5 Ways to Reduce Inflammation

Ever wonder how you'd know if you have inflammation? Body pain, stiffness, swelling, and poor digestion are a few common symptoms of chronic inflammation. These sensations can be experienced by anyone, including those who have health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and arthritis. So what do we do about this inflammation? How can we prevent or improve our symptoms?

Good news! There are several foods and nutrients that can lessen inflammatory sensations in our body. 

The foods we choose daily can make a big difference in our energy levels, digestion, mood, and overall health. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and healthy fats--such as the Paleo diet-- provides many nutrients that boost immunity and minimize inflammation.


A primary component of the Paleo diet is choosing lots of fruits and vegetables. This strategy is healthy for everyone, and especially for people with chronic health challenges, because fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. According to a study published in the journal Autoimmune Diseases, oxidative stress can increase inflammation and nerve damage, which causes negative responses by our bodies. So it makes sense to maximize the foods that provide a variety of antioxidants to help minimize oxidative stress. Aim to get one or more servings from each of these colors of produce daily:


In addition to lean protein, regularly eating foods rich in omega-3 fats can help reduce inflammation and lower blood fats, which in turn helps prevent heart disease and diabetes and may slow the progression of arthritis and neurological disorders, such as MS, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. The best sources of omega-3 fats come from fatty fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and trout.

Other sources of omega-3 fats are walnuts and chia, hemp, and flax seeds. But it's important to know that these foods have a different type of omega-3 fat that requires a much larger amount to have the same beneficial effects. If eating fatty fish twice a week isn’t realistic for you, then a fish oil supplement may be worth including in your daily routine. Consider talking with a physician or registered dietitian nutritionist to determine the amount of supplement that’s right for you.

Be sure to also include vegetable oils (especially olive oil, avocado oil, and walnut oil), along with nuts and seeds, to get a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which helps reduce cholesterol and inflammation.


Refined, processed carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, pasta, crackers, muffins, cookies, and other low fiber, starchy foods get absorbed quickly by the gut and can increase blood sugar, which in turn increases the risk of weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes. Some studies have shown that a Paleo diet can improve cholesterol and diabetes, and some people use a version of the Paleo diet as part of the treatment for slowing the progression of MS.


Primarily found in animal products, such as red meat and full fat dairy products, saturated fat is also high in coconut, coconut oil, and foods containing palm or coconut oils. Saturated fats are known to raise LDL cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. One study found that people with MS are at higher risk for heart attack and stroke than people who don’t have MS, so choosing lean protein sources as part of a Paleo diet would be beneficial to people with MS and for people at increased risk of heart disease or diabetes.

Examples of lean Paleo protein foods include fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, eggs, pork tenderloin, 90% lean ground beef, and lean cuts of beef.


Vitamin D is very important for bone health, and more and more research is showing that healthy vitamin D levels are important for heart health, autoimmune diseases, and preventing diabetes. For all of these reasons, it’s important to know your blood level for vitamin D, which can be determined with a simple blood test.

There are several ways to get vitamin D:

· Spending 15 minutes in the sun each day

· Eating foods that contain vitamin D, such as oily fish, beef liver, eggs, and foods fortified with vitamin D.

· Taking a vitamin D supplement

How much vitamin D you need depends on current blood levels, age, diet, and health conditions. Since the Paleo diet does not include dairy (a major source of vitamin D), a supplement may be necessary to get the recommended amount each day.

Because the Paleo diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and healthy fats, it offers many valuable nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and improve many health conditions. Incorporating additional aspects of the Paleo lifestyle, such as daily activity and stress management will further improve overall health.


1. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Living-Well-With-MS/Diet-Exercise-Healthy-Behaviors/Diet-Nutrition

2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/1476830514Y.0000000117#.V4RxFaJy4sI

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23364857

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065662/

5. http://ijmsc.org/doi/full/10.7224/1537-2073.2013-006?code=cmsc-site

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065662/

7. http://www.touchneurology.com/articles/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-possible-role-multiple-sclerosis

8. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Research/Research-News-Progress/Vitamin-D

9. https://bmcneurol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2377-11-31

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