Inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to an irritant. The irritant might be a germ, but it could also be a foreign object, such as a splinter in your finger. For example, when a wound swells up, turns red and hurts, it may be a sign of inflammation. It starts when the body is trying to fight against the harmful irritant. It can cause redness, soreness, swelling, and bruising and cause a loss in mobility. In addition, it has different symptoms such as runny nose, nausea, fever, stuffy nose, and headache, depending upon the factor that causes it.
Even though inflammation occurs to defend our body against any harm caused by injuries or foreign material, it may negatively impact the body and lead to harmful diseases. However, we can reduce it by making suitable dietary choices and using supplements.
Types of Inflammation
Depending on the severity levels, there are two types of inflammation. These can be categorised into chronic inflammation and acute inflammation.
1. Acute Inflammation
It is low in severity and results from injuries and illnesses developed due to the involvement of bacteria and viruses. However, it starts showing signs quickly, such as a burning sensation when you’ve got a cut.
Acute means rapid; that is why immune cells pile up immediately at the site of cell injury. It starts the healing process in acute inflammation. In addition, it can last up to several days or more, depending on the factors behind it.
Causes of Acute Inflammation
- Immune reaction
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Blushing [psychological inflammation]
- Loss of mobility
2. Chronic Inflammation
It may result in severe health conditions. An inflammatory response in the body for a prolonged period can damage the healthy cells in the body and the DNA. In addition, it can cause internal scarring and damage to the tissues. .
Inflammatory response occurring for a long time can also trigger areas without inflammation. As a result, it can give rise to diseases in the body. . Chronic inflammation can also lead to autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disorder is a disorder in which immune system attacks the healthy tissues and organs of the body thereby, leading to severe health conditions.
- Acute inflammation
- Exposure to irritants and chemicals
- Alcohol consumption and smoking
- Body pain
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Fluctuations in weight
- Recurrent infections
Four Stages of Inflammation
1. Slight Chronic Inflammation
You may experience symptoms like pain, itchiness, burn, stress, fatigue, etc. These are very mild symptoms that you can cure with little attention to your food and medicine.
2. Moderate Chronic Inflammation
Symptoms may slightly increase in severity. For example, you may experience cramps, recurrent infections, mild allergies like cold and cough, eczema, food intolerance, etc. You may also experience mood swings, nausea, confused/foggy mind. Special care is essential in this stage; you should look over these symptoms and consult a doctor.
3. Severe Chronic Inflammation
As the name suggests, this stage is severe and may become a hazardous disease. If there is no proper care at the earlier stages, one may suffer from severe chronic inflammation. Symptoms include chronic diseases, cancer, depression, anxiety, severe allergies, autoimmune disorder. Therefore, extreme care is essential with proper treatment under the supervision of an experienced doctor.
4. End-stage Inflammation
End-stage inflammation includes last stage cancer, heart failure, severe bone deformities, blindness, prior stage dementia.
Inflammation: Health Risks
Chronic inflammation triggers our immune system. It can also lead to an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the healthy cells in the body and starts damaging them. It also causes DNA damage that can lead to cancer cell development.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Long-time inflammation in the body causes rheumatoid arthritis. The immune response attacks healthy cells rather than attacking the foreign body and causes great harm to the body over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder caused by chronic inflammation that damages the bone and eyes, skin, lungs, and heart.
Excessive inflammation increases swelling in the body and the organs. Chronic inflammation causes damage to the healthy tissues, increasing blood flow, which results in fluid leaking into the tissue.
Inflammation causes fatigue because an inflamed body part requires healing. So the heart pumps more blood to that specific area. High blood flow causes the heart to pump blood faster, resulting in fatigue and tiredness.
5. Cardiovascular Diseases
Inflammation may cause cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery disease. It causes a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which results in blockage. As a result, it restrains healthy blood flow in the body.
Chronic inflammation can drain your memory power and causes severe damage to the brain. It causes vascular and brain ageing because it deteriorates the age-related immune system. It causes a decline in cognitive function and may lead to a mental disorder.
