4 Ways To Reduce Inflammation Naturally Through Diet
A general and accepted concept that has been researched extensively is that out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to ill health, and that eating to avoid constant inflammation promotes better health and can ward off disease. It’s become very clear that inflammation plays a role much more than we thought with respect to certain maladies. In fact, you know the suffix “itis” means ‘inflammation’ in both Latin and Greek. That means that “bronchitis” is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes, laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx, and colitis is literally inflammation of the colon. Essentially, the less “itis” in your life, the better! But even the illnesses without an “itis” at the end, such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, even Alzheimer’s disease, may be triggered in part by inflammation. Inflammation has been called a silent epidemic that triggers chronic diseases over the years since one could feel fine but have high levels of inflammation.
Thankfully diet is a way to control and reduce inflammation in the body. Although an exact description of the anti-inflammatory diet varies, depending on whom you ask. The anti-inflammatory diet is “probably very close to the Mediterranean diet,” says Christopher Cannon, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and researcher on inflammation. Here are the basic guidelines for an optimal anti-inflammatory diet.
1) Eliminate/reduce refined flour and sugar.
Sugary and floury foods, especially those high on the glycemic index such as cakes, cookies, soda, all exacerbate inflammatory conditions. These foods elevate insulin and glucose levels, which raise levels of pro-inflammatory messengers. A quick way to know if something is high glycemic is to compare the fiber content with the sugar content. The less fiber to sugar the higher the glycemic index because the fiber helps to slow down and stabilize blood sugar levels and insulin.
2) Balancing omega 6-3 ratio.
Omega-6 fats are found in corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, soybean oils, non grass fed (grain-fed) meats. These fat sources are inflammatory because they are metabolized into hormone-like compounds that actually promote inflammation. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and include wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, flaxseed, hempseed, walnuts, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, hempseed oil and walnut oil. If you don’t like fish, try flax seeds on top of salads, as well as walnut oil which are both vegetarian sources for omega 3. You can also always get omega 3 supplements. Just opt for very clean sources of omega 3 with no mercury and that also do not have added omega 6 in the supplement formula!
Vegetables are high in inflammation-reducing antioxidants especially onions, garlic, peppers and dark leafy greens These are high in inflammation-fighting carotenoids, vitamin K and vitamin E as well as vitamin C to thwart off free radicals.
4) Herbs and spices.
Herbs and spices include compounds to fight inflammation. Turmeric, oregano, rosemary, ginger, basil, cinnamon and green tea contain bioflavonoids and polyphenols that reduce inflammation and limit free radical production. Some spices such as cayenne pepper contain a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes.