The Best Foods And Supplements To Fight Inflammation
Natural inflammation management is probably the best way to fight off inflammation. Yes, it may be easy to stick to over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatories. However, if you are able to reduce inflammation through diet and supplementation, you could save yourself a lot of time and money in the process.
The Mediterranean Diet Reduces InflammationThe Mediterranean diet is one of the most anti-inflammatory diets you can follow. This diet promotes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts as the primary nutrition sources. Meats like fish and lean poultry are key to this diet. These meats are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Red meats are mostly avoided in this diet. That being said, grass-finished red meat is likely fine if eaten occasionally. Grass-finished red meat actually has Omega-3 along with a host of other nutrients; this is due to the healthier feeding of the animal itself.
This diet (MD) focuses on choosing healthy fats thus the avoidance of processed red meats, processed foods, added sugars, and refined grains.
Healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil are recommended.
This is a very popular diet that continues to be adopted by more and more people as it has been shown to help reduce chronic inflammation, promote heart health, and improve cognition. This is one of the most studied diets and the benefits are amazing.
Why Are Omega-3s So Important For Inflammation Support
We mentioned the importance of omega-3s in the Mediterranean diet but why is that? They are highly anti-inflammatory! Omega-3s act in the body in the same way that NSAIDs do. They can reduce pro-inflammatory signaling from the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes that signal inflammation and pain responses. Actually, Omega-3s that populate a cell membrane will provide the building blocks for an anti-inflammatory or resolving pathway rather than the inflammatory one that is followed if the membrane is filled with Omega-6s. Omega-3s have proven to be a safer and less risky alternative to NSAIDs which often have serious side effects when taken long-term such as stomach ulcers, stroke, and heart attacks.
Omega-3 PUFAs are used as structural components of the phospholipid membranes (cell membrane). They maintain membrane fluidity and function. These long-chain fatty acids (DHA and EPA) also inhibit leukocyte chemotaxis, adhesion molecule expression, and production of eicosanoids such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Thus, they are antiinflammatory.
Omega-3s are found in oily fish like anchovies, herring, salmon, tuna, and many more.
You can also find omega-3s in walnuts, flaxseeds, canola oil, soybeans, and chia seeds!
Antioxidants Are Anti-Inflammatory
Antioxidants prevent unwanted inflammatory responses by protecting the body from oxidative stress, this occurs when free radicals are overabundant and attack healthy cells. The body must have a balance of pro-oxidant reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant substances. When the balance tips in favor of the pro-oxidants, as it often does in modern life, problems occur. Chronic inflammation, along with DNA and protein damage and lipid peroxidation, is most commonly caused by long-term oxidative stress and the body’s immune system being exhausted from repairing damaged healthy cells while also performing the normal workload to keep the body healthy and free of foreign invaders.
Some of Dr. Meredith Warner’s favorite antioxidants are tart cherry extract, turmeric, PEA (Palmitoylethanolamide), ALA (alpha-lipoic acid), and CBD!