Inflammation: A localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection.
We all know when something is inflamed. But, what about inflammation on the inside of our bodies? Internal inflammation can happen for a host of different reasons: high temperatures when cooking food, eating processed foods, sugar, trans fats, etc. A high level of inflammation within the body can cause many health problems. An easy way to combat this? Eat more anti-inflammatory foods and eliminate the inflammatory ones.
The number one nutrient for disarming runaway inflammation and cooling the site doesn’t come from food, but from the Earth under our feet. This massive free electron source beneath us is literally the most powerful antioxidant we have available and it assists the immune system in ceasing oxidative stress, cooling any inflamed sites in the body and reduces free radical damage without leaving residue.
The evidence continues to pile up in favour of berries (in general) being one of the healthiest food groups around. The anti-inflammatory effects of berries when they are a part of your daily culture can ensure that your body does not shift into an acute state of inflammation in many areas in the body, including the eyes. Bring raspberries, blueberries, goji berries, acai, sea buckthorn, blackberries and mulberries into your diet today and enjoy the benefits of nature’s natural ‘vaccine’.
3. Immuno-modulating herbs
One of the distinctions around inflammation that is rarely made is the fact that inflammation is an immune response. Sometimes all we need to do to return to balance is eat foods that regulate the immune system and ‘teach’ it to stop before the inflammation becomes acute. For this we need the tonic herbs. The best herbs for inflammation are reishi, chaga, cat’s claw, pau d’ arco, schizandra berries, ashwaghanda,horsetail, cordyceps, american ginseng and panax ginseng.
The flavonoids and polyphenol compounds in cacao are amazingly beneficial for cardiovascular health. Research in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology found that cacao reduced inflammation by lowering levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body. Cacao has always been known in ancient cultures as a protector and promoter of heart energy and so it comes as no surprise that science is now showing its chemical and medicinal benefits for the heart and reducing inflammation.
5. Cruciferous vegetables
Nothing is more central to the regulation of inflammation in the body than the responses and events around a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB). NF-κB initiates many inflammatory responses from the genetic level, assisting in taking instructions found in the genes and applying them to the production of substances that increase our inflammation; it is essentially a pro-inflammatory. The reason cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower are so amazing is that they have the ability to block the activity of NF-κB through their isothiocyanates; the most potent in this regard being indole-3-carbinol, which can also be taken in supplement form.
6. Green juice
Chronic inflammation is essentially an overheating of a particular area or region of the body, and it thrives when conditions are overly acidic. One of the greatest solutions for this issue is to bring in drinks that are cooling and alkalising for the body. Green juices are amazing for this and are so readily and easily absorbable that the benefits are experienced very quickly. At least one green juice a day is highly recommended.
The maintenance of a healthy flora balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut is essential to keeping the body in all over equilibrium. Having a gut high in good bacteria will enable the immune system to function properly and effectively, meaning it will modulate itself before causing an excess of inflammation. Probiotics also reduce levels of intestinal inflammation. Include home made fermented foods in your diet and/or take a high quality probiotic supplement to gain all these benefits and many more.
Turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices in the world due to its high levels of curcumin. The curcumin in turmeric has been scientifically proven to suppress NF-κB and to be an effective alternative to allopathic drugs as an anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agent against tumor cells.
Another source of inflammation-fighting healthy fats is nuts—particularly almonds, which are rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamin E, and walnuts, which have high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fat. All nuts, though, are packed with antioxidants, which can help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation. Nuts (along with fish, leafy greens, and whole grains) are a big part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in as little as six weeks.
10. Tart cherries
In a 2012 presentation, Oregon Health & Science University researchers suggested that tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.” Studies have found that tart cherry juice can reduce the inflammation in lab rats’ blood vessels by up to 50%; in humans, meanwhile, it’s been shown to help athletes improve their performance and reduce their use of anti-inflammatory pain meds.
Experts recommend eating 1.5 cups of tart cherries, or drinking 1 cup of tart cherry juice, a day to see similar benefits. And yep, they’ve got to be tart—sweet cherries just don’t seem to have the same effects.