Natural Ways to Reduce Inflammation
All of us experience inflammation at some point. The day after a hard work out, fighting off a cold or flu, seasonal allergies, a sprained ankle; these are all common forms of inflammation. Usually, inflammation is a normal and beneficial bodily response. It is the body’s way of protecting and healing itself from injury or infection. Under normal conditions, the body is able to repair itself, ward off invaders and return to a state of homeostasis (harmony and stability). However, when inflammation becomes prolonged and persists, it can become damaging and destructive to the body’s tissues.
How inflammation effects the body:
Research points to chronic inflammation as the “common soil” for a wide variety of conditions.1 Chronic inflammation can negatively affect the body’s systems in several ways, including:
- The Nervous System: depressed mood, anxiety, impaired cognition, and neuropathic pain
- The Skin: dermatitis, hives, acne, and premature aging
- Respiratory System: asthma, hay fever, sinusitis
- The Gut: pain, bloating, weight loss or gain, and poor nutrient absorption
- The Immune System: impaired immune function and allergy symptoms
- Musculoskeletal: pain, stiffness, reduced mobility and increased risk of injury
How inflammation becomes chronic
There are multiple reasons inflammation becomes chronic. Here are some potential contributing factors:
- Aging - Inflammation tends to increase as we age. “Inflammaging” is a term describing the low-grade, chronic, systemic inflammation, which contributes to the development of age-related issues.
- Chronic Stress - Stress causes a flood of cortisol and adrenaline which may reduce inflammation in the short term, but long term, chronic stress can exhaust the adrenal glands, resulting in pain, fatigue and inflammation.
- Inflammatory Foods - processed meats, sugar, white flour and oils high in omega 6 (Soybean, Canola, vegetable, corn, sunflower, safflower) will increase inflammation.
- Allergies - Any type of allergic response will increase inflammation.
- Genetics - Many inflammatory diseases have a genetic component.
Natural Ways to Combat Inflammation
We may have no control over things like age and genetics, but that doesn’t mean we need to live with chronic inflammation. It just means we need to be a little more proactive. A few simple lifestyle changes can make a big impact on your health and wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and proper nutrition is key in reducing inflammation. In addition, many foods and natural ingredients have been shown to reduce inflammation. Here are some of the ways you can reduce inflammation and start feeling better:
- Meditation and Relaxation – yoga and gentle stretches, visualization, and time in nature are all ways to bring balance to the body and mind.
- Sleep is essential for cellular repair and homeostasis.
- Exercise - To reduce inflammation, try gentle low impact exercises. Swimming and walking are especially restorative
- Berries – Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, and cherries are nutrient dense and packed with fiber and antioxidants. Many types of berries have been shown to decrease inflammation.
- Vegetables - Green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale are especially high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and anti-oxidants.
- Healthy Fats - Avocados, nuts and fatty fish all contain healthy fats that have been shown to reduce inflammation.
- Olive oil contains oleocanthal, an antioxidant that has been clinically studied for reducing inflammation.2* Extra virgin olive oil offers greater anti-inflammatory benefits than more refined olive oils.
- Turmeric’s inflammation reducing properties are well documented.* You can add this to foods, make a tea or take it in a supplement to reap the many benefits of this powerful medicinal herb.
- Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a naturally occurring within the human body. It is produced by our cells and we also get it through our diet. It is present in most foods. It was first discovered and used in the 1950s for its anti-inflammatory properties. Since then, over 800 published studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and neuroprotective actions of PEA.3*
- Luteolin is a flavonoid abundantly present in artichoke, broccoli, thyme, and celery. Studies have shown that luteolin possesses beneficial neuroprotective effects. It also has antioxidant and immune-modulatory properties.*
Mirica contains both PEA and luteolin. When combined, PEA and luteolin show enhanced anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and neuroprotective properties.* This is because the properties of PEA and those of luteolin appear complementary, which suggests that, if administered in combination, they can counteract the two main conspirators of ‘inflammaging’: low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress.4*
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- Scrivo, Rossana et al. “Inflammation as "common soil" of the multifactorial diseases.” Autoimmunity reviews 10,7 (2011): 369-74. doi:10.1016/j.autrev.2010.12.006
- Lucas, Lisa et al. “Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal.” Current pharmaceutical design 17,8 (2011): 754-68. doi:10.2174/138161211795428911
- Hesselink, J. M.. “Evolution in pharmacologic thinking around the natural analgesic palmitoylethanolamide: from nonspecific resistance to PPAR-α agonist and effective nutraceutical.” Journal of Pain Research 6 (2013): 625 - 634.
- Impellizzeri, D et al. “Palmitoylethanolamide and Luteolin Ameliorate Development of...” Arthritis Research & Therapy 15.6 (2013): R192.PMC.Web. 17 Mar. 2018.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.