health

Most of the benefits of luteolin can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory effects, which do wonders for promoting health and wellness across the board. “Luteolin is associated with reduced brain fog, reduced stress and anxiety symptoms, improved memory, and reduced risk of cognitive decline,” says Dr. Naidoo. “It has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and better cardiovascular health, probably due to its effects in reducing inflammation in our blood vessels, and it has also been linked to better cancer treatment, as it has anti-tumor properties.” .

In a nutshell, luteolin is a high-performance antioxidant that helps sharpen your cognitive acuity, improve mental health, and ward off the potential of developing or exacerbating some pretty serious health problems, so it’s wise to get more of it in your diet, stat.

The Best Luteolin Foods, According to a Nutritional Psychiatrist

1. parsley

Parsley is one of Dr. Naidoo’s favorite herbs, as it is a key source of micronutrients that promote neurological health, most notably luteolin (and folate). “Parsley can help improve mental fitness, brain health, energy levels, and overall cognition,” she explains, adding that she loves adding this herb to salads and adding parsley-rich chimichurri with beef-fed steak. grass, grilled tofu, or cauliflower.

2. Chicory

This purple leafy vegetable is another great source of luteolin, making it a good option to use as a base for salads or even as a substitute for wraps and tortillas. “Its leaves resemble little boats, so I love to make healthy tacos by stuffing a radicchio leaf with other chopped greens, avocado, and a clean protein, seasoned with cumin and oregano and a burst of freshly squeezed lime,” shares Dr. Naidoo. Taco Tuesday with a side of heart-healthy, brain-boosting benefits, anyone?

3. green peppers

In addition to being rich in luteolin, green bell peppers also contain many other bioactive compounds “that exhibit antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, immunosuppressive and immunostimulating properties, and antidiabetic, antitumor and neuroprotective activities,” according to a 2021 review in the medical journal. molecules. Dr. Naidoo recommends eating green bell peppers “raw and chopped in a colorful salad, or roasted on colorful skewers along with other seasonal vegetables.” Bonus points go to those who add these colorful peppers to the radicchio tacos above.

4. Chicory leaves

While I’m familiar with chicory from New Orleans-style coffee (which involves roasting, grinding, and preparing the root of the plant), Dr. Naidoo says its greens can be incorporated into meals in a similar way to other greens. green leaf. However, he cautions that they have a robust flavor profile, so he offers some tips for enjoying them without overwhelming the palate. “I recommend adding radicchio leaves to soups or stews, or sautéing them in avocado oil for a flavorful side dish,” he advises.

5. Celery

Whether you prefer your celery raw, cooked, or juiced, this versatile vegetable can help you increase your intake of anti-inflammatory luteolin. Dr. Naidoo mentions that it’s a staple in many nourishing soup recipes (in fact, I’m slow cooking a hearty chicken soup loaded with chopped stems right now) and that it also pairs well with hummus or almond butter for a healthy treat. , moisturizing and crunchy snack.

6. Pumpkin

As if we needed one more reason to love this fall staple, pumpkin is also a good source of luteolin. “I love roasting pumpkin and pureeing it into a hot soup with earthy spices like cinnamon and cloves,” says Dr. Naidoo. Off-season, you can also snack on a handful of pumpkin seeds or integrate them into any number of recipes, as they contain small amounts of this inflammation-fighting flavonoid.

7. Kohlrabi

Last on Dr. Naidoo’s list of luteolin foods is rutabaga, a cruciferous vegetable similar in flavor to broccoli stems. “Kohlrabi is one of my favorite vegetables; I love to clean it and cut it up to eat,” he shares. You can also mix it into salads or enjoy it steamed, sautéed, or grilled as part of larger meals.

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