Use Food to Fight Inflammation Not Drugs
Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting you from harmful stimuli or potential injury. In the acute phase it is a natural response to help heal an injured area of the body. It can appear in many forms, including fever, pain, heat, swelling, redness, even slowing down or completely halting an organ’s function. Your body has the amazing ability to heal itself and it can do this with it’s natural inflammatory response.
Besides acute, inflammation can be chronic as well (or sometimes acute on chronic, meaning an acute process in addition to the chronic one). Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is the result of a prolonged reaction to stressful stimuli of some sort. It can become severe & damaging if left unchecked.
In the gut, inflammation may be caused by an imbalance of fungi and healthy bacteria in your body. It can also happen as a result of food allergies, toxic environment, stress, and bad diet.
Your diet plays a huge role in decreasing or increasing inflammation in your body. This is something that is not talked about nearly enough. If you consume sugary, processed foods, or if you are regularly dehydrated, your body is more prone to extra inflammation while trying to heal itself.
"Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects," says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Do you eat any of the following on a regular basis? If so, you are adding to your inflammatory load, making it harder for your body to heal itself.
Foods that cause inflammation
Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta and pastries
French fries and other fried foods & fast foods
soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, even diet soda
red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage), any factory farmed meats
margarine, shortening, and lard (hydrogenated oils & trans-fats)
So, now that your know what to avoid, Here are some foods that may help reduce inflammation and relieve some of your inflammatory symptoms.
Foods that Fight Inflammation
1. Dark berries: Blueberries, raspberries, & cherries can significantly reduce inflammation if consumed on a daily basis. They are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenol, resveratrol and Vitamin C, all of which are well known for reducing inflammation.
2. Ginger: Ginger is used in a variety of organic medicines because of its healing, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can add it as a spice in your foods, drink ginger juice, or blend it with honey and drink as a health shot. The most pleasant way to consume ginger, however, is a daily cup of hot ginger tea (in my personal opinion).
3. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is one of the healthiest varieties of chocolate filled with antioxidants. You can add some to your berries or combine it with chia or hemp porridge to help reduce inflammation.
4. Turmeric: Turmeric is also widely used in natural medicine. It is a potent anti-inflammatory root in the same family as ginger. You can add it to food as a spice or stir it into your milk or smoothie. (see my last post about golden milk) Turmeric helps slow the production of the two most inflammatory enzymes, 5-LOX and COX-2. There are numerous studies showing the benefits of using turmeric in healing a wide variety of ailments, even cancer!
5. Olive oil: Loaded with powerful antioxidants, studies suggest that oleic acid (the predominant fat in olive oil) reduces inflammation and may even have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. Extra virgin olive oil has numerous benefits for heart health. It lowers blood pressure, protects “bad” LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation and improves the function of blood vessels.
6. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards: Many leafy greens contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
7. Nuts like almonds and walnuts
8. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines: filled with omega-3 fatty acids, great inflammation fighters
As you can see, there are a plethora of foods you can add to your diet to help reduce & treat inflammation. If you are experiencing severe, chronic inflammation, however, be sure to consult a healthcare practitioner to help support you & navigate through your exact healing plan. I am one such provider, but there are many out there waiting to help you heal yourself.
Don’t forget to join me on my Facebook page,facebook.com/drlaramay, as well as Instagram & Twitter @drlaramay. Be sure to tune into my podcast on your favorite platform, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean or Anchor.Fm @Light Body Radio to get all the juicy info coming your way in a easily digestible format. I look forward to hearing your feedback, comments and suggestions.
- Dr. Lara
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