Nurses know that inflammation is a double-edged sword. It is the body’s way of defending against invaders like bacteria or viruses, but inflammation is also at the heart of many painful conditions.
When the body’s inflammatory response gets kicked into overdrive, it can cause damage to joints and organs. Inflammation is at the root of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Nurses have to manage not only the health care of their patients, but their own bodies as well. Learn about five of the top foods and supplements to help reduce inflammation, especially in the joints.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that helps protect tissue from damage, so it is a natural choice. A lack of this vitamin is often linked to inflammation in different areas of the body, such as the intestines, lungs and skin. There also appears to be a connection between increasing Vitamin A, and controlling inflammatory bowel disease and acne.
You can take advantage of Vitamin A’s anti-inflammatory benefits by drinking whole milk or buying fortified dairy products. Eating colorful vegetables that contain beta-carotene, such as carrots, can also help because beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A in the body.
2. Vitamin B6
Studies show a correlation between the lack of Vitamin B6 and joint damage, especially for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Taking Vitamin B6 supplements may reduce inflammation and work to balance this deficiency.
A few of the richest sources of B6 are fish, potatoes, whole grains and non-citrus fruits.
3. Get Spicy
Nutritionists swear by spices to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health. There are four spices in particular that bubble to the top for their anti-inflammatory properties:
You can add a pinch of any one of these four to your favorite recipes or tea to reap the benefits. As an added bonus, spicing things up may help you cut down on salt.
3. Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C is at the top of the list for fighting inflammation, as an antioxidant and to help produce collagen. Better supportive tissue like cartilage and ligaments mean stronger joints that are less prone to damage.
Research shows that taking Vitamin C supplements may lower the levels of CRP, which is an inflammatory marker. You can get Vitamin C naturally by adding more citrus fruit to your diet.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are known to be rich in Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It is unclear what part of the body benefits most from an increase in Vitamin E, but researchers believe it reduces the risk of damage to the heart and lungs, as well as easing allergic responses to animals.
You can get Vitamin E as a supplement or eat more green leafy vegetables.
5. Vitamin K
There was a reason your mother told you to eat your greens; Vitamin K has major benefits. This fat-soluble vitamin can control the binding of calcium in the bones.
Ingesting more Vitamin K through vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and asparagus is a proven way to reduce the levels of inflammatory markers throughout the body.
If you’re still inflamed after trying these news foods and vitamins, we recommend wearing compression stocking, as they can help support your ankle joints while you’re on your feet.