Foods to help fight inflammation
By Kumba Sillah
Nature has equipped us with many wonderful foods that naturally help fight inflammation. With factors such as poor diet and increased stress more and more people are suffering with chronic inflammation. Many diseases are associated with increased inflammation from diabetes type 2, depression, cardiovascular disease and more. The chances are we have all had some sort of inflammation in our lives and have taken an over the counter medication for it. But did you know that there are so many wonderful foods we can eat to help reduce and prevent inflammation naturally?
Eating anti-inflammatory foods has not only proven to help reduce inflammation but contributes to overall health and has thought to even slow down the internal ageing process.
So what is inflammation? Inflammation can be characterised by symptoms such as pain, swelling, redness and heat in the body. We mainly associate inflammation with the visual changes that we see in the skin. Although we associate inflammation as being something bad it can also be a defence and healing mechanism. Inflammatory compounds are released called cytokines. They can be put into two categories of pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Chronic pro-inflammatory cytokines can cause inflammation and tissue damage.
Foods that help fight inflammation:
There is a reason that you keep seeing this spice everywhere, whether it’s in a drink, or in your beauty products, there is a reason why people are going mad of over turmeric. This spice has been a staple in Indian cooking for thousands of years and has recently gained popularity in western culture. It’s known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory affects and being beneficial for a whole host of conditions as well as overall wellbeing. It has shown to be affective against arthritis, cardiovascular diseases and more. The active compound curcumin is what exerts its beneficial effects and is often isolated for supplement form. The best way to consume turmeric to get the maximum benefits is cooking with the turmeric root or powder with a pinch of black pepper and some fat such as coconut oil. This helps with the bioavailability and with absorbing the turmeric.
Similar to turmeric, ginger has long been used in cooking across the world to flavour food. It has also been used in herbal medicine for its medicinal affects. Ginger has been shown to be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant. Not only that, it has proved to have a potential in having a positive effect on the liver, digestive disorders, and arthritis. It is best consumed fresh to get all of its wonderful benefits. In one double blind clinical trial 250mg capsules of ginger were found to be as effective as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs mefenamic acid (250 mg) and ibuprofen (400 mg) when used for the treatment of painful periods.
Green tea is Japans most consumed beverage and for good reason! This light refreshing beverage has a whole host of benefits on the heart, liver, blood sugar levels and more. The health benefits that green tea has mainly come from the polyphenol compounds of the tea which are potent antioxidants. One of the main compounds known for exerting green teas beneficial effects is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) by scavenging free radicals and reducing inflammatory compounds.
Try a few cups of organic green tea a day with water around 80-60 degrees to not destroy the beneficial compounds.
A good diet including lots of fruits, vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), fibre, and good fats will be helpful in reducing inflammation and increasing your antioxidants.
*Please consult a qualified practitioner before adding any supplements or herbs into your diet especially if you’re on medication