We have arrived to the 3rd and final step of my Inflammation Controlling Plan. Once you’re filling your plate and body with anti-inflammatory foods and you’ve identified and removed any offending foods, then we can start adding in some targeted boosters. Beyond the typical over-the-counter anti-inflammatories available to you (think advil, ibuprofen, benadryl, hydrocortisone, etc) there are a plethora of culinary and natural remedies that work synergistically to rid your body of inflammation for good; not just cover up the symptoms. I have had incredible success working with the following boosters as part of a holistic protocol. This is probably the most important part. In order for true healing and recovery to happen you must approach inflammation holistically. All the pieces work together to get to the root of the problem and literally heal inflammation from the inside out.
The first set of boosters I pull in are always spices. I’ve spoken before about the amazing benefits of spices and why I think they are the most underused health ally we have available to us. So many cultures use spices on a regular basis within their traditional cuisines. There is wisdom in this and unfortunately we have moved away from that in the typical western diet. So my challenge to you is to bring them back into your world; through your cooking, your tea, your medicine. My favorite anti-inflammatory spices include Turmeric, Ginger, Chili Pepper/Cayenne, and Cinnamon. All four of these healing remedies have actual research behind them supporting their ability to lower inflammation and in the case of chili pepper and cayenne actually block pain receptors. As a first step, start including all four of these spices within your diet. Here are some of my favorite ways to use these spices:
Add fresh or ground ginger, turmeric, &/or ground cinnamon to your daily smoothie.
Add ginger, turmeric, or cayenne to your morning lemon water.
Add ground turmeric or ground chili pepper or cayenne to scrambled eggs, omelettes, or frittatas.
Add turmeric, ginger, or chili/cayenne to veggies — I especially like to sautee my veggies in coconut oil and curry but you can also add them to your roasted veggies and stir-fries.
Add all 4 to soups and stews — remember chili powder is the primary spice in chili (yum!)
Use a slice of fresh ginger root in your hot tea.
Sprinkle ground cinnamon on your hot cereal or yogurt.
End your day with a warm spice milk (combine ⅛ tsp each ground turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon with 1 cup of warm milk or milk alternative).
Another great way to take advantage of the pain-stopping properties of chili pepper and cayenne is as a topical cream. Capsaicin cream can be used directly on painful or achy areas to reduce inflammation and decrease pain.
Herbs also have anti-inflammatory properties. Ideally a combination of spices and herbs every day will give you the most benefit but for those of you who don’t like spices, herbs can be just as powerful. My favorite anti-inflammatory herbs include Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Oregano. Dried or fresh these are going to help reduce inflammation in your body. In the summertime, when herbs are in their abundance, include more fresh herbs. Here are my favorite ways to add more herbs:
Add a mix of fresh herbs to your salads.
Make a bundle of the 4 herbs listed and cook with your roast chicken.
Add to soups and stews — a particularly favorite combination of mine is sage and butternut squash soup (yum!)
Sprinkle on top of veggies; I especially like rosemary on my roasted veggies
Make a hot tea with any of the above.
Add fresh herbs to your smoothies.
In addition to culinary approaches for adding anti-inflammatory boosters, many people will also benefit from adding anti-inflammatory supplements. Of course there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation but these would be the top 3 supplements I go to if someone needs support beyond what they can get through their diet.
The anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s are vast and are definitely a staple in most of my protocols. As always the goal is first to add more omega-3 rich food in the diet on a regular basis and if needed a supplement is added in. I prefer using fish oil as my omega-3 supplement and for most people the recommended dose is going to be between 1000-2000 mg per day. A good vegan alternative to fish oil is algae oil.
Boswellia serrata is a plant that is most known for its byproduct, frankincense oil. It is native to India and has been found to have strong anti-inflammatory and potentially anti-cancer benefits. It has also been found to reduce joint and arthritis pain as well as speed up healing from infections and possibly event prevent autoimmune development. Both Boswellia and Turmeric have been found to have complimentary benefits and may be even more powerful when used together. Frankincense oil can be used topically when mixed with a carrier oil, like coconut oil. More commonly I recommend Boswellia as a supplement. I prefer products that contain a standardized extract of 65% or more and I usually recommend starting at about 600 mg per day, gradually increasing until the desired effect is seen.
Bromelain is an enzyme most commonly found in pineapple. It’s part of a class of enzymes known as proteolytic enzymes, which are enzymes that help digest proteins. Bromelain has been used as a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling agent. As an enzyme it can also support healthy digestion and may even help support quicker recovery from injuries or surgery. Like Boswellia, it has also shown anti-cancer benefits. You can get bromelain from your diet if you’re eating pineapple on a regular basis but the highest amounts of bromelain are actually found in the core of the pineapple; the part that most people do not eat. You could juice the core or add it to your smoothie to access the bromelain. Most often I recommend people add a bromelain supplement. To help lower inflammation I recommend taking bromelain away from meals (with meals if you’re using it to help digestion) and to start at a dose of 500 mg per day, gradually increasing as needed.
Take Home Message
I hope over the course of the last few articles that you too agree there’s a lot that can be done to rid your body of chronic inflammation. Between the food you eat, or don’t eat, and the boosters you add in. Build your diet with as many anti-inflammatory foods and boosters, like spices and herbs, as possible. That alone may be enough to resolve your symptoms. If needed, you can add in supplements like fish oil, boswellia, or bromelain. Give it some time and stick with it. Your body won’t heal overnight but it will over time. If you feel like you’re getting stuck or need some extra guidance or personalization of your program, then please reach out to me. This is my specialty. It’s what I’m good at. I have helped many others rid their body of inflammation and the uncomfortable symptoms resulting from it. I can help you too! Sign-up for a FREE 15-min Consult and let’s see if working together could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Also for more articles like this one delivered straight to your Inbox every week, Join The Tribe. (this article was first published on 7/29/17)