- Learn how to reduce inflammations in the body. Inflammation is good to heal short term but chronic inflammation is the root of all diseases.
- If you have been wondering about how to reduce inflammation in the body, you may have been experiencing some of the effects that develop after a long period of chronic inflammation.
- An anti-inflammatory diet is one of the most effective ways to reduce and control inflammation in the body. There are also anti-inflammatory supplements that you can take and lifestyle changes that you can make to ensure that you are healthy and full of vitality.
If you are looking for information about how to reduce inflammation, it is pretty clear that you are suffering from one or many health issues. Yes! You are right. Understanding inflammation and how to control it or reduce it can totally change your biology. From feeling sick and fatigued, you can go on to be your best self. Full of energy, requiring less sleep, and a vibrant state of being.
What is inflammation in the body
Inflammation is your body’s reaction to injury, illnesses, and pathogens. Inflammation in itself is not actually a bad thing. It is one of your body’s healing mechanisms. When you get sick, develop an infection or injury, white blood cells are sent to address it.
So you will notice that if you have an injury you may be swollen and red in the area. If you have flu, you may develop a fever. These are signs that the body is healing itself. Other symptoms may include feeling warm, loss of mobility, and swelling. This is known as acute inflammation. The problem comes in when inflammation becomes chronic.
How Inflammation is Bad
Chronic inflammation does not have any sign until it starts causing problems which can take a long time. It starts slowly killing your tissues and thus affecting your organs. All diseases are the result of chronic inflammation. The most common diseases inflammation causes are:
- Heart disease
- The autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease
It can also cause inflammation in the brain very early on. This causes you to have trouble remembering things and you may experience brain fog. Other possible effects include:
- Digestive problems (diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain)
- Joint pain
- Hay fever
- Increased cognitive decline
- Weight gain
What Causes Chronic Inflammation
- Unhealthy gut biome: Every time you take antibiotics all the bacteria in your body is killed, good and bad. This can cause a weak immune system and unless you eat probiotic foods or take a supplement, you will not have the good bacteria to fight off bad bacteria that enter your body. A lack of probiotic foods can cause problems even without antibiotics.
- Toxins: Toxins are all around us, in the air, as well as products we use on our bodies and to clean our homes. Foods contain pesticides which are also toxic to our bodies and cause hormonal imbalances. Learn about how to help your body to detox here.
- Chronic stress: Stress and anxiety cause the release of cortisol in our bodies. This is a stress hormone which is beneficial for short periods of stress, but over time it causes inflammation in the body.
- Existing autoimmune diseases: If you have an existing autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjogren’s disease, or Crohn’s, it is easy for inflammation to become out of control.
- Not healing properly: Sometimes you may be hurt or ill and take longer than normal to heal or find that you have recurring illnesses or injuries. There can be many reasons for this from poor diet, stress, poor immune system, incorrect medication, or dealing with the symptoms and not the cause.
- Eating the wrong foods: You may also be eating the wrong foods. Some people are more sensitive to some foods than others and certain types of foods have an inflammatory effect in all our bodies. If we don’t follow a healthy diet and we never include anti-inflammatory foods in our diet we are all at risk of inflammation.
Test for Inflammation in the Body
Chronic inflammation does not have any alarming signs in the body. But there are some tests that can show the damage that inflammation is doing to the body. Frankly speaking, I do not go for these tests periodically, but the very first sign of inflammation in my body is that my brain will suffer. I will not remember things. I am simply mean to people around me.
The reason is that inflammation in the body releases a protein in the blood called cytokines. These cytokines cross the blood-brain barrier and get into the brain. Your brain is inflamed which effects your mood, motivation, and memory, etc. If you are experiencing this, tests may be helpful.
Common Tests for Inflammation:
- C-Reactive Protein: This is a protein found in your body that signals responses to any forms of inflammation. If you have added various anti-inflammatory foods in the diet and removed the inflammation causing foods, you can always go back and get your CRP levels checked.
- ESR (sed rate) test: An ESR test measures how quickly your red blood cells fall. When you have inflammation, your red blood cells will clump together making them heavier than usual. This test is not 100% accurate all time as things like anemia, thyroid disease, pregnancy, and old age can affect your red blood cells too.
