How do you reduce inflammation? Pop an Ibuprofen? Ice pack? ....what about really long term inflammation or if you have an ongoing condition such as arthritis? Are there natural ways to reduce inflammation in the body, that maybe able to aid recovery, or improve or relieve symptoms associated with musculoskeletal pain?
Below I have outlined the top nutrients to get that inflammation down naturally!
Curcumin has been demonstrated to have a therapeutic potential for various chronic inflammatory diseases especially due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Curcumin has been shown to actually prevent the initiation of inflammation, before it is even able to begin.
*Via the Nuclear factor Kappa-B pathway- NF-kB
//The best source of Curcumin is Tumeric - great in curries, or sipping those Turmuric lattes, or try grating some into your smoothie or put some slices of the root in your lemon and ginger tea!
This contains an enzyme which breaks down certain proteins called Protease. Bromelain has been shown to be helpful in healing injuries, particularly sprains/ strains/ bruising / muscle injuries through reducing inflammation. It's shown to help reduce swelling.
//The best source is the cores of Pineapples!
Omega 3's have been shown time and time again to be incredibly anti-inflammatory. In the Western diet we tend to have a lot of Omega 6's, which are very pro-inflammatory, but generally not enough Omega 3's. The ratio of these different Omegas are very important to inflammation, so it is important to increase our consumption of Omega 3's, especially as our body doesn't make them and we need to ingest them via food or supplements. Omega 3's are made from long chains called EPA and DHA. It is considered better for an Omega 3 supplement to have a 3:2 ratio of EPA to DHA.
These oils also have been found to help reduce further wear and tear in our spinal discs and the cartilage in our joints. Other great benefits of Omega 3 oils are they are great for heart, blood pressure, skin, brain, maintaining a healthy weight and happiness!
//The best source is oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, fish oils supplements and krill oil (shown to be absorbed better than other fish oils). Really it's best to eat oily fish 3-4 times per week!
*The vegetarian alternative is flaxseeds or oils, although, if eating flaxseeds, be sure to grind them up first. It is also worth noting Omega 3 chains in flaxseeds need to be changed into EPA and DHA chains first in the body, so they may not be quite so available for the body.
*If starting to supplement, do check with your GP first, especially if you are on blood thinners!
Other ways to reduce inflammation is to reduce pro-inflammatory items, such as alcohol and sugar. I have been asked many times, why a patient's back is worse after drinking the night before. Even if they haven't been dancing or standing. The reason is because alcohol is really quite pro-inflammatory. Stress is also shown to be very pro-inflammatory. I often recommend an App called Bhuddify to many patients who find stress is getting on top of them. It's designed for busy people, with small 7 minute mindfulness exercises designed for you to do on the go. Such as when you are on the tube, on the computer, on your work break or about to go to sleep, there are even mindfulness exercises for pain! I love to use this App on the tube to work!
Either way there are a myriad of different ways of improving your musculoskeletal health, but we definitely recommend some Tumeric, Pineapples, Fish and Meditation.
....Just maybe not all at the same time, yuk!! ;-)