Foods for Reducing Inflammation
Fishes like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna, etc., contain certain acids. These acids help in reducing inflammation. Our body metabolises these fatty acids into resolvins and protectins. These compounds promote inflammation resolution, therefore, reduce it in the body. These properties protect us from inflammation and help reduce heart diseases, kidney diseases, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
According to a study, consuming salmon and supplements containing the same acids and properties can significantly reduce C-reactive protein’s inflammatory markers [CRP].
85-150 grams of fish consumption three to four times a week is recommended to reduce inflammation and heart diseases.
2. Green tea
Green tea is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants content. Finally, a beverage you can sip on without giving any second thought. It is rich in powerful antioxidants like catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate [EGCG]. Studies suggest EGCG is known for its powerful benefits like preventing cell damage and protecting against various diseases. In addition, EGCG prevents the formation of free radicals in the body.
Green tea also contains polyphenols, which help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent cancer. It also contains minerals that impart other health benefits to protect the body against inflammation. Green tea also aids in reducing inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production.
A cup of brewing green tea in the evening or first thing in the morning can show a significant reduction in inflammation.
Turmeric is the most famous Indian spice used in curries, kadhas and homemade antiseptics. It has a yellow-golden colour and provides a lot of medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties.
According to research, turmeric contains curcumin, the most crucial compound that helps in reducing inflammation. In addition, it prevents diseases like arthritis and diabetes etc. Unfortunately, curcumin alone cannot get absorbed fully. However, using piperine like black pepper or long pepper with curcumin can increase its absorption by 2000%.
You should consume curcumin supplements to reap most of its benefits. In addition, you can include turmeric in making curries, a pinch in warm water in the morning, or a pinch in milk at night. Turmeric also aids in digestion and reduces gastric inflammation.
Cinnamon, an extract from the bark of Cinnamomum, is also an anti-inflammatory spice containing substantial medicinal properties. It contains compounds like cinnamic acid, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamate. These compounds help prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, and other heart diseases. In addition, cinnamon is highly rich in antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are two varieties of cinnamon, Ceylon and cassia. Ceylon is usually suitable for regular consumption. That is why this variety of cinnamon is known as the “true” one.
As per one study, cinnamon effectively controls inflammation by inhibiting the inflammatory biomarkers. In addition, cinnamon supplements help in preventing metabolic syndrome. Regular consumption of cinnamon also helps reduce gastric inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.
A pinch of cinnamon powder in milk, honey, or over any dish of your preference can benefit your health. You can also consume cinnamon through a supplement for better absorption of nutrients.
5. Ginger, Garlic, Lemon, and Honey
This mixture of garlic, ginger, lemon, and honey is a potent mix of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Garlic regulates cholesterol, improves blood circulation and controls blood circulation. It also has anticoagulant properties that prevent blood from clotting. In addition, it efficiently reduces inflammation in the body. It also has excellent antiseptic properties that help heal wounds and burns. Furthermore, it has antibiotics that help fight against viruses and filter out toxins from the body.
Ginger is also anti-inflammatory and has other significant properties that help prevent diseases. For example, it helps reduce stress by providing an antidepressant effect on the body. Ginger also helps in stimulating metabolism and has anti-cancer properties.
Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin c and other antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that reduces free radicals from the body and prevents cell damage. In addition, it aids in boosting metabolism and fighting against several viral diseases like flu, cold, and sore throat. It also has antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. Furthermore, vitamin C boosts the immune system and prevents our body from infections and helps fight against several viruses and bacteria.
Honey is prevalent for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. In addition, it contains antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acid. These antioxidants counteract reactive oxygen species in the body, which results in piling up in the cell and causes damage.
Egyptians have been using honey as an ancient antiseptic for centuries, topically to heal wounds. According to one study, honey works as a potent antiseptic in healing partial thickness burns and infected wounds after surgery. It also helps relieve respiratory infections like cough without leaving any side effects. Moreover, it also helps in cell regeneration and has tremendous benefits for the skin. You can also use honey to treat mouth ulcers due to its anti-bacterial properties.
