The Anti-inflammatory diet
Many people need to reduce inflammation at some point in their lives, whether it be a temporary redness and swelling from an injury, or an internal inflammation from allergies or an infection. Chronic inflammation, from common diseases such as osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis, can be extremely difficult to control. Normal activities, such as typing on a keyboard or putting away groceries, can become painful experiences.
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There are a number of medications which can reduce inflammation, such as ketorolac, and even aspirin, but following an anti-inflammatory diet, rich in natural whole foods as well as herbs for inflammation, can either supplement anti-inflammatory drugs, or act as a replacement, therefore circumventing the side effects of medications.
Foods to Include in the Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The bulk of an anti-inflammatory diet should be made up of raw foods. Eating a range of fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants and other beneficial phytonutrients, will over time, reduce inflammation. Focus on flavonoid-rich foods; flavonoids are antioxidants which act as natural anti-inflammatories. Spinach, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, asparagus, lima beans, and kidney beans are all great sources of flavonoids. The phytonutrient, quercetin, is also useful for sufferers of chronic inflammation, suppressing the release of histamines and leukotrienes — eat plenty of apples and onions.
Two of the best natural whole foods for inflammatory diseases are pineapple and papaya. Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain; papaya, of papain. Both act as natural anti-inflammatories. Eating fresh pineapple or papaya on a daily basis generally helps to reduce inflammation within one week.
Aside from nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, be sure to include sources of omega fatty acids in the anti-inflammatory diet. Salmon, tuna, sardines, or mackerel should be eaten once or twice a week; dark leafy greens, avocados, and walnuts can be consumed regularly; nutritional oils, such as flax seed, hemp seed, or evening primrose can be taken as a daily supplement.
Other beneficial foods, which help to create balance in the body and reduce inflammation include artichokes, cherries, brown rice, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, squash, ginger, sweet potatoes, and green tea.
Foods to Avoid for the Anti-Inflammatory Diet
There are a plethora of natural whole foods which can help anyone dealing with chronic pain from inflammation, and a long list of foods which may worsen symptoms, especially when eaten regularly.
- saturated fat
- white bread and other white flour products
- hydrogenated oils
- dairy (except yogurt)
- red meat
- fried foods
- processed foods
Useful Herbs for Inflammation
In addition to eating natural whole foods, there are many herbs which have anti-inflammatory properties. Use any of these herbs to make an herbal infusion, and drink up to three cups a day to help reduce inflammation.
- red clover
- black willow
Inflammation is not only a painful condition, but a sign of something more serious, whether it be a chronic ailment, or an infection. Always consult a health care practitioner to discuss health options.