The problem is that your doctor will prescribe you an anti-inflammatory medicine which has side effects without even knowing the reason. You kept making the same mistake of consuming inflammatory foods.
Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet and removing those that cause inflammation or at least limiting them is a good start.
Foods That Cause Inflammation
One of the biggest sources of inflammation is your diet. When you consume anti-nutrients present in the food, it irritates the gut. The gut gets injured and in an action to heal the gut, the body becomes inflamed to heal the gut.
Your immune system becomes activated. It starts an attack on the perceived enemy. When there are so many antibodies present in the body, it starts attacking your organs and you develop an autoimmune condition.
Foods That Contain Anti-Nutrients
- Trans fats
- Processed vegetable and seed oils
- Oxidized omega-6 fats (or excessive omega 6)
- Fatty processed foods
- Processed Meats
- Soft drinks
- High fructose corn syrup
- Refined carbohydrates
- Excessive alcohol
- Grains, specifically whole grains
Note that while dairy and fresh meat don’t contain anti-nutrients, they do have an acidic effect on the body which can increase inflammation when consumed too often, as does coffee. Limit these foods too.
When you do eat meat, eat grass-fed instead of grain -fed meat and stick to the correct portion size. A portion of meat is about the size of your palm. Choose raw dairy over pasteurized dairy, but always get raw dairy from a reputable supplier as it can contain pathogens when not manufactured under strict hygiene. Learn which foods are acidic and which are alkaline.
Anti-inflammatory foods do just as the name suggests. They actively work to reduce inflammation in the body.
Turmeric is used to treat many diseases and has astounding anti-inflammatory properties. To maximize the absorption of turmeric, take it with black pepper. I don’t take my little girl to the doctor when she is down with cold and flu.
I keep her hydrated and her milk has turmeric, cloves, fennel seeds, black pepper in it which helps to fight off the bad bugs in her body. Check out this recipe for a delicious anti-inflammatory drink if you cannot drink milk, even if you aren’t vegan or lactose intolerant, drinking milk when you are down with the flu can increase phlegm.
Cinnamon is great for inflammation and lowering blood sugar levels. You can add it to your tea, coffee, or any hot beverage. The cinnamon on the shelves of most stores is cassia cinnamon which contains coumarin, a compound which is toxic in large quantities.
Depending on your body weight, around 0.5 g – 2 g of cassia cinnamon can be consumed per day. 2 g of cinnamon is just less than half a teaspoon. Ceylon cinnamon is the safer option. You can have up to 5 g of Ceylon cinnamon a day. 5 g of cinnamon is a teaspoon.
Ginger is another great spice that lowers inflammation and pain too. Ginger is also a great remedy for colds and flu. You can use it in your cooking, a lot of Asian dishes use ginger but it can go well with many other types of dishes too. You can experiment with the flavor. Ginger also makes a great tea and is good for soothing upset stomachs too.
Cloves have numerous health benefits including lowering inflammation. In fact, due to the compound eugenol, cloves are even more effective than cinnamon. Cloves can be used in a wide variety of dishes and can also be used to make tea.
In food amounts, cloves are safe but don’t use it in very large quantities as it can be toxic. It is best to use the actual cloves instead of the essential oil if you are ingesting it.
Rosemary is another delicious herb to cook with or season salads. Lamb goes especially well with rosemary. Not only is the smell of rosemary uplifting but it has anti-inflammatory properties too.
Sage reduces inflammation and helps to prevent a range of diseases and even treat some diseases. You can use it in cooking to reap the benefits. If you are going to use large amounts of sage, however, Spanish sage is safer than common sage as it does not contain thujone which is suspected to be what causes toxicity when ingesting medicinal amounts of sage.
7. Cayenne Pepper and Other Hot Chilis
Hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin which has medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory properties. It seems strange that something that burns can help to lower inflammation in your body by encouraging alkalinity, but it is true.
8. Wild-Caught Sockeye Salmon
Fish contains high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which lower inflammation in the body. Wild-caught sockeye salmon is the best fish that you can eat. It has the lowest amounts mercury and other toxins. These toxins in our oceans are concerning, but wild-caught fish still have fewer toxins than farmed fish.
Eat at least 1 serving of sockeye salmon per week. Other good sources of omega 3 in the form of ALA are flax seeds and walnuts. If you are vegetarian or vegan, ALA is likely the only type of omega 3 fatty acid that you are getting. The conversion rate, however, of ALA to EPA and DHA is very poor.
