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5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods Women Should Be Eating

5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods Women Should Be Eating

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, Ashermans 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 Hashimotos 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

Salmon- incredible anti-inflammatory food for fertilityThis 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 cold water fish such as mackerel, sardines or trout.

2. Pineapple

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

Turmeric- Anti-inflammatory spice for fertilityLavishly 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 an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. Each day, measure out 2 tablespoons into a clean coffee grinder. Grind into a fine powder. Add to meals, smoothies, whole grain cereals and salads.

5. Dark Leafy Green Vegetables

broccoliDark 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.

References

Dalene Barton-Schuster - Certified Herbalist, Birth Doula

Practicing natural health and herbalism for over 18 years, Dalene received her training and herbal certification under the guidance of Lynn Albers at Yarmony Mt. Herbal College in Colorado in 2000. She went on to become a Certified Birth Doula at Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, Oregon in 2007. As a Birth Doula, Dalene has helped to bring many new lives in to this world. Dalene has written 280+ fertility articles and with her vast array of herbal and holistic healing knowledge has helped 1000’s of women on their journey to Motherhood.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Is it true that we need some inflammation to ovulate. Will taking anti-inflammatory supplements prevent ovulation occurring?

    • Dear Anna,

      Anti-inflammatory supplement will not prevent ovulation from occurring. For ovulation to occur, a small fluid filled tissue sac (the follicle) needs to rupture. In a sense this is an acute inflammatory responcse. Acute inflammation is necessary for the body to begin healing, e.g. when one has an injury, infection and or damaged tissue. Inflammation protects the area while the body begins to heal or fight. It is when inflammation is chronic that it presents a myriad of challenges. Anti-inflammatory supplements work to help the body maintain a healthy inflammatory response and reduce unwanted symptoms.

      I hope that is a simplified helpful response. There are many explanations of inflammation, the need for it and when it becomes a problem on the web. Consider also talking to your herbalist or healthcare provider if you need a more technical explanation.

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