3 Natural Ways To Fight Inflammation in the Body Every Day
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If you knew you could make some changes in your life and possibly prevent a myriad of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or arthritis, would you make those changes? What we have learned about inflammation and health in recent years is nothing short of astounding.
Inflammation is at the core of many of these diseases. In fact, inflammation is the core underlying cause of most illnesses, diseases, faster aging, and weight gain. And not surprisingly, some of the most impactful preventative measures we can take are nutrition-related.
We all have inflammation. In fact, the irony is, we need it. Yes, inflammation promotes a healthy body—in small amounts. In fact, without inflammation, we would not be alive.
There are two types of inflammation: acute inflammation and silent inflammation. Every one of us is acutely aware of inflammation. How do we know this? Because we experience it frequently. Every time you get injured or sick, suffer a terrible head cold, or skin your knee, inflammatory compounds such as tiny proteins called cytokines and white blood cells called neutrophils and macrophages come rushing to the rescue. Even though it feels uncomfortable, it is a very good thing because, without acute inflammation, we would not heal.
Let's take a cut on the finger for example. When you cut your finger, tiny soldiers rush to the site of the wound, the wound heals, the soldiers go away, the inflammation goes away and all is well. We need this short inflammatory response and then we need it to go away.
Now when acute inflammation doesn't heal but instead continues to release inflammatory compounds, it becomes chronic or silent inflammation and this type is the most lethal as it does not go away. Silent inflammation is like having a sore on the inside of your body that never heals.
Many of us live with chronic pain on a daily basis from toothache to throbbing joints. Living with nagging or relentless pain can be a source of stress and potential depression that only exacerbates these painful conditions.
There are natural ways to help your body reduce the pain and in some cases, heal the source of it. Unfortunately, many reach for medications that have powerful side effects that can leave one with even more health conditions. This is why specific, well-researched nutrients can have as much impact and may even have more in some cases than medications.
Just like some foods can quell inflammation, others can stoke the fires. It is very important to not only know what will reduce inflammation, but what will promote it. These foods, conditions, and lifestyle factors can exacerbate inflammation:
- The Standard American Diet
- Refined, processed oils such as vegetable, soy, corn, and canola
- Excess weight and obesity
- Unhealthy gut bacteria
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of sleep
- Chronic stress
Inflammation can cause significant damage to our health and knowing which foods and targeted supplementation can help is a foundational place to start to stop it in its tracks.
1. Choose Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, leafy green, fatty fish, olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, all teas, particularly black, ginger, turmeric, and green tea are key, Spices and herbs such as turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, basil, parsley, and ginger; dark chocolate; cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli; nuts such as walnuts or pecans and seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds are all-powerful foods for fighting inflammation.
2. Feed Your Microbiome
Think of your gut as a garden. The first step in creating a healthy gut is you pull the weeds: you stop feeding the bad gut bugs by refusing to eat inflammatory food—this is their main source of food.
The second step is to plant healthy gut bacteria. Your gut will be healthier by ensuring you plant it with healthy probiotics via a quality supplement, fermented foods, cultured foods, or a combination. Eating anti-inflammatory foods better supports a microbiome of diverse, beneficial bacteria which will in turn help to reduce and prevent chronic inflammation.
The third step is to fertilize your gut garden. You want to ensure you feed these healthy gut probiotics with gut fertilizer or prebiotics. These include artichokes, onions, garlic, leeks, flaxseeds (ground), berries, apples, beans, and potato starch. Remember, you don't want the bad, unhealthy gut bugs to thrive and survive via inflammatory foods, you want to create an abundance of healthy gut bugs via healthy prebiotics—healthy gut bacteria's main source of food.
3. Take Supplements that Reduce Inflammation
- Curcumin: Curcumin is the active compound in the spice turmeric. An abundance of research shows curcumin's benefits in reducing inflammation, including as effective as NSAIDs.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects.
- Magnesium glycinate: The majority of people are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to help fight inflammation. It reduces the inflammatory marker CRP and provides several other benefits
- Black cumin seed oil: An herb shown to reduce inflammation in both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Fish oil: A very potent anti-inflammatory, high in omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) to help stop and resolve cellular inflammation. It’s also excellent for heart health.
- Krill oil: A very bioavailable form of omega-3 fatty acids that can cross the blood-brain barrier, unlike other omega-3 fats.
- Cod liver oil: A powerful fish oil that protects health. It is high in vitamin D and vitamin A. It may also decrease blood clot formation and reduce inflammation in the body.
- Ginger: Ginger has been shown to support digestive health and even helps to temporarily relieve mild nausea and upset stomach. In addition, ginger possesses a wide range of powerful free radical-quenching compounds that helps reduce inflammation.
- Boswellia: Also known as frankincense, Boswellia phytosome supports a healthy inflammatory response in the respiratory tract and the GI tract, as well as in the joints, muscles, and tendons. Boswellia also helps balance the inflammatory response to protect brain tissue.
- Flaxseed oil: High in ALA (plant-based omega-3 fats), this concentrated source of omega-3 can help to keep inflammation at bay, and as a healthy fat source, it helps to support optimal cellular health.
- Green tea extract: This supports cellular, cardiovascular, and cognitive health. It is rich in plant compounds called polyphenols, the most well-known of which is EGCG, which possesses abundant health-promoting properties.
- Bromelain: Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme derived from the stem of the pineapple plant. When taken between meals, it may help to support joint comfort and may help to relieve temporary soreness that is associated with muscle overuse.
- Collagen powder: Collagen contributes to the growth and maintenance of healthy tissues. It is the structural protein essential for the strength of bones and flexibility of joints, tendons, ligaments, hair, skin, and nails. In powder form, it can be added to smoothies, coffee, or shakes.
With a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes, you can fight inflammation—instead of promoting it—every single day. Make sure to discuss any significant changes to your diet, including incorporating new supplements, with your primary care physician.