• Jennifer McDiarmid

Help to help inflammation

Inflammation and inflammatory disease can be very common, but there are some great compounds found in nature that can really help to support your body.

Not many people may realise, but there are many conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, allergies, heart disease, cancer that can be triggered or made worse by underlying inflammation in the body, Any disease can be made worse or better depending on a person's diet.


Inflammation occurs in the body when the immune system reacts either to something in the air or something that we eat. This is called an allergen, The allergen will then cause inflammation at a certain site or systemically. There are many foods that we can consume which can promote inflammation in the body, therefore making the symptoms worse.


By introducing a diet high in foods that are anti-inflammatory, however, we support the body in its ability to heal itself of the underlying cause of a condition and not just treat the symptoms we may be displaying. This is true naturopathic healing.


So what foods can cause inflammation?

We will go on to explain the anti-inflammatory foods and their benefits in the booklet. The anti-inflammatory diet isn’t just about increasing your intake of these, but also to reduce your intake of foods that can cause inflammation. These foods are:


  • Meat

  • Processed fats

  • Refined carbohydrates

  • Sugar and foods high on the glycemic index

  • Food allergies or sensitivities can play a role in inflammation – if you are intolerant to dairy or wheat, this can also lead to internal inflammation


What foods can aid in healing inflammation?


Magnesium

Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in the human body. It works closely with calcium and vitamin B6 to regulate heart, muscles, brain and the immune system.

Magnesium is needed for the essential fats (omega 3) to work properly and plays a significant role in the prevention and treatment of various allergy related conditions.

Symptoms of low levels of magnesium include constipation, cramps, headaches, insomnia and depression.

Food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, lentils and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds).


Ginger and Turmeric

If you are suffering from an inflammatory disease, an inflammation promoting protein is produced (for the technical amongst you, this is known as kappa B).

Ginger and turmeric along with garlic and pepper turn off this inflammation promoting protein, and therefore help to reduce inflammation. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that has anti-inflammatory properties. Research studies have shown it is very effective in reducing symptoms that are experienced when you suffer from asthma.


Omega 3

Unlike Omega 6 found in animal products that promotes inflammation, Omega 3 is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can eat!

Food sources are oily fish, pumpkin and flaxseeds and walnuts. The source of omega 3 found in fish is in the form of EPA and DHA which is more easily used by the body than the form found in nuts and seeds. You can also get omega 3 in the form of supplements if you don’t feel you could get enough through your diet!


Anti-oxidant foods

It is known that inflamed tissue results in more oxidants, to it is sensible to increase your intake of anti-oxidants to counter the inflammation that can occur.

Research has shown that people who have lower levels of anti-oxidants in their diet can suffer more greatly from symptoms of inflammatory disease than those who have a good intake of anti-oxidants.

So how do you increase these? Simple – increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables!

The best anti-oxidants that have been tested are vitamin E and vitamin C although it is important to remember they all work synergistically so it is important to get a balance in your diet!

Although all fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants, some of the star super foods are: Broccoli, peppers, berries, citrus fruits, apples, carrots and tomatoes. We also recommend seeds and fish!

Zinc

Zinc is vital in the body for making the essential fatty acids that are known to reduce inflammation and is also a very important nutrient for the immune system.

It is important to note that you should not have a high dose (40 mg or higher) of zinc for longer than 3 months. Then you can drop to a maintenance dose of 15mg. Zinc also depletes the body of copper so you will need to make sure if you are taking a zinc supplement it also has copper in it as well to ensure balance is maintained.

Food sources of zinc Quinoa, spelt, beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beef, lamb, turkey (but remember if you want to get zinc from a meat source, meat can be inflammatory!)


Quercetin

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid. Bioflavonoids are a group of 4000 antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals that are found in many plants and have huge therapeutic effects.

It is believed that quercetin can reduce the activity of the cells of the body that release the inflammatory chemicals.

Quercetin works really well alongside vitamin C and bromelain.

Food sources include: red onions, cranberries, spinach, apples and red grapes. It is also found in smaller amounts in carrots, broccoli, blueberries, lettuce, cherries, plums, blackberries and raspberries.

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