People who regularly consume foods known to reduce inflammation have a decreased chance of developing a disease associated with chronic inflammation.
There are many female reproductive issues associated with chronic inflammation such as endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids, Adenomyosis, Asherman’s syndrome, PID and ovarian cysts. Other diseases known to contribute to infertility that are linked to inflammation response are immunologically induced recurrent miscarriage, antisperm antibodies and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Many foods consumed daily have been shown to contribute to chronic inflammation. Avoiding these foods is important, but it is far easier to change your diet when you know what you should be eating. We all know that processed, refined foods should be swapped out for whole foods – this is the foundation for promoting healthy inflammatory response. In addition, there are specific foods that naturally inhibit inflammation…
There are 5 anti-inflammatory foods women should be consuming weekly to support proper inflammatory response. These foods inhibit prostaglandin PGE2 (proinflammatory response) production, by increasing PGE1 levels and promoting PGE3 levels, which block PGE2 production.
1. Alaskan Wild Salmon
This cold water fish is high in the omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). DHA and EPA increase PGE1 and promote the PGE3 pathway.
Eat Alaskan wild salmon 2-3 times per week, or substitute with other coldwater fish such as mackerel, sardines or trout.
Bromelain is a Protease plant enzyme, found in the core of the pineapple fruit. Bromelain is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to increase cervical mucous and possibly the chance of implantation in early pregnancy.
Consume pineapple 3-5 times weekly, with some of the core still intact. Pineapple is excellent in smoothies with blueberries, mint and a little fresh ginger root. Make sure the pineapple is fresh or frozen, never canned, as this contains too much sugar and nearly none of the core is intact. Freshly juicing it is another delectable option.
3. Pungent herbs: Garlic, Ginger, & Turmeric
Lavishly add these three to all your dishes! Garlic, ginger and turmeric are deeply immune enhancing herbs, that have also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body by shutting down inflammatory pathways.
Add fresh sliced garlic to all dishes. This is one herb I use abundantly in most all foods I make at home. From homemade salad dressings, nut dips, soups and casseroles.
Freshly grated or sliced ginger is warming and healing. Delicious in Asian dishes. Add a 1-2 inch square of peeled fresh ginger root to a fresh juice blend – my favorite! Ginger tea is also wonderful after or in-between meals. It also supports healthy digestion, one of the first steps to healing inflammatory disease.
Turmeric is the yellow spice that colors curry and table mustard. Turmeric is high in curcumin, which has been shown to inhibit proinflammatory enzymes. Add the dried powder to stir fry, curry dishes, brown rice dishes, stews and soups.
4. Ground Flaxseed
High in fiber and essential fatty acids known to inhibit PGE2, flaxseed is an excellent way to help reduce chronic inflammation. The high fiber content also protects the gut from absorbing inflammatory toxins. The added benefit of ground flaxseed, it also promotes healthy estrogen metabolism.
To get the full benefit of this little seed, it is imperative to eat it freshly ground. The body cannot digest the whole seed and the benefits will pass on through stool. Store the seeds in a airtight glass container in the refrigerator. Each day, measure out 2 tablespoons to a clean coffee grinder. Grind into a fine powder. Add to meals, smoothies, whole grain cereals and salads.
5. Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
Dark leafy green vegetables such as seaweed, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, broccoli and spinach are high in vitamin E, fiber and phytonutrients shown to prevent disease. Vitamin E in particular protects the body from proinflammatory molecules known as cytokines. Be sure to lightly steam them, as this improves the bioavailability of the nutrients, while also allowing for healthy gastrointestinal mucosa. Try to eat 1-2 servings of at least one of these daily.
Any woman wanting to protect her reproductive health, or heal from a reproductive health issue, should eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods.
1. Black, Jessica K., N.D. The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book, Hunter House Publishers, 2006.