Recently, a friend of ours came to us with debilitating knee pain due to inflammation. In addition to massage, we suggested that she try using food as a way to further reduce inflammation, rather than relying on potentially damaging NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a function of the body’s immune response, a natural and necessary reaction that happens inside the body to initiate the healing process following an injury. Inflammation can be triggered by a variety of injuries including physical trauma from overuse of muscles, soccer ball to the face, to burns, infections, cuts, and allergies to name a handful.
As a result of white blood cells protecting us from foreign organisms, damaged cells, pathogens and other irritants, the injured area of the body swells, becomes red, feels tender, and hot to the touch.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine lists the following symptoms as signs of possible inflammation:
- Loss of function
The Danger of NSAIDS
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently been coming down harder on NSAIDS because of their many dangerous side effects including gastrointestinal bleeding, stomach acid, reduction of the stomach’s normal protective mucus layer, worsened high blood pressure, and even kidney damage in some people. That’s why it more important than ever to use the planet’s natural resources to heal the body rather than chemicals produced in the laboratory.
- Turmeric whether taken in capsules or used as a spice, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Olive oil produces oleocanthal,which helps with inflammation.
- Omega 3 oils (like those found in sardines) are good for the same thing.
- Broccoli has sulforaphane which stops inflammation and blocks enzymes that can lead to joint destruction.
- Ginger also contains a chemical that is amazing for inflammation (and nausea) and it is easy to cook with.
- Cinnamon decreases the release of arachidonic acid which helps lessen inflammation.
- Garlic this cancer fighter has also long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Tart cherries are rich in phenolic and anthocyanin and they are known to reduce inflammation considerably. According to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), which did a great study on this, tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.”
- Cayenne contains capsaicinoids, a great anti-inflammatory, and is also used as a digestive aid and to help with arthritis and headaches.
- Black Pepper has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is less spicy than cayenne.
- Clovehas been used to treat upset stomach, nausea and inflammation of the mouth and throat – some research is also showing that it may lessen inflammation.
- Pineapple contains the anti-inflammatory bromelain in its juice and stem and of course has the added bonus of being sweet and delicious!
- Raw apple cider vinegar used in water, 2 or 3 times a day, breaks down uric acid crystal in your joints improving flexibility and reducing inflammation.
Here at BodyQuirks, we’re always investigating natural ways to heal the body and help you to feel your best. If you want to learn about how massage, Whole Body Vibration (WBV), far infrared sauna treatment, and our Japanese footbath can help you, give us a call at (503) 233-9030.