While the inflammation associated with a sprain, irritation itch or even a mosquito bite are often temporary, chronic activation of our inflammatory response takes a heavy toll on the body and is the root cause of most diseases associated with aging. Besides typical inflammatory illnesses such as arthritis, studies reveal that the list of conditions spurred by inflammation includes cancer, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes, stroke and even wrinkles. Those who are familiar with my treatment philosophy know that inflammation is where I focus first because it has a significant effect on hormonal health as well. Luckily there are many dietary habits and nutritional supplements to safely assist with inflammatory conditions that you can begin to use them today.
Dietary recommendations for reducing inflammation:
1) Avoid bad types of fats – saturated fats in red meats, dairy products, peanuts, pastries, muffins, trans fatty acids, hydrogenated oils and margarines. All of the fats in these products break down into compounds which increase pain and inflammation.
2) Increase your intake of healthy – like olive oil, canola oil, fish oils and avocados as these fats help to reduce pain and inflammation. These foods can assist with arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, bursitis and all other inflammatory conditions.
3) Avoid sugar – as it increases insulin levels which serve only to increase inflammation and disease in the body. There is also a link between elevated blood sugar levels and cancer risk. Consume low glycemic load carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, green vegetables, beans and oatmeal while avoiding sweets, candies, pop, pastries and baked goods as often as possible.
4) Increase intake of spices – like turmeric, rosemary and hops, as well as foods like pineapple and papaya. These all contain ingredients which are naturally anti-inflammatory.
5) Watch your intake of vegetable oils – like sunflower and safflower oils which can be inflammatory if consumed in excess. Most of us tend to get too many of these oils and not enough of the beneficial omega-3s.
Supplements to assist safely with pain and inflammation:
1) Bromelain – an extract from pineapple, is an enzyme that is naturally anti-inflammatory. The typical dose is 500mg three times per day and must be taken on an empty stomach.
2) Turmeric – This spice is cancer protective, a potent antioxidant, supports liver function and is anti-inflammatory. This works well mixed with bromelain at a dose of 500mg three times per day.
3) Boswellic acid – The herb Boswellia has very effective natural anti-inflammatory ingredients that can be useful for pain and stiffness associated with joint problems and rheumatoid arthritis. Standard dose is 500mg three times per day.
4) Ginger – Great natural relief for nausea as well as inflammation. It is used for abdominal upset like bloating, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as rheumatism and arthritis. Ginger may protect the stomach from the damaging effects of alcohol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS like Ibruprofen) and may help prevent ulcers. Ginger can be taken quite frequently at 2-4 hour intervals for pain and nausea relief. Capsules are typically 500mg.
5) Omega 3 Fish Oils – EPA and DHA, the constituents of fish oils, have anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, fish oil is used to help people with various inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. It seems that the EPA component has especially potent anti-inflammatory aspects making it useful for heart health and treating inflammatory conditions, while the DHA component is an important structural component of the brain, eyes and nervous system. I often prefer to use fish oil that is higher in EPA during acute inflammatory periods. The dosage can range from 4 -10 grams per day, taken with food.
6) Nattokinase – I use this enzyme frequently in my practice when I have found elevated levels of highly sensitive C-reactive protein in the blood. C-reactive protein is an inflammatory marker. It is often elevated in inflammatory conditions like arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, but is also associated with an increase in the risk of cancer recurrence, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory diseases and heart disease.
To tackle the health risks associated with excess inflammation, and to assist you with your weight loss goals I recommend a supplement like my Inflammation Support formula which not only eases stiffness, soreness and bloating but is also a critical element in boosting fat-loss. I recommend 2 to 3 capsules, away from food, at rising or bedtime. Personally I take this every morning with my thyroid medication and 2 caps of Resveratrim, another fantastic anti-inflammatory and metabolic-enhancing supplement.