You should take a spoonful of honey in the morning with water or milk. It can provide the body with tremendous benefits. You can mix these four ingredients and consume them in the morning; you can also separately consume them differently. For example, you can put one slice of lemon and ginger in water to form a detox drink; you can also prepare a hot brewing lemon ginger tea topped with a spoon of honey. Consuming garlic with honey also has tremendous benefits for heart health and provides anti-inflammatory properties to the body.
Yoghurt is also anti-inflammatory. It decreases insulin resistance in the body, which helps in reducing the chances of type 2 diabetes. In addition, it contains a significant number of probiotics that help restore the gut lining. It then restricts the endotoxins produced by the gut bacteria from getting dissolved in our blood. As a result, it helps reduce inflammation. In addition, you can consume a cup of yoghurt with seasonal fruits to provide your body with extra nutrition.
Oatmeal is a substantial source of dietary fibre that helps in improving digestion. In addition, it also contains a considerable amount of antioxidants that help curb inflammation.It contains a powerful antioxidant, “Avenanthramides”, which helps increase the blood’s nitric oxide levels. As a result, it lowers blood pressure and reduces inflammation in the body. Oats are one of the rarest sources of this polyphenol compound.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains a high amount of probiotics which help improve the digestive system. As a result, it cures gastric inflammation. However, it is not just limited to fixing gastric inflammation; it also helps reduce inflammation in the heart, joints, and blood.
You may not see immediate results, but it can work wonders if you include it in your daily diet. For example, you can sip it by dissolving it in water or by preparing a cup of tea with it in the morning.
Free-range eggs (eggs produced from birds) are high in beta carotene levels and contain antioxidants like flavonoid and carotenoid. They are also rich in omega-three fatty acids. These antioxidants help in reducing inflammation by preventing cell damage in the body.
Eggs are also rich in proteins, phospholipids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help cure inflammation. In addition, eggs have vitamin D that enhances the immune response .
Other Ways to Reduce Inflammation
1. Daily Exercises and Movements
Daily exercises and movements are necessary to keep inflammation at bay. They also help heal and treat the inflammation in the body. In addition, exercise and healthy body movements aid in pumping lymph fluid. Moreover, it also increases blood circulation.
Exercises keep the organs and the internal system working accurately. For example, the digestive system, circulatory system, urinary tracts, and sweat glands work correctly without stress due to healthy body movements. They can deliver fresh blood to the tissues due to daily exercises. It helps treat inflammation faster. In addition, it also excretes metabolic debris and provides beneficial nutrients to the inflamed tissue.
Walks, mild exercises as per your body, and activities like jumping on a trampoline are extremely helpful in controlling inflammation.
2. Hydration is the Key
Drinking enough water throughout the day keeps your body hydrated and flushes out toxins from the body. Moreover, a good hydration level helps excrete toxins through kidneys and liver, a clear gut, and sweating. Cells require proper hydration to perform their functions appropriately.
Make sure to drink contaminant-free filtered water. It should not contain chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, etc. Drinking toxic water will only cause harm to the body rather than any good. Instead, you can add a pinch of natural salts like pink Himalayan salt and Celtic sea salt to provide electrolytes to the water. Electrolytes help improve the nervous system, which results in the proper transmission of signals throughout the body.
Drink 200-300 ml of water within 20 mins of walking and about 400 ml of water before the first meal of your day. It nourishes your internal system and flushes the toxins out of your body. Reduce the intake of caffeine and alcohol. If you consume more caffeine and alcohol, it results in dehydration. Further, it induces the build-up of toxins in the body.
Drink water 20 mins before any meal, a little water in between eating your food, and avoid drinking water just after eating. Instead, drink water 30-60 minutes after consuming any meal.
