Seven Weapons that Fight Inflammation
If you’ve read our sheet Inflammation: The Quiet Danger then you’re already up to speed on how your body’s defences can sometimes work in an unhelpful way… Here, we look at specific ways that you can fight the unhelpful effects of inflammation. If you’d like to check out the original, though, here it is:
Inflammation – The Quiet Danger
Aloe Vera Juice
This is something of a recent discovery for us. Perhaps we should’ve caught onto it more quickly given how often we reach for the aloe vera when injured: there aren’t many domestic bruises, burns and bites that don’t benefit from a quick daubing! The past couple of years saw something of an uptake in people drinking aloe vera juice though…
Aloe vera juice’s benefits are varied. It’s said to aid digestion, lower blood sugar & cholesterol, and boost the immune system. It’s here, of course, that there seems to be a strong relationship with fighting inflammation. The only downside appears to be the price: aloe vera juice is available from high-street health shops but at an eye-watering £12 per litre… To be fair, though, a litre is enough for over a month’s daily serving.
Cheesy though it might have been, there was a time when affectionately calling someone "sugar" might have been seen as a compliment… Nowadays it would seem synonymous with calling them the Devil! Too much of the wrong kind of sugar is bad for you, it’s as simple as that… And in relation to inflammation, the verdict on sugar is highly damning. That’s because your body identifies processed sugars as a threat, and sends its immune response ‘army’ to do battle where no battle is really needed! So one of the most effective weapons in fighting inflammation is to reduce your sugar intake… Find out more about how your body reacts with sugar here:
Sugar: the new tobacco?
Why does sugar make us fat?
Don’t Medicate – Meditate!
Recent studies show that Mindfulness Meditation may reduce inflammation by impacting changes in the brain’s functional connectivity. While the study was a very, very small one it nevertheless suggests that meditation has more effect in helping the brain manage stress than does simple relaxation. And since stress is a major trigger for inflammation it’s easy to see why meditation makes our list of weapons that fight it! You can learn more about meditation here:
We sometimes liken the immune system to a well-intentioned army. It charges in to do battle on any number of invading bodies… And as you may know, many of those bodies enter through your mouth. So whether you realise it or not, there’s a LOT of bacteria slugging away for dominance inside your mouth! This is why studies show connections between bad oral hygiene and a whole range of serious conditions. By now it probably won’t surprise you to hear that many of those conditions relate to inflammation. Find out how you can look after your teeth, gums, immune system and more in these two sheets:
Clean Your Teeth. Save Your Life? – Part One
Clean Your Teeth. Save Your Life? – Part Two
Any kind of injury or stress can adversely affect your body… And as we often say, continually getting a bad night’s sleep is a surefire way to stress yourself mentally and physically. Fighting inflammation sits alongside the many benefits of sleeping well that we discuss in these issues of Bob’s Bones:
Secrets of a Great Night’s Sleep
How Dreaming Impacts Health
How Napping Helps Health
As regular readers know, things that crop up briefly in one Info Sheet may very well become the main subject in another. Ginger is one such thing: it almost certainly has enough benefits to warrant its own issue of Bob’s Bones. Ginger appears to aid pain relief, fight cancer, prevent viruses, improve digestion, reduce bloating and relieve stomach upsets, nausea and vomiting…
Understandably, then, ginger tea makes it to our list of Secret Weapons that Fight Inflammation! While we spoke briefly about The Mediterranean Diet in our first Inflammation Info Sheet – Inflammation – The quiet danger – we know that this requires a significant lifestyle change. Ginger tea is a doddle, though: pop to the supermarket, pick up a packet and off you go! Well – not literally; you should pay for it first, obviously.
Where does the white go when snow melts? And why doesn’t the white in your ice cream go there? We don’t really know! What we do know is that the yellow in curries often comes from the spice turmeric – and turmeric helps fight inflammation…
Although it’s a close relative of the spice ginger, turmeric contains curcumin which is of significant interest to those studying inflammation. You can find turmeric supplements in health shops; add the spice to your food, or add it to a bedtime drink:
Thoroughly warm a mug of milk, then add a teaspoon of runny honey. Stir well before adding a few threads of saffron, a dusting of nutmeg and a generous pinch of turmeric. This drink is not only surprisingly tasty but also quite sleep inducing! Try it just before bed. Be careful to avoid turmeric, though, when pregnant, or if you have digestive issues, gallstones or bile duct dysfunction. Always check the affects of lifestyle adjustments with your GP before undertaking changes.
Back in Shape cannot accept responsibility for the consequences of any action or inaction based on its Newsletter or Info Sheets. If you have any doubts or concerns over dental, medical and health issues, our best advice is always to visit your dentist or GP, or call NHS Direct on 111 to discuss your health.