The press has once again highlighted the potential dangers of common painkillers, NSAID’s, used by millions of people worldwide. Non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) according to a recent Dutch study can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke due to the increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat following the use of such drugs.
NSAID’s are routinely used for easing headaches, muscle and joint pains and to help ease the pain of arthritis and whilst I am not suggesting you stop taking these without first discussing this with your GP it is worth considering some natural help from the food we eat. After all if by reducing the joint pain and inflammation by including more of the beneficial foods listed below in your diet then there is a much greater chance that your need to take NSAID’s will be reduced and that has got to be a good thing.
So what are the best anti-inflammatory foods?
Listed below are 10 foods that contain natural anti-inflammatory properties:
- Oily fish. These are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which studies show are beneficial in reducing inflammation. Fish such as Sardines, Tuna, Salmon and Mackerel are high in Omega 3’s
- Soy products. These contain chemical compounds called isoflavens which studies have shown are beneficial to reducing inflammation. Soya milk, Tofu and Edamame are great sources of isoflavens.
- Green vegetables. The active ingredient in dark green vegetables such as Kale, Broccoli and Spinach is vitamin E and this vitamin is shown to help control cytokines which are molecules required in the inflammatory cycle.
- Whole grains. Studies have shown that when whole grain foods such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice and oats are included in our diet the levels of CRP in our body falls. CRP, C-reactive protein, is what is referred to as a blood marker of inflammation and high levels of inflammation can be indicated by increased levels of CRP in the blood.
- Nuts. Walnuts contain good levels of Omega 3’s and Almonds contain high levels of essential fatty acids, vitamin E and magnesium all of which help to reduce inflammation.
- Berries. All berries including strawberries, raspberries and blueberries contain anthocyanins and these are believed to be the beneficial active ingredients when it comes to reducing inflammation.
- Garlic. Garlic and onions contain several anti-inflammatory chemicals some of which work by closing down chemical pathways that lead to inflammation in our bodies. The closing down of these inflammatory pathways is the same anti-inflammatory mechanism used by NSAID’s such as ibuprofen.
- Turmeric. A popular ingredient in Asian food turmeric has been linked to many health benefits including its anti-inflammatory properties. If you are not keen on Asian or Indian food or wish to increase your intake turmeric is available in a convenient tablet form.
- Ginger. Ginger is likened with its calming effect on the digestive system as well as its amazing pain relieving anti-inflammatory properties. Getting ginger into your diet may not be easy with all meals and to assist with this we stock a high quality ginger supplement containing the active ingredients of gingeroles and zingerone.
- Olive oil. The benefits of olive oil have been hailed for many years and the active anti-inflammatory ingredient is oleocanthal which acts in a very similar way in the body as NSAID’s do. Olive oil also contains good levels of the beneficial vitamin E.
When including more of the beneficial foods in your diet don’t forget to reduce your intake of processed junk foods that are often high in sugars and other chemicals that may increase the potential for inflammation within your body and therefore increasing your need to potentially rely on man-made drugs.
So why not begin to include small changes to your diet and begin to give your body and joints a natural anti-inflammatory boost starting today?
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