3. Healthy Eating Habits
A healthy diet is an essential part of a healthy life. Whatever we consume has a direct impact on our bodies. Enriching your diet with healthy and nutritious food ensures the internal system works appropriately. As a result, it helps avoid any diseases and inflammation and ensures faster healing.
A diet containing high sugar content, oil, processed food & meat only leads away to inflammation. That makes our diet an eminent source of inflammation. Furthermore, consuming high gluten and hard-to-digest meals disturb the digestion process and result in an inflamed, leaky gut. Moreover, undigested food particles get dissolved in the food through villi present in the intestine, which also causes inflammation.
First of all, remove sugar and gluten-containing food from your meal. Any food that can quickly metabolise sugar in the body should be specially taken care of while adding these to the diet.
Try having good fats like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and other sources like nuts, seeds, and coconut milk. Avoid consuming processed vegetable oil, canola, sunflower, soy oil as these are high in inflammatory properties. In addition, include non-starchy vegetables and herbs rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. These will help you reduce oxidative stress in the body caused by free radicals and combat inflammation.
4. Improving Sleep Quality and Reducing Stress
Stress is a significant threat to our bodies. It is an emotional & psychological response to an ugly situation. When we stress about anything, our body releases a hormone called “cortisol”. Cortisol suppresses your immune response and digestive activities in the body that eventually causes inflammation.
It restricts insulin production and narrows down the walls of arteries while increasing blood pressure. Therefore, it causes more stress in the body. Moreover, stress diminishes lymphocytes [white blood cells] that reduces the body’s ability to fight viruses.
Improving sleep quality can help reduce stress. Sleep induces healing in the body and flushes out the metabolic debris. In addition, sleep helps build new neural connections and eliminate dysfunctional neuronal cells, which aids in smoothening cognitive processing.
You can practice meditation for better quality sleep. First, avoid artificial blue light at bedtime; try to get to bed by 10 pm. Our body has a pattern of sleeping and waking at a particular time.
Inflammation does not always cause harm to the body because it is an immune response to the bacteria, viruses, and foreign material entering the body. Inflammation acts as a defense to protect our bodies from harmful effects and chronic diseases. However, it may cause fatigue, burn, body pain, depression, and infections. In addition, it may show some symptoms like pain, redness, swelling, and loss of mobility.
You can cure inflammation by taking simple steps. For example, including anti-inflammatory foods in the diet, drinking enough water, daily movements and exercises in your routine can help curb inflammation. Furthermore, avoiding foods that contain inflammation-inducing compounds also helps.
We should restrain from things that induce inflammation and build it up in our bodies. That is because it may lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation may cause diseases like cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the fastest way to reduce inflammation in the body?
A. There are several ways to reduce inflammation in the body. For example, hydration, consuming anti-inflammatory foods, daily exercises, and quality sleep. These ways help heal inflammation in the body.
Q. What naturally relieves inflammation?
A. Healthy sleep and healthy eating habits relieve inflammation naturally. In addition, drinking an adequate amount of water and daily movements also work. Therefore, it is essential to follow a healthy diet, get enough sleep and stay physically active.
Q. What can I drink to reduce inflammation?
A. Keeping yourself hydrated will help you curb inflammation. Therefore, you should drink enough water throughout the day. In addition, you can have green tea, honey water, and apple cider vinegar with water.
Q. What are the five classic signs of inflammation?
A. Fatigue, body pain, swelling, redness, and burn are the five classic signs of inflammation in the body. However, you may notice different symptoms according to the type and severity of the inflammation. For example, you may experience frequent infections, anxiety, weight gain, gastrointestinal issues like diarrhoea, constipation and acid reflux.
Q. Can drinking lots of water reduce inflammation?
A. Yes, drinking an adequate amount of water daily flushes out toxins from your body, which causes inflammation. In addition, it can also flush other irritants out of your body. Moreover, hydrating well helps in proper cell functioning. Healthy individuals should drink 2-3 litres of water per day (but not in one go)
Q. What are the four stages of inflammation?
A. The four stages of inflammation are slight chronic, moderate chronic, severe chronic, and end-stage inflammation. However, you should notice the signs of inflammation at its first stage and take critical care to avoid significant harm to the body.
