The Anti-Inflammatory Diet: How to Get Rid of Inflammation in the Body
Many of the illnesses and conditions that plague the human race are said to be triggered by chronic inflammation. To figure out how to get rid of inflammation in the body we first have to explore exactly what inflammation is.
Inflammation is essentially our body trying to keep us safe; a key player in the biological response by our tissues to potential threats like malicious bacteria, pathogens, toxins, and damaged cells. So why discourage inflammation? Why should we concentrate on how to get rid of inflammation in the body?
How to Get Rid of Inflammation in the Body
There are four keys to how to get rid of inflammation in the body:
- Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight
- Exercising Daily
- Effectively Managing Stress
- Consuming an “Anti-Inflammatory Diet”
Without inflammation, we cannot heal. It’s our body combatting stress; it involves our immune cells, our microbiome, and our gut, playing a critical role in our body’s immune response. Tied to our detoxification system, inflammation is kind of like an internal security system; its purpose being to clear out dead and damaged cells, eliminate the original offenders and promote tissue repair within the body.
A Silent Epidemic
However, you can be feeling just fine and not know that your inflammation levels are soaring. Failure to regulate excessive inflammation can have devastating effects on the body. Oftentimes, if inflammation is out of control, it leads to a multitude of chronic conditions. Possibilities include rheumatoid arthritis or adrenal fatigue – along with possible links to maladies like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight and Exercising Daily
The number one way to keep inflammation at bay is to maintain a healthy body weight. In fact, weight loss alone is considered to be “anti-inflammatory”. The prevalence and severity of osteoarthritis, for example, was found to be higher amongst people who are overweight or obese, according to Patience White, MD, the chief public health officer for the Arthritis Foundation.
Inevitably, if you follow the suggested “anti-inflammatory diet” presented below, you may very well find yourself losing the weight in the process.
The second of the components –getting regular exercise – is not only a key component in decreasing inflammation, it is also essential in recovering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
Depending on your current fitness level, even walking can make all the difference. For optimal fitness, try to incorporate a mix of aerobic, anaerobic, and flexibility exercises. Click here for more information about exercise in relation to AFS.
Effectively Managing Stress
Controlling stress is important in lowering inflammation– and exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. In today’s busy world, stress has become a part of our daily lives. The inflammatory response is part of the body’s NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system; our bodily systems and organs work together in unison to help protect us from stress with the aim of restoring the body to normal function.
When suffering from chronic pain, experts suggest that you eat more vegetables, which contain phytochemicals– natural chemicals found in plants that are thought to reduce inflammation (i.e. how to get rid of inflammation in the body.)
Reasons for Consuming an “Anti-Inflammatory Diet”
A number of foods have been found to have natural anti-inflammatory properties – thus, incorporating these into a proper, balanced diet can answer how to get rid of inflammation in the body by helping to significantly reduce inflammation and the resulting health issues.
It is well-known that a Mediterranean-style diet– full of low-fat proteins, monounsaturated fats like olive oil, and unrefined carbs – can be linked to improved cardiac outcomes. It can also answer how to get rid of inflammation in the body as the “anti-inflammatory diet” is quite similar in this regard.
The modern American diet contains too many omega-6 fatty acids, which are often found in processed and fast foods. Omega-6s are associated with higher levels of molecules called cytokines– proteins released from cells that, in turn, trigger inflammation. Contrarily, omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in foods like oily fish and walnuts, can help with how to get rid of inflammation in the body by significantly decreasing it.
The “Anti-Inflammatory Diet” generally includes eating:
- Large amounts/quantities
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- spices – such as ginger and turmeric
- lean meats like chicken
- Fewer or smaller amounts
- saturated fats
- trans fats
- refined carbohydrates like pasta and white rice
- red meat
- Absolutely NO processed or refined foods– avoid these at all costs.
Unlike anti-inflammatory drugs, eating an “anti-inflammatory diet” can take time and consistency to produce any sort of result. Drugs are fast-acting; however, they often come with side effects and skim over the root of the problem. Eating healthier will make you healthier. Make a commitment on how to get rid of inflammation in the body – especially if you are recovering from adrenal fatigue.
