Managing Autoimmune Flare-Ups with Natural Anti-Inflammatories
When you spend every day in pain, it can be hard to imagine that something as seemingly insignificant as diet could help. But there are certain compounds found in food, that have been scientifically proven to act as anti-inflammatories. This article looks at the most important anti-inflammatory foods that you should include in your diet.
Natural anti-inflammatories in food
Autoimmune diseases refer to a broad spectrum of over 80 illnesses, that are often difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat and manage. Autoimmunity includes disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and many more. Although all of these diseases are different, they all have one trait in common; they involve the body’s own immune system attacking itself and causing chronic inflammation.
People suffering from autoimmune disorders experience flare-ups, which are periods of intense inflammation that make the symptoms of the disease become much worse. These flare-ups may be triggered by a variety of different factors, depending on the type of autoimmune disease; the trigger is often unknown.
Certain compounds in food have been scientifically shown to be able to mediate and dampen down inflammation in the body. They are vital to include in the diet of anyone who suffers from autoimmune problems. The effect of natural anti-inflammatories in food are not as rapid or obvious as pharmaceutical medications, however they act constantly in the background, helping the body to calm and heal. Natural anti-inflammatories have long been used in ancient cultures, but scientific studies are now providing us with information that tells us how they work in the body.
Anti-inflammatory effects of ginger
Ginger contains a number of anti-inflammatory compounds, including gingerol and shogaol. The methods of action are complex, but studies show that they suppress pro-inflammatory pathways in the body and down-regulate inflammatory gene expression1. Ginger extract has also been shown to reduce the expression of a certain type of protein (NFκB) that is linked to inflammatory diseases such as cancer, myocardial infarction, diabetes, asthma arthritis Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis2.
Anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric
Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. Studies have shown that curcumin inhibits a variety of molecules involved in inflammation including leukotrienes, thromboxane, prostaglandins, interleukin-12 and tumor necrosis factor3. The bioavailability of curcumin in the gut is poor, but if it is consumed with black pepper, uptake is increased by approximately 2000%.
Other natural anti-inflammatory foods
Additional anti-inflammatory foods include garlic4, tomatoes5, salmon6 and olive oil7.
Anti-inflammatory foods summary
If you suffer from any autoimmune disease, incorporating natural anti-inflammatory foods into the diet can help to reduce systemic inflammation and mediate flare-ups. Ginger and turmeric should be included in the diet every day. This can be achieved by drinking a daily Turmeric Smoothie, making a tea by steeping fresh ginger root and turmeric in boiling water, or adding the ingredients into your daily recipes. Additional anti-inflammatory foods, such as olive oil, salmon, tomatoes and garlic, should be included as often as possible.
Related reading: BLOG – Fighting Autoimmunity – Medical vs Holistic Approaches
Medical disclaimer: This information in this article is intended as supporting information only and should never replace the treatment advised by your doctor. If you have an autoimmune disease then you must discuss any dietary changes with a medical professional. The information provided by The Green Apple Club is not medical advice and should never be used as such.