Inflammation is a painful part of living with arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but did you know your regular food choices can have immediate and positive effects on your body?
Although there is no specific diet to reduce inflammation, you may feel better including the following foods in your diet as they are scientifically proven to reduce inflammation, and therefore can help some individuals living with MS and Arthritis.
#1 Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish is a fantastic anti-inflammatory food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are believed to help to block the body’s inflammatory response.
Many MS doctors and scientists have become particularly interested in the potential benefits of taking omega-3 to slow down the progression of MS.
However, make sure you regulate the amounts of fish you include in your diet, because although omega-3 has many great benefits, too much omega-6 fatty acids can actually lead to inflammation.
If Mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna aren’t your cup of tea, omega-3 is actually found in dark green leafy vegetables, walnuts, chia seeds and almonds. They contain varying amounts of omega-3, but are a great alternative to fish and still provide a great source of nutrients for the body.
Antioxidants are a compound known to destroy damaging free radicals in your body, as well as reduce inflammation. Recent studies have shown promising results like including a high number of antioxidants in your diet can actually help to reduce inflammation and joint pain.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals so they can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Some studies even suggest that inflammation is more common in a meat-heavy diet rather than a plant-based diet. So, substituting a burger for a delicious portion of fresh fruit and veggies won’t only provide you with your daily vital vitamins and minerals, but can also reduce inflammation.
Some studies have found that people who include high fiber foods in their diets have lower C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood. As CRP is a marker of inflammation that has been linked to diseases such as arthritis, what better reason could there be to include more soluble fiber in your diet?
Soluble fiber creates a gel with fatty acids, this helps to reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. Simply increasing your daily consumption of soluble fibers such as wholegrains, beans and nuts are a great way to reduce inflammation by lowering your body weight. However, it is best advised to gradually increase these foods into your diet and drink plenty of water to avoid gas and bloating.
Don’t forget the importance of spice! Some spices might seem to increase inflammation but some spices can actually reduce inflammation and help to reduce the pain and swelling in your joints.
Turmeric contains the compound curcumin that has anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is the active chemical in turmeric root, it blocks inflammatory enzymes and cytokines in two different inflammatory pathways reducing joint pain and swelling. Adding turmeric to your diet can be as easy as sprinkling it over roasted vegetables or creating a tea with other great inflammatory spices such as ginger and cinnamon.
Ginger contains gingerol and shogaol chemicals that block inflammation pathways in the body. Cinnamon contains cinnamic acid and cinnamaldehyde which both have antioxidant properties. Using these spices within other foods or drinks, such as tea, may offer a cumulative anti-inflammatory effect over the course of your day.
You will certainly see the anti-inflammatory benefits of including spices in your diet if you consume a number of them regularly. But, do not limit yourself to these three spices there are in fact many others that are proven to reduce inflammation in the body.
Remember, everyone is different. Some individuals may see great benefits from these anti-inflammatory foods than others. But it is important to find a balanced diet that is best suited to you. Please do let us know how you get on with any of our recommendations, or if you have any great tips of your own, in the comments below.