Inflammation is an essential part of our body’s ability to heal itself. It is a natural response to injury. Without inflammation our wounds would never heal. However, it is not always a helpful response of the body. Acute inflammation can have a rapid onset and quickly become severe. Signs and symptoms may be present for a couple-few days or last a few weeks.
Chronic inflammation can lead to a whole host of aches, pains and illnesses including, heart disease, stroke, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s. Other examples are rheumatoid arthritis, hay fever, allergies, crohn's disease, asthma etc.
Common factors of inflammation include lack of exercise, excess weight, lack of sleep, exposure to toxins, habitual activities, stress, genetics, over eating, AND the food we eat. We can control most, if not all, of these factors by changing our diet and lifestyle.
Foods to Avoid
- Fried foods- French fries, BBQ foods, fired chicken etc.
- Sugars- All refined sugar- corn syrup, fructose, glucose, maltose (most everything that ends in “ose”) etc. Sugar is a breeding ground for inflammation
- Dairy- can trigger inflammatory responses such as, stomach distress, constipation, diarrhoea, skin rashes, acne, hive and breathing difficulties
- Commercially raised meats- feed with grains like soy, corn and a diet high in omega 6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats
- Processed meats- meats that have been cured, smoked, salted or chemically preserved.
- Alcohol- too much can cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx and liver
- Refined Grains- white rice, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits, pastries and boxed cereals
Top Anti-inflammatory Foods and Supplements
- Kelp- anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, and anti-oxidative (do not over eat kelp as it can interfere with thyroid function, moderation is key)
- Spinach- anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative flavonoids and carotenoids- Vitamin A, B2, B6, C, E, K, Calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and tryptophan.
- Vitamin C- lowers body inflammation by decreasing C-reactive protein. Food sources- fruits & vegetables especially citrus fruits, tomato, strawberries, kiwi, peppers, mangoes.
- Turmeric- Known to inhibit joint inflammation, and joint destruction
- Ginger- anti-inflammatory properties (can be drank as tea, or taken in capsule, tincture form)
- Omega 3 fatty acids- regular use of these supplements can protect against some illnesses associated with inflammation. Food sources- fatty fish-salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines; walnuts, flax seed oil
- Alpha linolenic acid (ALA)- can reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, decrease triglycerides and total cholesterol.
- Bromelain- mixture of enzymes that digest protein in pineapple; pineapple has been used to treat ingestion and reduce inflammation.
Tips for Inflammation Prevention
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Include as much fresh food as possible
- Avoid refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup
- Keep refined grains to the minimum
- Consume as little processed and fast food as possible
- Include healthy oils, including sufficient amount of omega 3
- Exercise daily
- Ensure you get enough sleep
- Eat until you are satisfied, not until you are overfull
- Drink plenty of water
In summary, by modifying and or changing your lifestyle, you may be able to reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. Be mindful of what you consume and how you treat yourself daily.
*Please note* before you begin any supplementation, it is important for you to notify and/or consent your physician/health practitioner/naturopath especially if you are on any medication.
**Disclaimer- This is not intended to treat, cure or take the place of medical treatment. This is simply for informational purposes only