Natural Anti-Inflammatory Options

Many foods we consume can contribute to inflammation inside our bodies.  Conversely, we can also use foods to decrease the inflammation in our bodies as well.  Here are some of the most common ones to be used to decrease inflammation.

Turmeric

Turmeric (curcumin) is a natural anti-inflammatory.  In fact, many studies have found it performs equal or better to most ibuprofen.  Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, it works great for controlling pain as well.  I have known several people who were able to get off pain medication following surgeries by consuming turmeric insteady.

Turmeric has also been shown to improve the antioxidant mechanisms in the body for better protection against free radicals, improve heart health, and can help boost mood and thus counteract depression.

With the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, it can improve skin and speed of wound healing, GI disorders, and cancers.

Piperine, the chemical found in black pepper, helps with the absorption of curcumin.  Because of this, it is best if you consume them together.

Ginger

Ginger is frequently thought of to assist with nausea, which it does, but it does so much more.

Ginger contains gingerols, which are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-disease.

Specifically speaking on the inflammation side of things, ginger has been found in studies to decrease pain in arthritis, both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Pineapple

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has been shown to help with decreasing inflammation in a number of conditions as well as decreasing pain.  There is some evidence that also shows it can decrease muscle soreness after exercise.

Blueberries

Blueberries are high in antioxidants.  In fact, they have the highest antioxidant capacity compared to any other regularly consumed fruit or vegetable.  The antioxidants can assist in decreasing damage to the muscle cells, thus decreasing inflammation as well.

Because of the high antioxidants and the ability to reduce muscle damage on a molecular level, blueberries have also been shown to decrease muscle soreness following strenuous exercise.

Dark Leafy Greens

Besides being high in vitamins and minerals your body requires, dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach also contain high levels of antioxidants.  As mentioned previously, these antioxidants can protect from cell breakdown in the body, which will decrease inflammation from the natural tissue “damage” due to exercise and training.

Walnuts

Walnuts have higher antioxidant levels than another other commonly consumed nut.

Along with the antioxidants, walnuts also contain polyphenols to help fight oxidative stress and inflammation.  A subgroup of polyphenols called ellagitannins are thought to be highly involved.

It is thought that the Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and the amino acid arginine that are in walntus may also be  contributors to decrease inflammation.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has both anti-inflammatory properties as well as detoxifying properties, both of which can help to decrease inflammation and reduce pain.  The great thing with coconut oil, is it works as an anti-inflammatory and detoxifier when used both externally and internally.

The compound in coconut oil that reduces inflammation is lauric acid.  Similar to turmeric, some studies have shown the pain relief with coconut oil due to the decrease in inflammation has been comparable or better than some pain relievers.

When used externally as a topical, coconut oil does a couple things.  First off, it increases blood flow to the area and assists to reduce localized pain and swelling.  Secondly, it helps to pull toxins out of the body, as the toxins are attracted to the fat molecules.

When consumed, the coconut oil gets into your system to potentially assist in reducing inflammation inside the body.

Have more questions about how to use foods to control your pain or chronic injuries?  Email me at brianne@getyourfixpt.com!


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