Inflammation is a completely normal (and essential!) defence mechanism that protects us from infection, helps to repair damaged tissue and restore balance to our body. But what happens when it gets out of hand?
A faulty inflammatory response can result in a chronic, low-grade inflammation that is associated with diseases like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This can develop for a multitude of reasons, including smoking, poor diet, low physical activity, lack of sleep and stress.
Thankfully, there are many natural ingredients out there that can help. Here, we’ve rounded up 5 to add to your anti-inflammatory routine.
Berries are truly a superfood in our books. These little beauties are bursting with antioxidants; including Vitamin C, anthocyanins and carotenoids – disease-fighting compounds give berries their dazzling colours. These compounds help your body to get rid of ‘free radicals’ that promote inflammation in your body. Buy them fresh for the best taste and highest compound content, and include a handful a few times a week.
Did you know pineapples have long been used as a medicinal plant in cultures around the world? They contain an anti-inflammatory compound called bromelain that has been used clinically as an anti-inflammatory agent in arthritis, soft tissue injuries, colonic inflammation, chronic pain and asthma. It may also promote healthy glowing skin! Try making an anti-inflammatory ‘shot’ with the sweet fruit – juice a few wedges of pineapple, add ginger, a dash of pepper and lemon – YUM.
You may have heard of rosehips – gaining popularity recently for its skincare benefits. But did you know in powder form it’s also an anti-inflammatory powerhouse? Rosehips (the berry fruits of the Dog Rose) are a source of an abundance of vitamins including one of nature’s richest source of natural Vitamin C, antioxidants and phytochemicals (biologically active compounds!). Much of the anti-inflammatory action of rosehip is attributed to a key phytochemical known as GOPO. Evidence based Rose-Hip Vital® with GOPO® is the only product formulated with this active ingredient – and may support joint health, protect cartilage, reduce pain, stiffness and inflammation often associated with arthritis, and promote general overall well-being.
4. Oily Fish
There is also support for the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids, contained in fish. The active components of omega-3, known as EPA and DHA inhibit inflammation by interfering with pro-inflammatory immune cells. The best source of omega-3 is oily fish (salmon, mackerel, blue fin tuna, trevally, sardines), whilst lesser sources including canola oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamias and walnuts. Aim to consume fish 2-6 times/ week for anti-inflammatory benefits.
5. Dark leafy greens
Green leafy vegetables including kale, bok choy, spinach and broccoli are brimming with vitamins (including A, C, E and K) and phytochemicals that can reduce inflammation by protecting cells from free radical damage. Certain green vegetables including brussel sprouts, broccoli and bok choy contain a compound called sulforaphone that can block inflammation early on. Remember: the darker the greens the better! Pair your greens with extra-virgin olive to help absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.