First, let's talk about what inflammation is. Inflammation is a normal physiological process that occurs when the body is trying to protect itself, and it is totally necessary for survival. If we didn’t have inflammation, we’d never be able to heal from a cut or injury. So basically, without inflammation, we wouldn’t be alive right now.
That being said, chronic or ongoing inflammation can wreak havoc on the body. It can increase your risk of chronic many chronic diseases - such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease - and, if you already have a chronic disease, you can be sure you have inflammation as well. Other contributors to inflammation include inflammatory foods, tobacco smoke exposure, excessive alcohol intake, environmental pollutants, etc.
So what can we do about it? The good news is: A LOT! The foods and drinks we choose can either increase or decrease inflammation in the body (Pretty cool, huh?). Here is a sneak peek: Ginger and turmeric are potent anti-inflammatory powerhouses. They can literally reduce inflammation in the body by acting on similar pathways as anti-inflammatory drugs (think: aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.). Food as medicine - YES!
By Crystal Cascio, MS, RD, IFNCP, CDN
Ethan’s On-Staff Registered Dietician