Delicious Ways to Combat Chronic Inflammation
While most of us associate inflammation with pain, inflammation can actually be a good thing. Specifically, inflammation is the body's natural response to injury or infection. However, when inflammation persists it can shift from a healing response to a damaging condition. Chronic inflammation is common among the aging population and is the root cause of many serious illnesses - including heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer's disease.
Most medical doctors treat inflammation with steroids or NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammation drugs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin. However, these drugs can have serious side effects. The good news is that there are alternatives to conventional drug therapy, many which have been clinically proven to be as good as or in some cases better than conventional drug therapy. Even better news is these alternatives are readily available and delicious.
Ginger - Research has illustrated that ginger inhibits inflammatory enzymes allowing for a gradual reduction of inflammation and pain without the negative gastrointestinal side effects that accompany NSAIDs. Ginger also stimulates circulation, inhibits various infections, and strengthens the liver.
Tumeric - Currently there have been over six thousand peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric. Also known as curcumin, turmeric is clinically proven to be as effective as cortisone and ibuprofen in treating arthritis. Tumeric also lowers cholesterol, supports the liver and digestion, and improves circulation.
Omega 3 fatty acids - There is strong scientific evidence that supports the use of omega 3 fatty acids for the relief on inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids activate compounds that block not one, but all of the inflammatory pathways in the body. Omega 3 oils also boost mental flexibility in older adults. The richest sources of omega 3s are from oily fish. However, omega 3 fatty acids are also found in flax oil, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and marine algae.
Besides those already mentioned, there are more foods you may already have in your kitchen that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Here is a small sampling:
- Extra-virgin olive oil contains a substance called oleocanthol that interferes with two enzymes responsible for inflammation in the body.
- Teas such as white tea, oolong, and green tea are full of catechins, antioxidant compounds that reduce artery plaque and inflammation.
- Cranberries, blueberries and beets are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
- Red cabbage contains anthocyanin - a well-documented anti-inflammatory agent. Red cabbage also contains significant amounts of polyphenols that help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Broccoli is rich in an inflammation-fighting flavanoid called kaempferol. Besides its inflammation fighting properties, broccoli also contains sulforaphane, which experts say helps the body cleanse itself of cancer-causing compounds.
- High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components, spinach is extremely nutrient dense and contains a unique mixture of phytonutrients that fight inflammation and protect the cells.
For an effective anti-inflammation salad, thinly slice spinach leaves and red cabbage. Place in bowl and top with blueberries, salmon and walnuts. Drizzle with a dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Delicious!
So the next time you are bothered by inflammation, forgo the medicine cabinet and head for the pantry instead, your joints and palate will thank you!