Natural Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients
So you have read about inflammation, what it is, how you can change your lifestyle to heal from inflammation. Now you are looking for food sources of natural anti- inflammatories?.
I advise my clients on anti-inflammatory foods on a case by case basis and this information is here to help you to further your knowledge and motivate you to use more natural methods to reduce inflammation. For your personal healing journey I recommend talking to your naturopath or nutritional therapist.
Helping the body to recover from chronic and systemic inflammation is key to health and using foods to heal is a very effective way to help prevent long term inflammation in the future. This is true for us and for our children.
Berries– Blueberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, mulberries are rich in flavonoids. freeze dried and frozen berries are great options when they are out of season. You can also use freeze dried berry powder. Beware of those with added sugar and preservatives. Vitamin C is also anti-inflammatory
Reservatrol- this is the active anti-inflammatory ingredient in several foods like red/black grapes, red wine vinegar, blueberries, mulberries, peanuts, raw cacao and cranberries. It is one of the reasons red wine is good for the heart- since heart disease is mainly caused by systemic inflammation of the arteries.
Natural fats; Remove all trans fats (hydrogenated oils), oils so far from their natural starting point (corn and vegetable oil) and those man made oils (canola). Ensure the oils that you consume are from a reputable source have been harvested and processed correctly (cold pressed and extra virgin- which means nothing added or taken away) and are stable in high heat if cooking and storing oils. Coconut oil and ghee are my oils of choice to cook with. I also use fish oils (fish eggs mostly), nut oils (almond, walnut), seed oils (flax, sunflower and sesame), eggs, meat/fish on the bone, bone broths, avocado’s and seeds like chia and hemp on an almost daily basis. Try this smoked salmon pate, energy balls chocolate, chocolate fudge or vanilla butter fudge. Fat based vitamins like Vitamin A and D are also anti-inflammatory
Fermented foods; By regulating the digestive system and immune system fermented foods can help reduce inflammation. By lessening the load of the digestive system and assisting in absorption of nutrients, bacteria can provide cells with necessary ingredients. By moderating cytokines (immune cells) the body is able to ‘switch’ off inflammation. They can help repair leaks in the digestive system stopping foods from alerting the immune system of their presence in the blood stream in the wrong forms. By consuming excess sugar in the body they can help regulate blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity thus helping to balance hormone levels. Increase the cells ability to create energy, protect and support liver detoxification and toxin elimination thus helping to relieve stress at a cellular level. Consume fermented foods like apple cider vinegar, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir gummies, kimchi, natto, miso, lacto-fermented vegetables and fruit on a daily basis.
Gelatin; Gelatin is found in the bones and connective tissues of animals. Essentially a collagen protein, it is found in a third of the body in humans. Gelatin assist healing of bones, tissues, and muscles thus speeding up recovery and therefore helping to promote the reduction of inflammation. It can also assist in the digestion of some foods. By helping to form strong cells that are able to utilise oxygen, water and produce energy, less trauma related inflammation at a cellular level will be evident. Get gelatin from daily consumption of bone broths or add gelatin in powder form to drinks (coffee, smoothies, juices, green drinks) and stews, soups, sauces, gummies and so on. You can buy gelatin from reputable sources (ie cows that are grass fed and healthy) that can be added to cold substances that won’t gel- collagen hydrolysate (here and here) and to hot things to thicken and set (here and here).
Onions and garlic; Contain quercetin which is a powerful antioxidant. It also helps balance bacterial levels of h-pylori by helping to protect the cells from attack cause by dysbiosis.
Plants; Vegetables (mostly greens, sweet potatoes, beetroot, cabbage and asparagus. I limit nightshades and try to eat a mixture of raw and cooked). Using colour on your plate is a great way to ensure you have a mix of nutrients. I try to have at least 4 colours on my plate at every meal. I also love apples, pears and plums. I limit bananas, grapes, melon, mango and pineapple. I try to consume more vegetables than fruit and always consume them with some fats like coconut butter. Also greens like spirulina, chorella, wheatgrass and seaweeds can have anti-inflammatory effects.
Coconut; I view coconuts a little like eggs. Natures perfect package. Coconut oil, fresh (or fermented if bought pasteurised in a carton) and coconut meat all have huge anti-inflammatory and bacterial balancing properties.
Spices; Cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper. Have great anti-inflammatory properties. I like to consume them as close to nature as possible rather than as processed powders- such as turmeric root. However if prepared traditionally (ie looking at ayurvedic preparation of spices includes heating them first) they can have massive healing benefits. Try a healing Chai Rooibos tea (see below)
Herbs; Rosemary, oregano, thyme, holy basil (tulsi), mint, willow bark, chamomile, calendula, hibiscus, rosehips, melissa, passionflower, valerian and so on. All have calming and healing restorative properties. If you want to use tinctures/supplement I recommend contacting a herbal or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. Culinary herbs and teas are generally how I like to use them.
Frankincense; Used in ayurvedic medicine it is a tree (boswellia) resin which can block some chemical reactions that can start inflammation.
Alpha-lipoic acid; This is a very powerful intra-cellular antioxidant. this is very effective in chronic and systemic inflammation as it helps to protect the cells from toxins affecting the cells. Is used in blood sugar balance as it can increase insulin sensitivity of cells and helps cells to produce energy. It has show to prevent specific molecules adhesion (sticking) to the cells which promotes inflammation of the cell. It is also is a good metal chelator, meaning it will bind to metals and take them out of the body (source). This helps to support the liver (it is also a precursor to glutathione which is the body’s most powerful natural antioxidant. Foods rich in alpha-lipoic acid are organ meats such as the heart, liver and kidneys, and vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Lesser amounts of ALA occur naturally in Brussels sprouts, peas and tomatoes. Dietary sources are somewhat ineffective in such small amounts. Supplementation is often advised. Contact your naturopath or nutritional therapist for information on brands and dosage.
There are more sources of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments and contact your naturopath or nutritional therapist for other sources.
see here for more information.