Nowadays, we are all at greater risk than ever before from inflammation because of increased toxins in our environment, decreased nutrient levels in our food, and increased stress. All of this means that we benefit from finding natural ways to decrease inflammation to prevent further symptoms and disease. Nature provides us with many foods and herbs that help reduce inflammation by acting as anti-oxidants and helping the liver detoxify unwanted substances.
The best option for decreasing inflammation in our bodies is when we can get a sufficient amount of micronutrients from whole food. In this way they are absorbed in the combinations found in nature, which is the preferred combination for our health. Since our food supply has seen a significant decrease in vitamin and mineral content over the last few decades, it is becoming more and more important to get these from supplements. Most Americans are quite deficient in Selenium, Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamin D – all of which are easily supplemented.
Plants and herbs are another source of natural anti-inflammatory molecules that can help promote health. Learning to incorporate these into your diet and your recipes will add to the nutritional and anti-inflammatory value of your food. Examples of these are garlic, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, and turmeric, to name a few. Learning to cook with these ingredients can turn just average foods into super-foods!
Other plants and herbs are better suited in preparations other than cooking. Teas, extracts, and dried herbs are often used in holistic and functional medicine to aid the body in healing and detoxifying. Many of these are most easily taken as a supplement and are available in liquid, tablet, or capsule form. Examples of these are Milk Thistle, Stinging Nettles, Rhodiola, and Korean Red (Panax) Ginseng, to name a few. Learning what your unique health needs are helps you choose which foods and herbs would benefit you the most.
In my practice, I help clients determine which vitamins, minerals, and herbs would help their body come back to balance. I explore their current diet, make suggestions for macro and micronutrients, and explore which supplements would be necessary for optimal functioning.