Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Fish is your key source of two key omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). These are major anti-inflammatories. EPA and DHA are essential building blocks for the body’s anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (e.g., prostaglandin E1) and for turning off Cox-2 and the body’s pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, and TNFa). In addition, omega-3 fatty acids block the activity of an enzyme that breaks down joint cartilage. Mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and tuna are good sources of these fatty acids.
Curcuimin – Curcumin is the active ingredient of the Indian spice turmeric. Over the last few decades hundreds of small scale studies have proven scientifically what Indian people have known for centuries; that curcumin has the ability to halt or prevent certain types of cancer, stop inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, prevent cataracts and kill or inhibit the toxic effects of certain microbes including fungi and dangerous parasites.
(Arora RB, Basu N, Kapoor V, Jain AP. Anti-inflammatory studies on Curcuma- longa (turmeric). Ind J Med Res 1971 Aug;59(8):1289-95).
Green Tea – Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, recently reported that the antioxidant polyphenols in green tea had anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting Cox-2 and TNFa. Genistein inhibits prostaglandin E2 and Cox-2, and quercetin inhibits the activity of inflammation-promoting “adhesion” molecules. It’s likely that Pycnogenol, grape seed extract, and other flavonoids work through similar mechanisms.
(School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 6, 1558-1564, December 2004).
Ginger – The popular herb ginger contains over 500 different compounds, many of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Suppression of inflammation is attributed to suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines produced by synoviocytes, chondrocytes, and leukocytes. Ginger suppresses prostaglandin synthesis through inhibition of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2. A ginger extract (EV.EXT.77) derived from Zingiber officinale and Alpina galanga inhibits the induction of several genes involved in the inflammatory response. (Setty AR, Sigal LH. Semin. Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Jun;34(6):773-84.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C has long been recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties. In a study published in the March, 2006 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, High blood levels of Vitamin C reduced signs of inflammation by 45 percent. The study was conducted at a London university and involved over 3200 men between 60 and 69. Researchers looked at C-reactive protein and t-PA, both markers for inflammation levels in the body. High blood levels of Vitamin C were also predictive of lower risk of blood clots, as indicated by factors such as blood viscosity. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 83, pp. 567-574),