Five foods to help lower inflammation

Renée Naturally Qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist & Western Medical Herbalist

Many of the world’s most common diseases are related to chronic inflammation in the body. Think heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease (to name just a few). However, when it comes to our health, inflammation is not necessarily the root of all ills. In fact, acute or intermittent inflammation is a positive bodily response to help heal your body and protect it from harm. It’s when inflammation becomes chronic, as in it persists for a long period, that it starts to harm the body. When it comes to combating chronic inflammation in the body, chosen wisely, diet can be one of our most powerful anti-inflammatory allies.

Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard, and silverbeet are naturally high in antioxidants and polyphenols. When consumed, these protective plant compounds can help greatly to lower inflammation. An adequate intake of a broad range of minerals and vitamins also helps to lower inflammation in the body, and green leafy vegetables have no shortage of important nutrients such calcium, magnesium, and iron. Green leafy vegetables can also be a good source of vitamin E. Studies have suggested that vitamin E’s role in protein may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.

Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation. Omega-3s are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances, with studies showing consistent relief of inflammation. To ensure its benefits, salmon should be eaten at least once a week and preferably enjoyed raw, grilled or baked rather than fried.

Turmeric is a yellowy-orange spice that is frequently used in Indian cooking and has been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine. While it has long been regarded as a potent anti-inflammatory food, in recent times, Turmeric has gained superfood status due to numerous studies touting its beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is believed to be responsible for its health-enhancing benefits. Specifically, many studies have pointed at how turmeric is highly effective when used to help manage rheumatoid arthritis. Research has suggested that turmeric works in the body by helping to turn off NF-kappa B. NF-kappa B is a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers the process of inflammation.

In herbal medicine, ginger is believed to be an immune modulator that helps to reduce inflammation in the body. It can be used fresh in cooking, or in supplement form or herbal extracts. Studies have suggested that consuming the root (in various ways) can help to lower post-exercise inflammation. Similar studies have also linked ginger with a reduction in joint pain caused by the chronic inflammatory conditions, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The plant’s active compound, gingerol, is believed to be responsible for its potent anti-inflammatory processes.

With their vibrant reddish-purple colour, it’s no surprise that beetroots are bursting with antioxidants. These antioxidants can help to reduce an overabundance of inflammation in your body. The betalain constituent of beetroots is believed to contribute to their potent anti-inflammatory status.

It’s believed that the majority of the population in today’s toxic, stress-laden environment will suffer from some chronic inflammatory issue in their lifetime, and a growing number of experts believe it to be the origin of many diseases. Consider implementing some of these foods into your diet to help lower inflammation. After all, reducing inflammation in the body is a vital step towards enjoying vital good health!

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