You may have heard the term "prostaglandin" if you suffer from inflammatory pain. Prostaglandins are hormones your body produces, and certain kinds contribute to menstrual and arthritic pain. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, block prostaglandins to reduce pain, but you may be able to lower inflammation with some simple dietary changes as well.
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Enjoy Pomegranate Juice
Of all fruits in your diet, fresh pomegranate juice is the richest source of anti-inflammatory polyphenols called ellagitannins. In laboratory experiments, these constituents of pomegranate block the activity of COX enzyme, which regulates the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. Researchers concluded that pomegranate compounds may lower inflammation through this effect. They used blood samples collected after consumption of pomegranate and found that substances in the fruit significantly suppress inflammatory enzymes. The study was published in the 2008 issue of the Journal of Inflammation.
Incorporate Citrus Fruits
Most Americans fail to eat enough servings of fruits and vegetables each day. If you're dealing with inflammation, boosting your intake may offer particular benefits. Fruits and vegetables contain a flavonol, called hesperidin, that helps fight inflammation. Citrus juices are particularly rich in this compound. Hesperidin suppresses prostaglandin production, reducing inflammation, according to a review the World Journal of Gastroenterology published in April 2014. Try adding fresh grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes to your diet.
Feast on Fatty Fish
The oils in fish contain the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA and DHA. These fats help reduce the body's inflammatory response, which may reduce inflammation-related pain. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researchers compared the effects of fish oil to anti-inflammatory medications on back pain. They found that fish oil is as effective as the medication on inflammatory pain, and a significant percentage of patients discontinued their anti-inflammatory prescription as a result. The study appears in the April 2006 issue of the journal Surgical Neurology.
Foods to Avoid
When it comes to inflammation, the foods you limit or avoid are just as crucial as the ones you add or increase. Certain foods promote inflammation, so it's best that you reduce your intake of culprits like omega-6 fats found in corn, sunflower seeds, soybeans, fried foods, processed snacks, margarine and egg yolks. Cutting back on omega-6 oils helps balance the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fat that you're taking in, thereby reducing inflammation. Meats cooked at very high temperatures promote inflammation as well.
- Journal of Inflammation: Bioavailable Constituents/Metabolites of Pomegranate (Punica Granatum L) Preferentially Inhibit Cox2 Activity Ex Vivo and Il-1beta-induced PGE-2 Production in Human Chondrocytes in Vitro
- World Journal of Gastroenterology: Role of Pomegranate and Citrus Fruit Juices in Colon Cancer Prevention
- Surgical Neurology: Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) as an Anti-inflammatory: an Alternative to Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs for Discogenic Pain
- Arthritis Foundation: Nutrition Guidelines for People With Rheumatoid Arthritis