Inflammation is a localized physical condition which is often a reaction to injury. This is called acute inflammation and helps our bodies to heal by drawing more blood to these areas.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is when there has been long term inflammation. Many things can cause this, as we shall see. Chronic conditions are often inflammatory conditions: osteoarthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and more.
Foods causing inflammation:
- Sugar and all related products)
- Artificial trans-fats (margarine is the most well known one)
- Vegetable and seed oils such as sunflower oil. These are most often extracted using petroleum based solvents, e.g. Hexane
- Refined carbohydrates such as white flour
- Excessive alcohol
- Processed meats
We can’t do much about inflammatory triggers such as injury, pollution or sickness.
To stay as healthy as possible and keep inflammation down, we can focus on what we eat and minimize triggering foods.
Foods that fight inflammation:
- Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene (a fat soluble nutrient) which reduces inflammation.
- Olive oil contains oleocanthal, an anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Green leafy vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which may help reduce inflammation.
- Nuts such as almonds and walnuts contain vitamin E
- Fatty fish which is high in omega 3
- Berries are high in antioxidants which reduce inflammation
Herbs that help reduce inflammation:
- Buchu (Agathosma betulina)-helps reduce inflammation in cases such as osteo-arthritis and urinary infections.
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutitia) tea is beneficial in inflamed stomach conditions such as diarrhoea and stomach ulcers. (Herb or tincture form)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an epithelial herb which means that it can reduce inflammation and heal conditions of the skin. It can also be used to reduce deep tissue swelling. (Herb or tincture form)
Essential oils that reduce inflammation:
- Clove: helps reduce gum inflammation. (Add to glycerine and water and use as a gargle)
- Thyme: Helps relieve pain from bruises and acne.
- Peppermint: Helps reduce inflammation caused from injury.
- Eucalyptus: Helps reduce respiratory and sinus inflammation.
- Lavender: Reduces inflammation of the respiratory system, as well as in cases of injury and infection.
- Frankincense: this oil plays a dual role-it is anti-inflammatory as well as analgesic.
The best way to use these oils is to add to grape seed oil or fractionated coconut oil and rub on the affected areas.