The #1 Best Supplement to Reduce Inflammation, Says Pharmacist
Inflammation is a natural process of your body healing itself. Whether you sprain your ankle, get a bug bite, or are suffering from a nasty virus, your body responds by releasing a cascade of chemicals that cause inflammation, which sends immune cells to parts of your body that are in trouble. Inflammation doesn't feel particularly good — it can cause swelling, fever, achiness, and itching — but it's usually a sign that your immune system is doing its job to fight off germs or repair damaged tissues. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Why You Should Worry About Inflammation
Inflammation isn't always positive, though. Sometimes it can get out of control as a result of health conditions — including obesity, cancer, diabetes, and COVID-19 — or lifestyle factors, such as smoking, stress, a high-sugar diet, and alcohol use. For people with autoimmune disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, the body can attack its own healthy cells, leading to chronic inflammation that can cause painful and even debilitating effects.
Here, we'll go over the two main types of inflammation — acute and chronic — and look at the top supplement that can reduce inflammation.
Acute Versus Chronic Inflammation
Sometimes it's obvious why you have inflammation. If you hurt your knee playing basketball, for example, you wouldn't be surprised to see it swell up.
However, many people deal with chronic inflammation, which doesn't go away when the illness or injury has resolved. In fact, it can sometimes be hard to know where the problem started in the first place.
These Foods And Habits Can Reduce Your Risk
People dealing with the wide-ranging effects of inflammation might find it helpful to take a supplement to help them reduce their symptoms. It's important to treat your medical issues and eat a healthy diet. Red meat and sugary drinks and food can increase inflammation. Meanwhile, these foods can help prevent or ease inflammation:
- Leafy greens
- Green tea
You should also get enough exercise and limit your exposure to potentially harmful irritants (cigarette smoke, pollution, industrial chemicals).
In addition to dealing with these health and lifestyle factors, some supplements can help counteract the accumulation of inflammatory molecules your body releases in response to stressors.
So, What is The #1 Best Supplement to Reduce Inflammation
The number one supplement I recommend for that is turmeric. Turmeric is a flowering plant that thrives in tropical regions in India and Southeast Asia. But it's the part of the plant that grows beneath the ground that has made it a popular choice for cooking and in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. The underground part of turmeric resembles a ginger root (in fact, the two plants are related). This part is dried and ground into a yellow-orange powder. It has an earthy taste and is used often in curries, giving them a bright yellow color.
The component that gives turmeric its color is also the one that gives it medicinal properties: curcumin. Many studies have looked at how curcumin can be used to combat inflammation from conditions such as ulcerative colitis and arthritis, potentially helping to relieve symptoms including pain and stiffness. One study on curcumin found that it was just as effective at treating pain in people with osteoarthritis as ibuprofen.
Its powers seem to lie in its abilities to fight free radicals and suppress inflammation. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells, and they are associated with inflammation. Curcumin can help neutralize these molecules in the body. It also blocks inflammatory responses, which can ease symptoms.
Curcumin may also help lower cholesterol, as well as have other protective effects that could reduce the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease.
How to Take Turmeric forInflammation
Does eating foods with turmeric help fight inflammation? Well, it certainly doesn't hurt to enjoy a curry loaded with turmeric, or enjoy a turmeric latte made with non-dairy milk and a sprinkling of pepper (pepper helps your body use turmeric more efficiently). It's especially good when using spice to make a dish flavorful while cutting back on fatty and sugary ingredients.
But your body requires a lot more than a sprinkle of turmeric in order to get its anti-inflammatory benefits. The typical recommendation is to take 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day. Some people can take more than that — and it's safe to take up to 8 grams per day — but talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement. You also might be told not to take turmeric if you have certain health conditions because it can interfere with blood thinners or other medications, or make gallbladder disease worse.
If your doctor gives the go-ahead, then give turmeric a try. There are so many ways inflammation might be affecting how you feel on a daily basis, and this supplement could help you fight off the effects. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Shaili Gandhi, PharmD and vice president of pharmacy at SingleCare.