5 Ways to Fight Inflammation
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While treating inflammation with medications, supplements, and/or herbs is necessary in some cases, a whole foods way of eating is first and foremost. Food is a powerful medicine and is one of the best ways that we can improve chronic inflammation, as it affects all bodily aspects: our metabolism, hormones, mitochondria and gene expression.
As a health coach, I guide clients to living a proactive and preventive lifestyle—one where they can heal themselves before reaching out to drugs, which often times can cause further inflammation.
Polyphenols are plant compounds that give vegetables and fruits their bright colors, and they have been shown to decrease inflammation in the body. These compounds can help to prevent free radical damage, molecules linked to skin cancer.
Ideally we will consume one gram of polyphenols per day to protect us from systemic inflammation. Bioflavanoids are also potent antioxidants that prevent and treat inflammation, as well as vitamin C-rich foods like red peppers, kale, broccoli and oranges.
What to eat today: Berries (particularly blueberries) are an excellent source of polyphenols, as well as high-quality, single origin, medium roasted coffee. I recommend Bulletproof coffee.
2. Healthy Fats
Hydrogenated fats, or anything with an ingredient that says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, will cause inflammation. Avoiding rancid oils such as canola, soy, corn and grapeseed is important. Instead, focus on healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, wild caught salmon, grass fed butter and ghee.
What to eat today: Grass-fed butter, as the medium chain fat in butter, butyrate, is anti-inflammatory.
Glutathione can be thought of as a master antioxidant produced in the liver, although it decreases with age.
What to eat today: Eating a diet rich in glutathione-supporting foods can greatly help control inflammation. Try incorporating broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, spinach and parsley into your diet. All these are high in powerful antioxidants that switch on detoxification pathways.
Spices such as turmeric and ginger root have been used medicinally for centuries in India, and are known for their potent healing uses in Aryuveda. They can be easily incorporated into your diet to prevent inflammation. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric (which can be bought pre-ground as a spice or in the whole, root form), and has also been found to reduce pain, particularly for those suffering from arthritis.
What to eat today: Try a ginger juice shot with turmeric, sweetened with stevia or raw honey. Take it to the next level with additional anti-inflammatory spices, like clove or cinnamon.
In some cases, herbs like boswellia inhibit pro-inflammatory pathways, therefore reducing pain and soreness. Boswellia can also be taken in extract form.