Healing Through Food: A Natural Approach to Beating Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is not only harmful because of how it impacts our quality of life, it also may be the precursor to a more serious underlying disease.
Tens of millions of people in the United States suffer from some form of chronic inflammation yearly, including about 43 million people with some type of joint disease according to a 2021 analysis published on the National Library of Medicine's website.
According to a 2020 study published in the journal Nature Medicine, chronic inflammation can lead to “several diseases that collectively represent the leading causes of disability and mortality worldwide, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders.”
Anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), are the most widely prescribed drugs for treating inflammation-based conditions like arthritis.
There are other ways to relieve inflammation at the source, however, including natural methods that go to work healing your body from the ground up instead of just targeting the symptoms.
What is Chronic Inflammation and How is it Different?
Chronic inflammation is a long-term reaction to an inflammatory stimulus that may last weeks, months or even an entire lifetime in the case of some chronic diseases.
This type of inflammation can sometimes begin with low-grade responses to pathogens or other potentially harmful substances and can progress to something long-term and damaging.
Chronic inflammation should not be confused with acute inflammation.
Acute inflammation is a sudden response to bodily damage, such as what occurs when you suffer a cut or direct injury to a body part or parts. This type of inflammation leads to a direct bodily response such as when your body sends plasma and leukocytes to the affected area.
The acute inflammation response typically ends after healing has occurred, but in chronic inflammation, your body continues sending inflammatory cells even when there is no outside threat.
Side Effects of Drugs for Chronic Inflammation
The aforementioned NSAIDs are taken by about 15% of the United States population according to Harvard Health.
As of 2018, NSAID use was responsible for approximately 5-10% of all medications prescribed each year. In patients over 65, the desire for anti-inflammatory drugs rose. As many as 96% of all patients use them according to a 2018 review.
Unfortunately, most people don't realize the side effects of these oft-prescribed drugs.
Side effects of NSAIDs range from common to urgent, for drugs taken both over-the-counter and by prescription.
Among the most common potential side effects of NSAIDs are:
-Stomach problems, including heartburn or gas
-Increased blood pressure
-Kidney problems, including fluid retention and swollen feet
-Allergic reactions, including swollen lips, rashes or hives
-Bruising or bleeding, as these drugs reduce your blood's ability to clot
-Dizziness, trouble concentrating or balance problems
In addition, a patient's risk of heart attack, high blood pressure or stroke may be raised by taking NSAIDs, according to a report from Healthline.com.
Not everyone responds to NSAIDs or anti-inflammatory drugs the same. As always, consult with your doctor before making any major changes to your routine, and visit the website Drugs.com for more information on potential side effects and dosages.
A Natural Approach to Battling Chronic Inflammation
Taking a natural approach to battling chronic inflammation requires a holistic, science-based overview of what is possible and the implementation of several diet and lifestyle-related changes and additions.
While oftentimes simple in origin, researchers have only just begun to unravel the complex puzzle of inflammation and how it relates to conditions including asthma in children and metabolic dysregulation, among many others.
Reducing inflammation begins with the addition of essential nutrients to your diet.
The following are essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients to fight inflammation naturally
Vitamin D is an excellent vitamin for most to begin taking.
This key vitamin helps to regulate the production of inflammatory cytokines and immune cells, and it also helps to lower cholesterol by reducing inflammation.
Magnesium is also crucial, as studies have shown it may reduce C-Reactive proteins (CRPs) in the body and other markers of inflammation. Adding more magnesium to your diet relaxes your mind and body, aiding your ability to partake in activities that produce a healthy stress response and reduce inflammation.
Calcium is another important mineral to focus on.
Low levels of calcium have been associated with increased inflammation. Calcium also has a symbiotic relationship with magnesium, so be sure to get plenty of both in your diet.
Potassium lowers blood pressure, regulates your heart's rhythms, and reduces the risk of heart-related issues.
Zinc is another key mineral that reduces total cholesterol along with the risk of atherosclerosis and related morbidity and mortality.
