Harnessing the power of diet and supplements

Inflammation, the body’s natural defence mechanism against injury and infection, can turn into a silent foe when it becomes chronic. Prolonged inflammation has been linked to a range of health conditions, including heart disease, arthritis, and even certain types of cancer. However, the good news is that we can combat this harmful process by making simple yet effective dietary and lifestyle choices. In this article, I will explore the world of inflammation and discover how incorporating certain foods, herbs, and supplements into our routine can help reduce inflammation and pave the way to a healthier and less painful life.

Before we delve into the specifics of combating inflammation, it is crucial to understand its underlying processes. Inflammation occurs when the immune system responds to injury or infection, releasing chemicals that promote blood flow to the affected area. While acute inflammation is a vital part of the healing process, chronic inflammation arises when the body’s response persists, damaging healthy tissues over time. Chronic inflammation can be aggravated by an overly processed diet, stress, and environmental toxins. But the good news is that this means by changing these habits and introducing some beneficial new ones we can help to calm it down. 

My father, Alan Dare, loved the saying ‘You are what you eat’ – and this really holds true when it comes to managing inflammation. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet can play a pivotal role in calming the body’s immune response. Emphasising the following elements can make a significant impact:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Incorporate oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines into your meals or consider high-quality fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown remarkable anti-inflammatory properties.

Colourful Fruits and Vegetables: Opt for a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. These vibrant foods combat inflammation by neutralising harmful free radicals. Recently, dark red Aronia berry juice has been incredibly popular in Organico as we have a local grower and Aronia berries are an excellent source of inflammation-fighting antioxidants. 

Whole Grains and Legumes: Replace refined carbohydrates (like white bread and pasta and white rice) with whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats, which are loaded with fibre and essential nutrients. Legumes like lentils and chickpeas also provide a healthy dose of anti-inflammatory properties.

Nature has also bestowed us with a treasure trove of herbs and spices, many of which possess remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. Integrating the following herbs into your culinary adventures can help combat inflammation:

Turmeric: This golden spice contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound. Add turmeric to curries, smoothies, or try golden milk for its beneficial effects.

Ginger: Known for its soothing properties, ginger also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. Enjoy it fresh in stir-fries, teas, or as a zesty addition to smoothies.

Garlic: Besides enhancing flavour, garlic contains sulphur compounds that inhibit inflammation. Incorporate it into your meals by sautéing or roasting, or adding fresh to yoghurt dips and salad dressings. 

While a well-balanced diet forms the foundation of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, certain supplements can act as valuable allies in our fight against inflammation. Here are a few notable options:

High Strength Curcumin Supplements: Curcumin is an extract of Turmeric which you can take in capsule form for times when you can’t manage to eat turmeric everyday. Look for products with enhanced bioavailability to ensure optimal absorption. We get excellent feedback from Flexofytal, a dietary supplement based on bio-optimised extract of turmeric that helps to maintain joint flexibility and limit the ageing of cartilage.

Omega-3 Supplements: If you struggle to incorporate sufficient omega-3-rich foods into your diet, high-quality fish oil supplements can provide the necessary dose of inflammation-fighting fatty acids. In Organico we often suggest a liquid Omega 3 (or Cod LIver Oil) supplement as these are a great way of getting the correct dose. It’s very important to make sure you take a pure and high quality Omega 3. Brands to look out for include Eskimo 3, Nordic Naturals and Wiley’s Finest. 

Probiotics: Maintaining a healthy gut is essential, as gut health influences the body’s inflammatory response. Probiotic supplements promote a balanced gut microbiome, reducing inflammation in the process. Good brands to look for include Optibac, Biokult and Udo’s. 

If you’d like more information on calming down inflammation through diet and lifestyle, call in to us in Organico and we will help you make some positive changes. It’s never too late to start. Take care and enjoy June everyone!

And a quick last note – if you are around Bantry on Thursday, June 8 do come and join us for our Organico Sea Swim at 6.30 at the Abbey Slip. We are celebrating World Oceans Day and there will be brownies! Also we are raising funds for the Save Our Native Kelp Forest Campaign and we are matching all donations for the week. See you there!

Organico Shop Deli and Bakery is open from 9am-6.30pm, Monday – Saturday, on Glengarriff Road in Bantry. Call us on 027 51391; email us on info@organico.ie and buy online from us on www.organico.ie

Hannah Dare

Hannah Dare co-runs Organico, the café, bakery and health shop in Bantry, West Cork.

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