Inflammation is a natural process in which your white blood cells and the chemicals they produce work to protect your body from foreign organisms, such as viruses and bacteria. However, inflammation sometimes occurs when there is no invader to fight off when infected with certain autoimmune diseases. When the immune system triggers an inflammatory response at an inappropriate time, it can cause damage to the body’s own tissues. Your body responds to inflammation as if healthy tissues are a threat.
Inflammation is associated with many different diseases and conditions, including several types of arthritis. Symptoms of inflammation may include joint pain or stiffness, redness or swelling, or loss of normal joint function. Inflammation can also cause issues such as fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle stiffness, and loss of appetite.
When inflammation occurs, your white blood cells release chemicals into the blood or tissues that work to protect your body from foreign substances. These chemicals increase the flow of blood to the injury or infection site, often resulting in warmth and redness. They can also cause fluid to leak into the tissues, which is what causes swelling. The overall process sometimes stimulates nerves, ultimately leading to pain.
Common Causes of Inflammation
Inflammation may be acute or chronic. Acute inflammation begins suddenly and can become severe in just a short period. Some examples of things that can cause acute inflammation include scratches or cuts on the skin, appendicitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis, dermatitis, and infected ingrown toenails.
Chronic inflammation is more long-term and can last for a few months or, in some cases, many years. Inflammation can become chronic if one of the underlying aforementioned causes is not removed. In some cases they are the result of an autoimmune disorder that attacks healthy tissue. Some conditions that can potentially lead someone to chronic inflammation include asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontitis, chronic peptic ulcer, or active hepatitis.
Best Supplements for Inflammation
Regardless of the type or cause of your inflammation, there are several things you can do to help manage the symptoms. Consider eating a healthy diet, getting adequate exercise, sleeping well, and managing stress to improve the severity of your symptoms. There are also many supplements on the market believed to help reduce inflammation and its negative effects. Here are some of the best.
Fish Oil or Green-Lipped Mussel Oil
Fish oil supplements are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to maintaining optimal overall health. Omega-3s can help reduce the inflammation associated with a variety of conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. However, if you want to take your supplement’s protective factor up a level, you may want to switch from fish oil to green-lipped mussel oil (GLX3). GLX3 contains all known omega-3s, which may explain why the Maori people who frequently eat green-lipped mussels do not develop diabetes, heart disease, or other modern inflammatory diseases.
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found in fruits with purple skin, such as grapes and blueberries, as well as red wine and peanuts. It has many positive health effects, such as lowering blood pressure and increasing insulin sensitivity. It appears that resveratrol may also reduce inflammation by suppressing the generation of free radicals – unstable molecules that damage healthy cells.
Your body naturally makes a substance known as alpha-lipoic acid, which plays a key role in energy production and metabolism. It also acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect your cells from free radical damage and restore levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, and other antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid may also reduce inflammation, such as that associated with heart disease, liver disease, and insulin resistance. An alpha-lipoic acid supplement makes a great accompaniment to green-lipped mussel oil (GLX3) and other anti-inflammatory measures.
Anti-Inflammatory Spices and Foods
Many foods can help to decrease inflammation. When eaten regularly, these foods may help reduce chronic inflammation, as well as the pain it can cause. The same omega-3 fatty acids found in green-lipped mussel oil (GLX3) are also present in foods such as fish, nuts, chocolate, fruits, vegetables, and coffee. Research related to how these foods reduce inflammation is ongoing but highly promising. A simple way to introduce anti-inflammatory foods into your daily diet is to use more spices.
There are many natural spices believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, such as:
Ginger is a great supplement for inflammation. This root is commonly ground into a powder and added to both savory and sweet dishes. Ginger contains two components thought to reduce inflammation: gingerol and zingerone. It appears to reduce inflammation as well as muscle soreness and pain after strenuous exercise.
Turmeric is a bold yellow spice often used in Indian cuisine that’s widely available in regular grocery stores. It has been used for centuries to address issues such as colds, liver disease, wounds, and infections.
Cinnamon is a popular favorite staple from the spice rack, but it’s more than just a delicious flavoring for baked goods. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve swelling and pain.
A little garlic can go a long way when it comes to easing the symptoms of arthritis caused by inflammation. Use it in almost any dish for great flavor and health benefits. Don’t like the strong flavor? Roast a whole head for a milder, sweeter taste.
ClovesCloves not only work well in baked goods, savory soups, and hot drinks, but they may also have anti-inflammatory properties. This spice has been used for years to treat coughs, nausea, and inflammation of the throat and mouth.
Few spices are as easy to incorporate into your daily diet as black pepper. This extremely versatile seasoning also boasts impressive anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial benefits as well.
If you don’t mind turning up the heat, cayenne (along with many other hot peppers) has long been lauded for its health benefits. It’s also good for your digestion, so add a dash or two to your next meal.
Spirulina is a form of blue-green algae that’s also an important antioxidant. This supplement may reduce inflammation and help strengthen the immune system as well. In addition to these benefits, spirulina may help increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone that helps regulate fat metabolism and blood sugar levels. At recommended doses, spirulina has almost no known side effects.
Being Smart about Supplements
If you would like to try any of these supplements to address acute or chronic inflammation and any related symptoms, such as pain, then it’s important to be smart about what you take and how you take it. Be sure to buy your supplements from a reputable manufacturer and follow the dosage instructions carefully. As always, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor first to ensure that the supplement you want to try is safe for you – especially if you take medications or have a medical condition.
Whole, natural foods are the best source of anti-inflammatory nutrients. However, in the case of chronic or excessive inflammation, supplements such as green-lipped mussel oil (GLX3) can help restore your body to a healthy balance and minimize inflammation and pain.
Inflammation is a natural response to infection or injury and can be protective and beneficial. However, if you are experiencing pain or other symptoms caused by chronic inflammation, don’t hesitate to try one of the many effective supplements on the market today.
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