When you get a cut, suffer a muscle sprain, are injured, or incur a virus, the process of inflammation begins to take place in order for the body to heal itself. Your body responds by increasing blood flow while sending fluids to the injured or infected area. Increased blood flow allows oxygen and nutrients to get to the wounded area while the fluids restore tissue or repair cellular damage.
Inflammation can be both Acute and Chronic. Acute inflammation, like a cut, sore throat, sore muscles or sinus usually go away after a short period of time. Chronic inflammation occurs when the body is unable to eliminate the source of inflammation and remains in an inflammatory state. This can eventually lead to chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Taking supplements for inflammation can support rather than suppress the healing process.
Foods high in sugar, highly processed carbohydrates, and high in Omega-6 fats are a big contributor to inflammation. When extra sugar molecules attach to proteins, they injure the blood vessel wall. When we make it a habit to eat this way, it causes the body to respond continuously with inflammation in its attempt to heal. Additionally, when we consume too much Omega-6 oil, our cells produce cytokines that directly cause inflammation. When our blood vessels are inflamed, cholesterol becomes trapped. This cycle, of course, leads to a host of chronic diseases.
Another major source of inflammation is free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules in our bodies that are missing an electron. While free radicals are always present in our bodies, physical, environmental and emotional stress can cause overproduction or an imbalance in our bodies. They attack and damage neighboring molecules in an effort to “steal” an electron to make themselves whole. Once they become whole, they stabilize, and the cells they “stole” from becoming free radicals, creating a chain reaction. This activity damages our cells. Each damaged cell can no longer take in nutrients or expel waste efficiently, and prematurely die.
Antioxidants are compounds that help protect our cells from free radical damage and other sources of inflammation. Antioxidants have the power to capture and destroy free radicals, help our cells to function optimally. Since there are many different kinds of free radicals in our body, we need different sources of supplements for inflammation from vegetables, fruits, botanicals, and fish to combat inflammation. You can reverse inflammation by eating whole foods and fresh unprocessed food. You can find plenty of antioxidant power in the produce section of your grocery store: with tart cherries, blueberries, broccoli, kale, peppers, cabbage, spinach, nuts and seeds, avocados, and sweet potatoes to name a few. If you prefer to take supplements for inflammation, here are some powerhouses that the body can use:
• Omega-3 has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve the healing of blood vessels after injury. Omega 3 supplements can be found in the form of fish or krill oil capsules, chia or flax seeds, and walnuts.
• Rice Bran is loaded with naturally occurring antioxidants besides being the most nutritionally complete source of food on the planet. Research shows rice bran has positive effects on stabilizing blood glucose levels as well.
• Moringa Olifera is known as the tree of life. Besides being a good source of nutrition, research is showing promising results in its ability to heal the body. It has shown anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer, and cardiovascular benefits as well.
• Gotu Kola supports the generation of skin cells by strengthening the skin, boosting antioxidants in wounds, and increasing blood supply to the area.
• Ashwagandha can be found in tea form and supports healthy endocrine, cardiopulmonary, and the central nervous system.
• Green Tea is a powerful antioxidant known to enhance the cardiovascular system. Tests have shown that the catechins in green tea inhibit the formation and growth of tumors and lower cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol.
• Turmeric is known to foster healthy cardiovascular, immune, and digestive systems. Many of the antioxidant benefits come from curcuminoids. These have shown promising results in combating the most reactive of all oxidants, the hydroxyl radical. Also an adaptogenic herb, turmeric helps support your body against environmental and physical stress.
• Grape seed is known to support cardiovascular and gastric systems, eyes, skin, and brain.
• Goji berry, while known for immune-enhancing properties, is one of the most nutritionally rich berries on earth. It is a complete protein source, containing 19 amino acids, 21 trace minerals, and B and E vitamins. Goji berries are the only food source known to stimulate the natural production of Human Growth Hormone. HGH has been linked to anti-aging.
• Acai berry contains the highest known values of antioxidants in the world. They promote healthy cholesterol, have shown promising results in fighting cancer, boosting the immune system, and is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
• Noni fruit supports the elasticity of the skin, cellular regeneration, fights free radicals and infection, and supports immune function by stimulating the production of white blood cells. Noni tea is a great way to ingest this fruit.
• Aloe Vera is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory especially good for the immune and digestive systems. The polysaccharides in aloe, lubricate the joints, brain, nervous system, and the skin. They also have a calming effect on digestion. Tests on rats show that aloe vera inhibits arthritis, edema, and inflammation.
Many of these antioxidants can be found in tea, whole food concentrates, and supplements for inflammation. You can either drink the tea or add the whole food concentrate to prepared foods or drinks. Finally, be careful of pasteurized products as it destroys or diminishes much of the beneficial nutrients that we have been discussing.
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