Inflammation is a normal, healthy response of the body, essential for maintaining whole-body health. Exercise can cause acute or short-term inflammation, which is normal. A proper diet helps keep this inflammation under control. What is most concerning is the potential for chronic inflammation as a result of poor diet, stress and/or improper or overtraining in those who exercise vigorously. This combination puts you at higher risk for injury and illness.
In the natural cycle of activity and recovery, blood and nutrients are sent to any area in need. The resulting inflammation can sometimes create excessive swelling and be felt as occasional pain or soreness.
Over 30 million people take over-the-counter nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) each day for relief from pain, headaches and arthritis. NSAIDs work by altering the inflammation response to decrease pain and swelling. New studies have revealed that these meds may be perpetuating the destructive cycle of dysfunctional biological response. Consider; common complaints of stomach bleeding, increased rate of heart attack/stroke, and increased allergic reactions. Diet and lifestyle may serve to alter chronic inflammation responses and offer the freedom to a full life.
It’s important to realize that dietary components can either prevent or trigger inflammation from taking hold in your body. Processed foods like high fructose corn syrup, soy, processed vegetable oils (trans fats), and other chemical additives do the latter.
In approaching inflammation with natural supplementation, one will want to target whole-body responses, those that have a powerful synergy, and ensuring an ability to further protect healthy cells from damage. In addition, look for herbal formulas that use full-spectrum extraction processes which capture and protect each herb’s naturally occurring compounds.
Some Important Anti-Inflammatory Supplements and Nutrients to consider are:
- Fish Oil
- Curcumin (found in Tumeric)
- Holy Basil
- Proteolytic Enzymes
- Ginger (not recommended for those who take aspirin or other blood thinners)
- Traditional Chinese tonic herbs
- Goldthread, Hu Zhang, Skullcap and Barberry
- A bonus would be Dark Chocolate. Research indicates dark chocolate reduces systemic inflammation and boosts heart health.
Besides adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, one will also want to avoid the following pro-inflammatory dietary culprits as much as possible:
- Refined sugar, processed fructose and grains.
- Trans Fats, and foods cooked in vegetable oils at high temperatures
- Trans fats
Reducing inflammation in your body can help you train more consistently, recover faster from injuries, perform at your highest level and ultimately prevent chronic disease.