Along with a number of other important health benefits, the following is a list of food and beverages related to how to get rid of inflammation in the body as each have been found to aid in inflammation reduction:
Found to have a multitude of benefits, coffee helps to relieve headaches, provides antioxidants, and might even help reduce your risk of cancer. The caffeine in coffee helps to alleviate pain by narrowing the dilated blood vessels that develop with headaches. There should, of course, be a limit to the amount of caffeine that you consume– no more than two 4-ounce cups per day. Otherwise, you risk being susceptible to withdrawal headaches.
Full of polyphenols – which may help to lower the rate of free radicals that cause inflammation – green tea has been used for centuries in several cultures for its medicinal properties.
Natural cranberry juice – and not the juice with added sugars (which are inflammatory) – has been found effective in preventing stomach ulcers. Helicobacter pylori is the bacteria that causes ulcers, attacking the protective lining of the stomach or small intestine. A study found that one daily cup of one-hundred percent natural cranberry juice for three weeks helped to eliminate nearly one fifth of all cases of H. pylori infection– completely without the use of drugs.
Botanists recommend brewing tea with peppermint leaves to help alleviate any kind of pain. Peppermint has been found effective in relieving pain as well as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, a rather uncomfortable condition that can be eased with peppermint oil. The menthol in peppermint is able to prevent muscle spasms. Another way to find relief with peppermint is to massage the oil into your temples, wrists, or the back of your neck– the result is quite soothing.
One of the best examples of how to get rid of inflammation in the body through diet is this staple of the Mediterranean diet. While being an excellent anti-inflammatory, olive oil also helps to mitigate the risk of stroke and even some cancers. Extra virgin olive oil, in particular, has been compared to over-the-counter pain relievers.
Already known to benefit the immune system, garlic is another example of how to get rid of inflammation in the body. Proven to be anti-inflammatory in nature, it has also been compared to pain medications and can even help to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of psoriasis.
Isoflavones, which are plant hormones that have anti-inflammatory properties are found in soy. Try to avoid purchasing heavily processed and genetically modified soy, and instead choose the organic options of tofu, tempeh, or edamame.
A natural anti-inflammatory that has been used for thousands of years, ginger is excellent in helping with a plethora of maladies including stomach aches and heart conditions.
A relative of ginger, turmeric can help to protect the body from joint inflammation, tissue destruction, and even cancer.
Sage has flavonoids that aid in the reduction of swelling; it has also been found to help boost memory function.
Capsaicin, an oily compound which is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter products like creams and ointments for pain relief is contained in cayenne. Cayenne is considered to have antioxidant properties in addition to being just one more example of how to get rid of inflammation in the body.
Known as a healing spice, with both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, cinnamon portrays how to get rid of inflammation in the body. It can also decrease heartburn!
Not only antioxidant in nature, cloves also contain a chemical known as eugenol, which is a proven example of how to get rid of inflammation in the body. The benefits of cloves range from preventing heart disease to cancer.
Salmon and other oily fish
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to lubricate the joints, relieve back and neck pain, and improve moods and cardiovascular health, salmon and other oily fish should be included on your grocery list. However, fish-oil supplements can be taken in lieu of actual fish.
Not only a source of healthy omega-3 fat, nuts are packed with antioxidants that can help ward off inflammation and its resulting damage.
As opposed to white refined grains, whole grains have been proven to lower levels of the inflammatory C-reactive protein in the blood. Ensure that such products actually contain a whole grain – as their first ingredient – with no sugar added.
Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, and collard greens
These types of greens contain high levels of phytochemicals and vitamin E, which help to protect the body from inflammatory cytokine molecules.
With the ability to neutralize free radicals within the body, as well as prevent tissue inflammation, cherries are full of antioxidants and said to have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any other food.
Tart cherries, along with berries, get their deep red color from anthocyanins, which have pain-relieving abilities.
The pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that might help to relieve swelling caused by osteoarthritis.
A plant pigment called betalains – which boast antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – comes from beets. They’re also believed to protect against heart disease and cancer.
This dairy staple contains probiotics like B. infantis and L. acidophilus which can help to mitigate inflammation, pain, and other uncomfortable symptoms of IBS.
We can all work toward reducing chronic pain and inflammation by maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, controlling stress, and eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes many of the inflammation-reducing foods listed above.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.