One thing science seems to keep agreeing with is that inflammation is bad for the body.
Then why is it that the body has natural inflammatory responses to things like injury, trauma, even daily wear and tear?
In these cases, inflammation is party of the body’s way of healing.
When we bump our knee on the corner of a table, the response is to swell. We’ve all experienced this; swelling causes pain. Many of us rush to put ice on the wound, and while that is one way of treating the symptoms, we argue that supporting recovery, repair, and regeneration of the body by eliminating an overactive response to trauma and supporting the body’s natural processes may be best.
In two prior articles, we addressed the physiology that’s behind the inflammatory process, and why it’s better to avoid icing injuries as it can slow down the body’s natural responses and safeguards. In short, the body’s inflammation response is both necessary for healing and self-limiting (it protects the wound, but causes pain, discomfort and other symptoms!). That said, if we avoid excess inflammation, then under “normal conditions” our body can heal itself in record time.
We’ll explain below how to get back to “normal conditions,” and what we can do to give enough support to the healing process. Here’s a clue: it’s all about an anti-inflammatory diet plan, and avoiding foods that cause inflammation.
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Why follow an anti-inflammatory diet plan?
If you want to regenerate, repair, and feel better faster, you need to support your body’s optimal natural healing process. There are two main things to focus on:
- Create an anti-inflammatory environment: Avoid foods that cause inflammation like grains, gluten, alcohol, dairy and legumes.
- Harness the body’s natural responses: Instead of hindering the inflammatory healing process, go along with it! NO anti-inflammatories, no Ibuprofen, no ice.
So how can you support the body functioning it’s best to do what it’s evolved to do and heal that sore/broken/torn up ankle/shoulder/leg? For one, eat nutrients that will support the body doing its work. We’ve pointed out some of your best first-responses to injury to support healing below. Bear in mind that our ancestors didn’t have the luxury of resting for three weeks to get over a sprain! Here are a few rules to follow and foods to eat that will help rebuild your tissues and reach 100% recovery in the quickest and most effective way.
Foods that reduce inflammation
- First, include foods that produce lipoxins and resolvins to kick-start and resolve the inflammatory process. These substances are made from polyunsaturated fatty acids, and these foods are rich in them:
- Oily fish (sardines, anchovies, tuna)
- Good quality meat (grass fed, for example, or organic)
- Seal the deal with good measure by taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. One gram of EPA and one of DHA per day should be enough.
- Extend the time for which the fatty acids you’re eating above are effective. We know that the reaction ‘acetilization’ increases their activity–we can lifehack forcing our own acetilization by eating in combination with the fatty acids:
- Willow bark (or a daily dose of less than 80 mg of aspirin)
- Organic cilantro (coriander)
- Dandelion greens or blueberries
- Use heat to direct the immune cells towards the wound. This helps the blood vessels around the wound to expand and lets in the cells that regulate the healing process more quickly. As for chemical stimulants, we know that a sufficient amount of Arginine may also be very helpful. Foods that contain Arginine are:
- Meat and seafood
Guidelines for an anti-inflammatory diet plan
Here I’m leaving you with a guide to an anti-inflammatory diet meal plan. It’s based on scientific evidence as much as on our clinical experience. I hope you’ll recommend it tirelessly to all your friends but will be fortunate enough to use as little as possible yourself!
- Two meals a day, max. Lunch and dinner. If you must have breakfast, just eat fruit. Resting the body’s digestive system with mini fasts (less eating) lets the body focus on healing other tissues
- At least one meal a day must consist of protein from oily fish or meat, organic if possible
- Spinach (chlorophyll). Eat it every day, the more the better.
- Cooked carrot and coriander (salicylic acid). Eat it every day, the more the better.
- Black grapes
- Oily fish (sardines, tuna, anchovies)
- Organic meat
- Thyme, rosemary, basil, mint (carvacrol, thymol and p-cymene) ground with olive oil.
- Two onions every day
- Two cloves of garlic every day