With my knee acting up, my wife recovering from knee surgery last week and a good friend of ours also one week into recovering from a hip replacement, I thought that it might be a good time to circle back around and update my notes on anti-inflammatory foods.
A big part of that, is that I don’t take ‘anything’ for pain…or swelling…like, never.
As weird as it sounds, I fundamentally prefer the pain, because of my belief that it’s there for a reason, and to mask it may lead me to forget about it, or think it’s healed, and damage stuff further.
Here’s a quick ‘scientific’ summary on how anti-inflammatory drugs work…common brands are Aspirin, Advil and Motrin:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), alleviate pain by counteracting the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme. On its own, COX enzyme synthesizes prostaglandins, creating inflammation. In whole, the NSAIDs prevent the prostaglandins from ever being synthesized, reducing or eliminating the pain.
Some common examples of NSAIDs are: aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. The newer specific COX-inhibitors – although, it is presumed, sharing a similar mode of action – are not classified together with the traditional NSAIDs.
I also think that taking drugs/supplements either for pain, or in trying to ‘bomb up’ certain minerals/vitamins/nutrients/whatever-todays-trend-is, can lead a body into an imbalance to deal with abnormal excesses in one direction or another…so I just don’t.
…having said that, it is the ‘Food and Drug’ Administration that oversees all this ‘stuff’, so food is in the same category as drugs…at least according to the US government.
…in my chat with Coach Gale Bernhardt yesterday…knowing that I’m drug adverse…she got the thought started by suggesting ‘fresh pineapple’
So since I’m eating everyday anyway, and would prefer less swelling in that knee of mine, I thought that I’d take a look at what I’m already eating that has anti-inflammatory qualities, and what else I may want to get into the mix.
Millions of words written on the Internet…our picture today is Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid from his Anti-Inflammatory Diet…click on the picture for the BIG version
I’ve added a few more links at the bottom of this post…so in updating my reading a few things jump out…here’s the good stuff, that’s in my current diet:
- Wild salmon (farmed salmon also now apparently good…used to be reported at the opposite end of the scale: inflammatory…click here if you want to read more about how farmed salmon cleaned up its act)
- Flaxseed oil…in my morning shake every day
- Spinach…every night with dinner
- Olive oil for cooking
- Red wine 🙂
Things I should consider having more frequently…good to excellent anti-inflammatory qualities:
- Pineapple / papaya / blueberry … an easy add since I have a fruit shake every morning anyway…just adjust the content
- Ginger (ground)…my wife has a ginger centric fresh juice every day…I can add ginger to my shake…she hits the ginger _hard_ in that juice…must be an acquired taste
- Turmeric (ground)…same qualities as the ginger
- Sweet potato…I like sweet potatoes
- Carrot…I like carrots
- Shiitake Mushroom…I like mushrooms
- Green tea…my wife drinks it all the time…maybe a try
- Broccoli…I can sort of eat broccoli…not much joy to it though…may not be a keeper
- Kelp such as kombu is listed a few places…a type of seaweed…may be too exotic for me to play with
and things that I eat that can be ‘inflammatory’:
- Non whole grain bread
- Banana…hmmm…maybe need to cut that back a bit
- French fries…well _used_ to eat…very bad in many categories
So, if all that I wanted to do was reduce swelling in my knee, would I be better off just hitting it hard with Advil for a few days?…maybe…if it got _really_ bad, I guess I may need to do something more radical than fruit shakes with ginger
…for now though, adjusting my diet to include more anti-inflammatory foods sounds like a better idea to me for both the short and long-term
…and since my wife, one week after her knee surgery is running around like nothing happened, there just may be something to that horrible tasting…but maybe effective…Green Geenie juice she has every morning 🙂
A few extra reading links: