Inflammation is the body’s natural defence against dangers like bacteria, viruses, irritants, toxins, and physical trauma. External signs of inflammation usually presents as pain, swelling, redness, and warm to the touch. Chronic inflammation, defined as inflammation lasting several months to years, can interfere with function of the immune system and may lead to a variety of chronic diseases and chronic pain.
For management of inflammation, lifestyle therapy proves to be beneficial along with physiotherapy and regular medications. This includes quitting smoking, improving nutrition, maintaining a healthy body weight, regular physical activity, good sleep and stress management.
Anti-inflammatory diets help to reduce pain and stiffness caused by several painful conditions such as musculoskeletal pain and arthritis. Plant based diets are rich in nutrients and phytochemicals (naturally occurring chemicals produced by plants) that are anti-inflammatory. Dietary changes can be made in following ways to manage inflammation and pain:
Flavonoids are various health promoting compounds that are commonly found in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids work by inhibiting enzymes that promote inflammation.Foods containing flavonoids include:
Carotenoids are red, orange and yellow pigments in foods. Carotenoids are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and also inhibit the production of inflammation causing substances. Common foods that are high in carotenoids include:
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce stiffness and swelling of joints. They may also help to reduce the dose of pain medications in people living with Arthritis. Foods high on Omega-3 Fatty Acids include:
Vegetarians need not fret as nuts and seeds like walnut, flax seeds, chia seeds are ripe with them.
Herbs and spices have excellent amounts of antioxidants that prevent as well as reduce inflammation. Add these spices in daily meals, soups and smoothies. Commonly available herbs and spices include:
Recent studies have shown that Probiotics have a positive influence on the immune system function, especially in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Probiotic supplements containing L. casei and foods like yogurt and kombucha can be helpful.
They are good sources of fibre and antioxidants. Adding a variety of fibre rich foods and salads in your diet can help promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria that synthesize probiotics. Fibre rich foods also help in healthy weight maintenance which can help reduce stress on the joints.
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