Folic acid can help reduce the risk of stroke, hypertension, and major cardiovascular diseases.
B Vitamins including B1, B2, B5, B6 and B12 may help to reduce nervousness by improving the health of nerve endings in the body, while also increasing energy levels in those who take them.
Biotin is another nutrient that combats inflammation by decreasing the production of inflammatory cytokines and helping your body heal from allergic inflammation.
Niacin helps improve circulation, and recent data shows that it may serve as an anti-inflammatory agent as well. It has long been used to flush toxins from the body and works to increase the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL “bad” cholesterol from your system.
Probiotics can also aid digestion, in turn aiding the elimination of inflammatory compounds that may become stuck during the digestive process.
Probiotics such as bacillus coagulans can also help to lower triglyceride, cholesterol, LDL (“bad cholesterol”), and other unhealthy markers that may increase the risk of inflammation.
Having enough iron is also paramount for maintaining a state of homeostasis within the bloodstream and avoiding anemia. By eating enough iron-rich foods, you will reduce high cholesterol levels while ensuring that inflammation from conditions related to iron deficiency is kept at bay.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include eggs, certain types of fish like wild-caught salmon, and nuts and seeds.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation markers while supporting brain function. Most people's health is suffering due to inflammation from too many omega-6 fatty acids. Getting more omega-3s helps balance things out.
Found in berries, green tea, and olive oil among other foods, polyphenols are antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the body.
Soluble fiber typically comes from foods like oats, barley, and legumes such as beans and peas.
Found in whole grains, nuts and vegetables, insoluble fiber is also commonly taken in supplement form. It supports bowel and weight management.
This type of fiber stimulates good bacteria in the gut. It can be found in foods such as onions, apples, and bananas.
Getting the proper mix of all types of fiber will aid in your body's elimination process, reducing inflammation along the way.
Most people do not benefit from fiber supplements, however, which highlights the importance of getting enough fiber-rich whole foods in your dietary routine.
Additional Considerations for Reducing Inflammation
Cholesterol levels are important to watch when it comes to reducing inflammation, in large part because too much cholesterol build-up in your arteries can cause an inflammatory response.
Cholesterol also works to control acute inflammation in the body, so be sure to have your levels checked with your physician when in doubt.
Healthy blood sugar levels are also important to maintain to avoid inflammation.
Researchers have discovered that people with Type II diabetes generally have higher levels of inflammation. As the body becomes less sensitive to insulin in diabetes or pre-diabetes, insulin resistance increases inflammation.
Foods That Fight Inflammation as Part of a Healthy Routine
There are many other foods that fight inflammation from the root up, including those found in Healright Daily Micronutrient Bars.
Among them are blueberries and wild blueberries, which contain a type of antioxidant called flavonoids known for fighting inflammation and protecting cells from free radical damage.
Dark chocolate also contains flavonoids and has anti-inflammatory effects. Dark chocolate helps keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy, and can improve vascular function in just two weeks.
Walnut Butter as it is another anti-inflammatory food. This is likely because walnuts contain good unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folate, vitamin E, and plant sterols. Although they are also high in calories, they don't seem to contribute to weight gain.
Red grape juice taken daily can reduce the level of biomarkers for inflammation and tissue damage, especially in aged men with subject memory impairment, according to a 2021 study in the journal BMC Nutrition.
In addition to the inflammation reducing foods mentioned above, the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, omega-3s, polyphenols, and fibers (soluble, insoluble, and fermentable) listed in this article can all be found in Healright's Daily Micronutrient Bars.
Healright spent 15 years of research and development along with 15 human trials to create a breakthrough nutritional product, which can be purchased here.
Clinical studies on Healright Daily Micronutrient Bars found a positive impact on health markers for inflammation, along with three key areas of health including heart health, insulin and glucose, and obesity.
Visit our shop here to learn more about the science of Healright, or to experience our foundational anti-inflammation plan for yourself.