The following can aggravate inflammation, so avoid or limit:
- Sugar and caffeine.
- Known allergens such as wheat, gluten, yeast, eggs, dairy, soy and nuts. To help you identify sensitivities that could be causing you problems, follow an elimination diet avoiding a substance for two weeks, and then introducing it for a day or two.
- Saturated fats found in meats, dairy products and eggs. An important source of minerals and vitamins, these foods also contain arachidonic acid, which although essential for health, too much in the diet can make inflammation worse. Choose low fat milk and cheese and lean cuts of meat, which will not promote inflammation.
- The nightshade family of plants such as tomatoes, aubergines, red and green bell peppers and chili and paprika may increase pain from inflammation.
To decrease inflammation, include:
- Raw nuts especially walnuts and freshly ground flaxseeds to provide you with nutrients that balance blood sugar and provide the amino acids that muscles need for good health.
- Foods rich in antioxidants such as spinach, strawberries, carrots, red grapes, kale, apples and dark chocolate to repair cell damage and help you feel better.
- Ginger which is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Grate some into juice or tea.
- Enzymes which contain bromelain. The most effective enzymes are ones that break down proteins and are found in several fruits such as kiwi, pineapple (especially the stem) and green papaya. When consumed raw, a portion of these enzymes are absorbed into the blood stream where they break down inflammatory complexes.
- Olives and extra virgin olive oil which are packed with anti-inflammatory polyphenols. However, these important phytochemicals are not present in refined oil, so use the extra virgin, cold-pressed oil or the whole olives.
- Generous portions of brightly-coloured vegetables for their fibre and natural anti-inflammatory compounds.
- A daily intake of honey which is a natural anti-inflammatory and cleanser, both outside and inside the body.
- Peppermint, spearmint, and Earl Grey (contains bergamot) teas to help reduce inflammation and fight uric acid levels (main contributor to inflammation).
Further Steps to Reduce Causes Of Inflammation
- Substances like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine place a burden on your system, so eliminate or moderate your intake.
- Use natural cleaning products and detergents. Test your air and water and, if necessary, get high-quality filters. Bring in lots of houseplants to help filter the air.
- It’s impossible to completely eliminate your exposure to environmental toxins, so it’s a good idea to periodically detoxify.
Investigate alternative therapies to deal with pain management: Use anti-inflammatory drugs for short periods during acute crises. If you still notice symptoms of inflammation, you may want to try some form of adjunctive therapy such as acupuncture, massage or water therapy that reduces pain and inflammation naturally. An easy self-help tip to reduce inflammation is the topical application of a frozen wheat bag used as a cold compress. To prevent frostbite, let the area warm completely before repeating.