By Dr. Josh Axe
The natural inflammation process impacts overall health, including the heart, brain, liver, joints and digestive system.
In fact, it’s actually beneficial to experience these “normal” amounts of short-term inflammation bodily responses at times. But you want to maintain those healthy inflammation levels.
One of the first steps you should take to support healthy inflammation levels as well as support overall healthy immune function is replacing inflammatory foods with whole, unprocessed foods. Certain supplements and their ingredients can also help support a healthy response to inflammation, such as probiotics, collagen, turmeric and dried supergreens.
How Does Inflammation Affect the Body?
The body naturally increases inflammation in response to support the health of the body by boosting activity of the immune system and lymphatic system, which send out white blood cells to the area of need via increased blood flow.
The goal is to ultimately promote the natural healing process in the body.
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
Many experts believe that an anti-inflammatory diet is one that includes plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and healthy fatty acids — similar to the “Mediterranean diet” that consists of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, herbs, little red meat, and practically no chemicals or additives from processed foods.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the way that many people living in industrialized nations eat today. Instead, many people get a high percentage of their calories from packaged and low-nutrient foods like processed meats, refined grains, added sugar and refined vegetable oils.
What foods are bad for inflammation specifically? Here are some potentially inflammatory foods to limit in your diet:
- Added sugars, found in desserts, sugary drinks, many snack bars, yogurts, etc.
- Hydrogenated fats and some saturated fat like trans fats, found in fast foods and other fried products, processed snack foods, frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, crackers and most stick margarines.
- High omega 6 oils, including corn, safflower, sunflower, soy, peanut oils
- Refined carbohydrates/white flour products, including most breads, rolls, crackers and cereals
- For some people, food allergens including gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye grains, or dairy products which may be difficult for some to break down
- Artificial sweeteners including aspartame, which can be hard to digest
- Excess alcohol
8 Supplements for Supporting a Healthy Response to Inflammation
While improving the nutritional quality of your diet should be your first priority (in addition to making other lifestyle changes like exercising, getting enough sleep and managing stress), certain supplements that support a healthy inflammation response can also be helpful.
Turmeric is a powerful herb that has been consumed for thousands of years in traditional health philosophies for its ability to help support a healthy response to inflammation.
When taken in capsule form, this product is formulated with organic turmeric root extract and fermented turmeric root and can help reduce joint tenderness and improve joint mobility, while also decreasing exercise-induced joint discomfort.
Dried supergreens powders are a convenient way to load up on nutrient-filled greens as well as dried berries, grasses and algae. These ingredients support a healthy immune system, detoxification, digestion and potentially even healthy weight management.
Our Organic SuperGreens formula even features a digestive enzyme blend and probiotic blend for added gut support, which is where the majority of your immune system is found.
It couldn’t be easier to use: just mix one scoop into 8 ounces of water, juice or a smoothie daily for a boost in your antioxidant, vitamin and mineral intake.
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that we must get from our diets because the human body cannot make them on its own.
These amazing fats are known for supporting a healthy response to inflammation and promoting healthy aging. They also offer support for cardiovascular and joint health, and healthy cognitive function.
While it’s possible to get the recommended daily amount of omega-3s from fatty foods like salmon and sardines, many people don’t include these foods in their diet very regularly. A convenient way to increase your omega-3 intake is to supplement with our capsules made from organic chia seed oil and wild-caught fish.
Elderberry is an herb that’s known for offering support for a healthy immune system and immune response. It can also contribute to a healthy intestinal barrier, a healthy respiratory mucosal immune response and a generally healthy inflammation response.
The easiest way to consume elderberry is by taking it in capsule form, such as our fermented elderberry fruit supplement. Our formula also features 2 billion CFUs* (*at time of manufacture) of Bacillus subtilis probiotics for added healthy gut and immune system support.
Our Liver Cleanse Capsules feature a blend of potent botanicals, including milk thistle seed, dandelion root, beet root and bupleurum root, along with reishi and lipase, to provide support for healthy detoxification, healthy liver function and a healthy response to inflammation.
Not only are our capsules a simple way to obtain liver-supporting herbs, but they also provide adaptogens and enzymes to help with a generally healthy digestive system and response to stress. Adding our new and improved liver capsules to your daily routine can also help your body’s natural ability to break down and absorb nutrients.
Candida is a type of yeast that is normally present on and in the human body, but, like other microbes, it’s important to keep it in balance.
Our Herbal Candida Capsules offer support for a healthy immune system, healthy response to inflammation, and a reduction in occasional diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating.
They can also help promote healthy elimination and support healthy gut function and gut microflora balance, which is key for maintaining overall health.
Collagen is a structural protein that helps give strength and elasticity to connective tissues throughout the body. This collagen formula promotes overall joint health, including flexibility, mobility and range of motion.
MCP can help reduce joint discomfort and support post-exercise recovery with noticeable results in as little as 7 days. And not only does it assist in joint health, it can promote healthy skin and hair growth, too.
Our MCP powders are powered by clinically studied fermented collagen, and they’re derived from 4 real food sources: beef, chicken, fish and eggshell membrane. They’re made from non-GMO, grass-fed and pasture-raised, cage-free and cruelty-free sources and feature collagen types I, II, III, V and X for body-wide benefits.
For those looking for joint support, our Joint + Mobility Support Capsules brings together organic chaga mushroom, botanicals and adaptogens from across several health and wellness traditions to provide targeted support for mobility and comfort.
This formula features herbs and other botanicals including turmeric, chaga mushroom, galangal root and ginger root to support joint range of motion, a healthy response to inflammation and reduced joint discomfort.
Supplementing with this formula regularly can also decrease exercise-induced joint discomfort and support a generally healthy immune response.
Foods that May Reduce Inflammation
How can you reduce inflammation by adding healthy foods to your diet? Start by removing processed foods from your diet, drinking raw vegetable juices, and loading up on vitamin- and mineral-rich foods.
We recommend filling up on the following nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, bok choy, swiss chard, etc.
- Other vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, beets, celery, peppers, onions, etc.
- Fresh fruits, especially all types of berries, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, mango, pineapple and others
- Herbs like parsley, cilantro, rosemary and basil
- Spices including turmeric, ginger, cayenne and cinnamon
- Healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, avocado, nuts and seeds like chia, flax, hemp, walnuts and almonds
- Fatty fish including salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout
- Bone broth
As always, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to starting any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including supplementation.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and the recently published Ancient Remedies.