Inflammation is a major contributing factor to the symptoms and severity of almost all disease processes. While many people turn to medications like NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), it may not be the safest option for you, especially with prolonged use. Even short-term use of NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, has been associated with stomach ulcers and heart problems with the risk increasing with long-term use.  New research has also demonstrated that NSAIDs may interfere with muscle production, which could be counter-productive for somebody trying to increase their physical health through exercise.

So what are some safer ways to address some of the long-term inflammatory processes going on throughout the body?  

Here are 7 food ingredients that can help:

1. Olives / Olive Oil

Olive Leaf Hydroxytyrosol

Olives are a potent source of antioxidants including hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein that have been shown prevent and even reverse chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.1–6    Hydroxytyrosol from olive leaf extract is the foundation of the patented Olivamine 10® Max formula that has been shown to greatly increase genetic expression of one of the cell's most powerful defenses against inflammation-inducing free-radical damage, Manganese Superoxide Dismutase (MnSOD).7,8

2. Grapes / Red Wine

Grapes on the vine

Grapes, including their vines, and red wine contain a potent antioxidant called trans-resveratrol that has been shown to modulate inflammatory responses and reduce the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines and interleukins9,10 The contain many other beneficial compounds including pterostilbene, quercetin, proanthocyanidins, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, catechins, and more. While some of these compounds are found in red wine, it is not recommended to exceed 5 ounces of wine per day for women, or 10 ounces per day for men.


3. Green Tea

Green Tea

Green tea has been used for thousands of years and there is little argument about the health benefits experience from those who regularly consume it. Green tea contains many beneficial compounds including EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which is thought to contribute to much of the health benefits. EGCG has been shown to reduce inflammation through its antioxidant properties and through several inflammatory regulators including MAPK, interleukin (IL)-12, IL-6, TNF-alpha, COX-2, and NF-kB.11–13  It has been shown to help alleviate painful inflammation in arthritis.14

4. Broccoli / cruciferous vegetables

Broccoli

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussel’s sprouts, and cabbage are known for being a rich source of dietary sulfur compounds including methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and sulforaphane.  

MSM has been shown to reduce inflammation by exerting suppressive actions on several inflammatory pathways involving nitric oxide, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2), nuclear factor (NF)-kB, TNF-α, and interleukin-6.15 It has also been shown to improve pain symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.16–18

Broccoli is one of the richest sources of sulforaphane that has been shown to induce cellular antioxidants through the transcription factor Nrf2 while suppressing inflammation through regulation of p38 and NF-kB.19  Clinical trials have shown protective anti-inflammatory effects in the brain during neurodegenerative processes, ischemia, and trauma.20 Sulforaphane was also shown to reduce systemic inflammation and kidney damage following heart procedures requiring cardiopulmonary bypass.19

5. Curcumin

Turmeric Curcumin

Curcumin from turmeric is an extremely potent antioxidant that reduces inflammation by preventing oxidative damage and by reducing several pro-inflammatory molecules including TNF-α, COX 1 and 2, α1-acid glycoprotein, and myeloid differentiation protein.  Clinical trials have demonstrated positive anti-inflammatory actions in post-surgery, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gastric ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, kidney transplant rejection, and cancer.21

6. Fish Oil / Omega-3's

Fish Shrimp Nuts Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA and EPA have been shown to have significant therapeutic benefits in a wide variety of inflammatory conditions while reducing the need for stronger anti-inflammatory medications with undesirable safety and toxicity profiles.  EPA and DHA exhibit their anti-inflammatory effects through a variety of biochemical pathways including prostaglandin, thromboxane, and leukotriene production, and modulation of the cyclooxegenase (COX) pathways targeted by NSAIDs.22,23 


7. Fiber / Prebiotics

Pinnaclife Prebiotic Fiber

Prebiotic fiber helps support healthy intestinal bacteria, commonly referred to as probiotics. The healthy intestinal bacteria produce anti-inflammatory compounds that act locally on the surface of the intestines, but also get absorbed into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body where they also exert their anti-inflammatory effects.24–28

Supplements or Food?

It’s great to incorporate these types of food into your daily diet to provide anti-inflammatory support, but there are some reasons why supplements may be a preferred option.

  • You may not enjoy eating some of the foods listed, or have access to them on a steady basis.
  • In some instances, such as with fish oils, there may be concern about toxins and contaminants from the whole food, so a purified product may be a safer option to limit exposure to toxins.
  • Frequently the most beneficial nutrients in these foods is still in small quantities or forms that are difficult for the body to absorb, making it hard to get all the benefits from the food itself.

Pinnaclife Supplements deliver purified and concentrated extracts in absorbable forms to provide a more potent source for these anti-inflammatory ingredients. For the best results, you can add the supplements to your healthy diet that includes the foods listed above. To get the most of the food ingredients listed above, consider trying ImmuneBoost, Joint Health, Omega-3, and Prebiotic Fiber. 

  • Kyle Hilsabeck, PharmD., is the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Affairs at McCord Holdings and licensed by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.  He completed bachelors degrees in biology and biochemistry at Wartburg College before earning his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he completed a community pharmacy practice residency through the University of Iowa where he focused primarily on nutritional aspects of care including the use of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements.  He has taught courses for the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy on vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements and given many presentations on the subject as well.  He has a passion for improving patient care specifically with regards to the safety and quality of the nutritional supplements and health information people use.

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