These five simple ways to reduce inflammation in the body include holistic foods and supplements with powerful natural properties to combat inflammation. Each item makes it easy to stay healthy and may lower your risk for certain diseases.
Inflammation is at the root of most diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancer and diabetes. When someone has arthritis for example, it is caused by inflammation of the joints. Similarly, heart disease is inflammation of the arteries.
Research is finding now that chronic inflammation leads to many of these diseases and when inflammation is reduced overall, disease risk is lowered.
We also know that inflammation causes pain, which is why most people take anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to relieve pain. However, these OTC medicines are not without risks and side effects like liver and kidney damage, which is why it’s important to find safer natural alternatives to reduce inflammation.
I’ve listed five of the best natural tools below to support your body in lowering inflammation so you can stay healthy.
Diet and lifestyle tips to reduce inflammation
Although the five supplements listed below are easy ways to safeguard yourself from inflammation, it’s also important to make sure you are taking steps in your everyday lifestyle to combat inflammation. Below are a few diet and lifestyle recommendations to keep inflammation at bay.
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid:
- Trans Fats
- Oils high in omega-6s
- Processed foods
- Refined flours and grains
- Artificial sweeteners
- Conventional dairy
- Artificial additives
Beneficial Anti-inflammatory Foods to Eat:
- Organic vegetables and fruits
- Grass fed and pasture raised meats
- Pastured eggs
- Healthy fats
- Teas (especially green tea)
- Foods high in antioxidants
- Nuts and seeds
Lifestyle Actions to Help Reduce Inflammation:
- Meditation or prayer
- Lower Stress
5 Simple Ways to Reduce Inflammation in the Body:
Ginger is a spicy peppery tasting root that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine most notably for digestive upset. It is also very effective in helping to reduce inflammation.
Ginger works by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins that contribute to inflammation. Ginger also contains proteolytic enzymes which help to bring down inflammation.
Ginger is such a great choice for reducing inflammation because its therapeutic effects have been validated by studies. Plus it doesn’t have the liver/stomach/kidney damaging effects that OTC anti-inflammatory drugs do.
Ginger tea works great, but it can also be taken as capsules. Generally people do well with 500mg 2-4 times a day of a ginger supplement.
Curcumin is the active constituent in turmeric, the bright yellow spice often used in curries in India and Asia. Curcumin is what gives turmeric its yellow orangish pigment and is full of healing properties.
This root is in the ginger family, so it’s no surprise that they would have similar effects in reducing inflammation. Curcuminoids are the active constituents in curcumin that help fight free radicals and battle inflammation.
One study found that curcumin was as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone in men that took it after surgery.
You can use the spice turmeric in food to get some of the benefits of curcumin, but there is only a small amount of curcumin in turmeric so it takes a lot more to be effective. To really get the full benefit use an isolated curcumin supplement. A dose of 450-600mg daily is usually effective for most people. There is some research that shows that black pepper helps the body absorb curcumin better, so try taking it with a meal along with black pepper.
3. Fish Oil
Fish oil is full of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are important for overall health. Since our bodies don’t manufacture omega-3s on their own, it’s important to get it from food sources.
It’s critical to have a balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids to avoid inflammation and stay healthy. Our modern food system and processed diets are very high in omega-6 fatty acids which, when consumed in excess, cause inflammation and can lead to heart disease and other chronic issues.
One way to combat this overconsumption of inflammatory omega-6s fatty acids is to heighten your consumption of omega-3s to balance the ratio. It also helps to lower your consumption of inflammatory omega-6s (you can see sources of omega-6s to avoid here).
Fish oil is one of the best sources for anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids because it’s very easy for the body to process and digest. It also contains beneficial fatty acids EPA and DHA which support heart health.
Make sure your fish oil comes from cold water fish like anchovy, sardines or salmon. Take a combined total of 500-1000mg of EPA and DHA per day.
4. Quercetin & Bromelain
Quercetin is a flavonoid that comes from fruit and vegetables and has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to reduce the release of histamine which makes it an ideal supplement for allergies.
Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that is naturally present in pineapples. These types of enzymes are not only great at supporting digestion, but they also support the immune system and can help reduce inflammation by breaking down proteins and cellular debris thereby making an easier passage through the lymphatic system.
When combined, quercetin and bromelain have powerful immunomodulating effects that are especially helpful for inflammation caused by seasonal allergies. It’s best to take bromelain about 20 minutes before meals. A typical dose of quercetin with bromelain is 2 capsules before a meal 2-3 times a day.
5. Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf has been used as a tea and as a therapeutic remedy for centuries even dating back to ancient Egypt. This powerful anti-inflammatory and immune supporter comes from the leaves of the olive tree.
Olive leaf contains high levels of oleuropein, a potent anti-inflammatory that is especially effective for heart health and cardiovascular health.
One study found that rats with arthritis-induced paw swelling saw marked improvement in inflammation with the use of olive leaf extract. Research shows that olive leaf can also help reduce cytokines and enzymes that contribute to inflammation.
Most people do well to take 500mg of olive leaf extract 1-3 times a day.