A krill supplement can be helpful if you can find it in a vegetarian-friendly capsule. If not, a vegetarian algae-based EPA and DHA supplement will also work well.
9. Dark Chocolate
Yes! Dark chocolate does have health benefits. This study shows that the anti-inflammatory properties of dark chocolate are due to polyphenols which also have many other benefits as they are antioxidants.
Look for a cacao content of 70% and above. Be informed that it is cacao and not cocoa. Cocao has all the live enzymes while cocoa is heated to a high temperature. It is a processed form of the original raw cacao. Eat chocolates in moderation only.
Vanillin is responsible for vanilla’s anti-inflammatory properties. A delicious and calming spice, vanilla is great to sweeten coffee and tea naturally, and even in healthy desserts and baked goods. Do you know what the original color of raw and Puvanillaall is? It’s dark brown. Make sure that when you buy vanilla extract you don’t buy synthetic vanilla extract which has no benefits.
It may even be better to make your own extract using vanilla pods and alcohol. You will need 6-8 vanilla pods (beans), slice them open and put them into a jar. Add one cup of 35% alcohol, for example, vodka or rum, and then let the oils from the beans infuse into alcohol for around 8 weeks or more depending on how strong you want it. Be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight.
You can also use the vanilla beans themselves instead of the extract if you find a recipe that requires it.
- Omega 3: Krill oil is a great omega 3 supplement though there are many other supplements on the market. A good quality supplement will prevent light exposure as this harms the oils. As mentioned, if vegans and vegetarians are struggling to find a krill oil supplement with vegetarian-friendly capsules, an algae-based EPA and DHA supplement can be taken.
- Omega 7: Omega 7 (sea-buckthorn oil) also has anti-inflammatory properties. Research done by Cleveland clinic found that taking omega 7 supplements for just 30 days reduced c-reactive protein by 40%.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for lowering inflammation and maintaining a healthy immune system. Just spending 15-30 minutes in the sun twice a week can fulfill your vitamin D requirements. If not, making sure that you take 1000 IU per 11 kg of body weight of vitamin D3 will be helpful. It is also found in fatty fish and egg yolks.
- Spirulina: Spirulina is a type of algae rich in beneficial nutrients that boost your overall health and lowers inflammation. Start with a low dose and work your way up as your digestive system may need to get used to it first. If you have an autoimmune disease, it may be best to avoid spirulina as it can worsen symptoms. Only choose reputable brands to avoid toxins.
If You Have Pain due to inflammation
- Ginger: Ginger, as mentioned before, relieves pain and is a much safer alternative to conventional painkillers.
- Chili: Hot peppers are great pain relievers. While eating chili lowers inflammation, using creams or ointments topically also provides pain relief.
- Black currant seed oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil: These oils contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is especially helpful for reducing joint pain. If you have arthritis, supplementing with these oils is well worth it. If you have dry skin, especially in winter, it is a sign that you are lacking these fatty acids.
- White willow bark: 240 mg of white willow bark will give you the same pain relief as NSAIDs with none of the side effects. Just be aware that you should not give it to children.
- Boswellia: Boswellia is very effective for those with joint problems, especially arthritis. It helps to lower inflammation and prevent degeneration of the joints as well as relieving pain. 300-500 mg two or three times a day is recommended by this study.
- Peppermint: Peppermint tea or oil can help if you have stomach pain due to digestive problems and migraines. It tastes refreshing and relaxes you while it lowers inflammation and pain. Be careful about ingesting essential oils. It is best to seek out the advice of a naturopath to guide you.
- Inflammation is how your body heals wounds, illnesses, and infections. But chronic inflammation can be caused by a diet full of inflammatory foods, chronic stress, and digestive problems.
- Inflammatory foods include sugar, grains, excessive alcohol, fatty processed foods, oxidized fats, and legumes. Meat and dairy can also have an acidic effect on your body so limit these foods as well.
- Anti-inflammatory foods include turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, sage, hot peppers, wild-caught sockeye salmon, dark chocolate, and vanilla.
- You can take supplements like omega 3, omega 7, vitamin D, and spirulina to lower inflammation.
- Ginger, hot peppers, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, white willow bark, boswellia, and peppermint can all relieve pain.