Q. What is the most potent natural anti-inflammatory?
A. Turmeric, green tea, and ginger are the most potent natural anti-inflammatory substances. Turmeric reduces pro-inflammatory markers in the body. Green tea also protects against free radicals in the body and cell damage. Ginger reduces stress and helps prevent inflammation.
Q. Is coffee anti-inflammatory?
A. Yes. Coffee has some anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the body. Consuming coffee also helps in reducing the risk of other diseases like liver cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis.
Q. What are the worst foods for inflammation?
A. Processed meat and processed foods are the worst food for inflammation because they disturb digestion. Undigested food particles dissolve in the blood and cause inflammation. In addition, added sugar foods like bread, granola bars, trans fats, omega-6 rich foods like mayonnaise, corn oil, sunflower oil etc., may cause inflammation.
Q. How long does it take to reduce inflammation in the body?
A. It depends on the severity of inflammation. Generally, it may take some days to heal inflammation, but if it persists for a long time, it may take several months or years to recover.
Q. Does apple cider vinegar help with inflammation?
A. Yes, apple cider vinegar helps with inflammation because it contains probiotics that aid in digestion. In addition, it helps with a clear gut, which throws out the harmful toxins from the body. These harmful toxins like benzene, halocarbons, ketones, nitrosamines, etc., may cause inflammation in the body.
Q. Is honey anti-inflammatory?
A. Yes. Honey is antioxidant-rich and has tremendous anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants counteract reactive oxygen species in the body, which piles up in the cell and causes damage. As a result, it helps relieve inflammation in the body. Therefore, a spoonful of honey daily helps keep inflammation at bay.
Q. Are eggs inflammatory?
A. No, eggs are not inflammatory. Instead, they contain anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonoids, and omega-three fatty acids that prevent cell damage and reduce inflammation in the body.
Q. Is yoghurt inflammatory?
A. No, yoghurt is not inflammatory. It contains probiotics that restrict endotoxins produced by the gut bacteria to get dissolved in the blood, which reduces inflammation.
Q. Is oatmeal anti-inflammatory?
A. Yes, oatmeal is anti-inflammatory. In addition, oatmeal contains a unique antioxidant, avenanthramide, which helps lower blood pressure, reducing inflammation.
Q. Is peanut butter anti-inflammatory?
A. Yes, peanut butter is anti-inflammatory. That is because it contains vitamin E, which curbs inflammation in the body. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that relieves pain and cramps caused by inflammation.
Q. Is lemon an anti-inflammatory?
A. Yes, lemon is an anti-inflammatory food. It is because lemon contains a rich amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and thus, helps in reducing inflammation. It also has antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and anti-bacterial properties.
Q. Is cinnamon anti-inflammatory?
A. Yes, cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory spice. Cinnamon contains a significant amount of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it reduces pro-inflammatory markers in the body. Therefore, it helps in reducing inflammation.
Q. What kind of tea is good for anti-inflammatory?
A. Green tea is the best form of tea for its anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, green tea contains antioxidants like catechin, which helps prevent cell damage and protect against free radicals in the body.
Q. How do you use turmeric for inflammation?
A. Turmeric contains curcumin, which helps curb inflammation by reducing proinflammatory markers. When consumed with piperine, curcumin leads to better absorption of the nutrients in the body. You can take curcumin and piperine supplements for better results.
Q. How do you use garlic for inflammation?
A. Garlic is rich in antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it helps reduce inflammation. You can consume garlic by adding some of it to the curries or preserving it in honey for some time to reap all its benefits.
Q. How do you use ginger for inflammation?
Ginger is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in reducing stress, which then results in healing inflammation. Detox water made with ginger, lemon ginger tea, or shredded ginger in the curries are the best ways to use it to cure inflammation.