Sep 8, 2014

Natural Ways to Reduce Inflammation

Many of us have inflammation that may cause pain, limited range of motion and even irritability.  I tend to like more natural selections of curing what may ail me so I have put together a list of valuable information to help do just that.

Some of us may have an injury or arthritis that becomes inflamed and we have to work around it but what about when it is chronic?  Did you know that chronic stress can cause inflammation?  The body has cells that are actually changed when a body is continuously loaded down with stress.  I found an easy ready on what happens to the cells on Huffington Post and I think you will be shocked.
Many of you know that I have had a reoccurring neck injury and the most recent situation has led me to being unable to work out for approximately 6 weeks now.  Most of you know that working out is a part of my daily routine so I am not liking it!  In the meantime I am in a big fat hurry to fix it.

There are some things I have known all along but there are some new things I am learning about inflammation.  We know that stress can cause tension headaches, neck aches and even increase the risks of depression and other heart-related illness.  But I bet you did not know how this happens.  The body reacts to stress by releasing specific chemicals into the blood.  It also sends immune cells to "take care of the problem" so to speak.  When a person experiences a broken bone the body sends cells via blood to the site to repair it and that is why the area swells (the influx of extra cells).  I could really get into depth on this but the shortened version is that inflammation occurs as the body's response to repair damage. It is intended to "fix" things.  Sometimes it gets overwhelmed with all the fixing and needs a little extra help.  Here are some of my top choices to naturally assist the body in reducing inflammation.



1.  Pineapple- Contains bromelain - Bromelain is an enzyme in pineapple that is a wonderful aid in reducing inflammation as well as reducing swelling.  It can be used to reduce inflammation for arthritis patients, helps with sprains, strains and it is also good for digestion.  Pineapple tastes good and it is a great sweet treat.  It is in season so I have been finding some great buys!






2.  Chia Seeds - These little guys improve circulation and reduce inflammation.  They provide a great source of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which is great because the body needs both - not just one or the other.  Additionally, imbalances of the 2 can create problems.  Chia seeds are a great source of fiber- great for digestion and reducing cholesterol.

3.  Omega-3 - Speaking of Omegas, Omega-3 is especially great for reducing inflammation and you can find this in sources such as salmon and, per Web MD, halibut, oysters, sardines and a variety of other oily fish. 

4.  Apples and Cherries contain Quercetin which is found in many plants and is a flavanoid.  Quercetin has many benefits including heart health, circulation and an antioxidant.  I take one every single day for the antioxidant benefits and it is doing double duty since it aids in reducing inflammation.


5.  Garlic and Herbs-  Oh ya, the dreaded stinky breath!  Garlic has Quercetin and you read some of the benefits of that above.  Ginger, cinnamon and capsin pepper (cayenne pepper- I have a post on this one I can share another day) are a couple of my favs but these are just to name a few because there is also rosemary, thyme and oregano.  Interestingly, oregano helps reduce swelling and pain but that's not all.  It also helps with pesky allergies.  Did you know it can be used to treat menstrual cramps and UTIs?  WOW!!  I love Italian food but this gives me all the more reason to load up! {ok- I might be getting a little out of hand here, I should just add more oregano-it was just wishful thinking with all the cheese and deliciousness}

6.  Cruciferous Veggies such as bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and cauliflower.  Did you know cruciferous means part of the cabbage family?  This whole family has phytonutrient benefits which are super foods that boost the immune system.  {insert image of sky rocket here}  Not only are these bad boys great for reducing inflammation but they also deliver fiber, pack nutrients and may reduce the risk of cancer.  Eat up!  I have been using cabbage on my healthy tacos and I insert it into my egg casserole as well as salads and meatloaf. 

7.  Massage- great for circulation, relaxation and reduction of stress.  In the meantime the benefit of reduced inflammation gets mixed up in it.  I wouldn't say my massages are always relaxing because the trigger points get in the way of that but it is a great solution.

8.  Chiropractor/Acupuncture - Sometimes stuff gets out of alignment which blocks the natural flow of our body's system.  Blockages don't always allow aggravated areas to heal properly so getting an adjustment to realign the body helps.  Acupuncture unblocks blockages by targeting specific 'pressure points'.  I am using the term 'pressure points' for today's explanation so that this is an easy read and most people are familiar with that term.  Please note, that is not the actual term used.  For example, many people know that massaging the temples may alleviate a headache the same way firmly pressing the skin between the thumb and pointer finger can accomplish the same.

9.  Ice and/or Heat.  Many times people forget when to use heat and when to use ice.  When in doubt, use ice.  A rule of thumb is to never use heat on an acute injury.  Acute is something that has just occurred.  I have learned the practice of alternating ice with heat.  This is something that can be done after 7-10 days of the initial injury. 

10.  Proper Rest -as the body does the most and the best healing while we sleep.  During the day the body is doing so many things that it cannot dedicate the time it needs to heal.  This does not mean it isn't working on healing during the day, it just means that when you are sleeping you are not doing all the other things life demands such as work, housework, child care, gym, errands, etc.  Thus, while sleeping the body can devote much more time to repair, healing and other necessities.  



11.  Listen to your body!!  If it is telling you it hurts while you are trying to work out or any other activity you are attempting-you should listen.  Of course, if it hurts because you are sore from a bomb work out- that is something different.  I am referring to actual injuries -- listen to your body and know the difference between injury and soreness from working out.





12.  Stretch and sometimes exercise- Stretching is a great way to warm your muscles and keep them loose.  Some exercise is great in reference to rehabilitation such as physical therapy.  If the situation worsens or persist then see a doctor!

13.  Reduce Stress!! - Refer to paragraph 2 on this one :)

A combination of the above tips as well as reducing stress can dramatically help.  Depending on the severity the food part, alone, may not be enough so I am using all of the above! It is working for me and I would love to hear what your thoughts are!

Linking up with:

http://www.blovedboston.com/


The Rachael Way
 

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16 comments:

  1. Nice!

    I love a lot of the foods you mentioned.

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    1. When you like more of them it makes it easier

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  2. Great info! I swear by pineapple and quercitin after tough workouts.

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    1. Have you noticed that if you drink water after you eat pineapple that it leaves a funny taste? Kinda like cantaloupe.

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  3. Oh good, I already eat a lot of those foods and try to get rest when I can! Inflammation and pain sucks! We gotta do what we can to keep it at bay :)

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    1. That is right! I have every intention of pretending I am still 20 so I don't have time for inflammation n crap.

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  4. This is so helpful - definitely sharing with my husband and parents!!

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    1. Definitely share with peeps who need it! I love these options way better than taking pain relievers like aspirin or prescriptions.

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  5. I have issues with my knees so I am sure going to incorporate a few of these.

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    1. You may already know this but for join relief you can also try glucosamine. I use a topical that has eliminated the need for glucosamine all together. I will have to see what it is called.

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  6. i'm a huge supporter of acupuncture. i get a treatment whenever my carpal tunnel acts up (which isn't often). so many great benefits of acupuncture!!

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    1. That is very interesting to hear someone used it for carpel tunnel and has had success. Typically, we tend to think that injuries are permanent.

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  7. This is so helpful and interesting. Just another reason to love pineapple!!

    xx 365hangers

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    1. Yes, gotta love pineapple. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  8. Good reminder as I struggle with plantars fasciitis (inflamation) and arthritis......

    Today I ran and iced my foot for the PF and then was cold (happens after workouts) so I ended up in our hot tub.....what a wonderful combination. I feel WONDERFUL! :-) Heat/ice......ahhhhh

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    1. Plantar fasciitis is a bummer because you need your feet for everything!

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