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Natural Solutions for Inflammation

Inflammation is at the root of so many issues in the human body. In this blog post I shared some of the best natural remedies for lowering inflammation.
Jul 14, 2015 | Joy McCarthy

There have been times throughout my life where I've felt very inflamed. When I was training for a half marathon in Miami several years ago I wasn't eating as well as I do now or taking any supplements to combat the effects of all the exercise was doing. Looking back at photos of myself, despite being able to run an hour and a half with no problem, I was the fattest I've ever been and I looked puffy. Even my boobs were gigantic!

It wasn't until I got inflammation under control and started doing yoga instead of intense running that I was able to lose the water retention and feel amazing. Then again in my mid-20's inflammation ensued with chronic wrist pain and was wearing a "Tensor" bandage all the time despite not actually spraining my wrist. It wasn't until I ditched my daily cappuccino and said goodbye to cow's milk as well as significantly reducing my gluten consumption that the pain completely disappeared. Again, reducing inflammation by cutting out trigger foods was the key to being pain-free. 

I don't think I've ever written a post entirely devoted to talking about this topic but it's an important one.

Inflammation is the root of most people's health concerns.

Get inflammation under control and weight loss is easier, skin glows, pain disappears and cancer as well as heart disease risk is significantly reduced. That just scratches the surface. I've experienced the health benefits first hand of reducing inflammation and if you've consulted with me as a client or done the Joyous 10-day Detox, as well as took the right supplements to reduce inflammation, you've likely experienced the same amazing results!

I'm going to break it down for you by explaining what inflammation is and habits that increase and decrease inflammation.

What is inflammation?

Generally speaking, inflammation is your body’s immune response to a stimulus. It can be caused by pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi), foods that you are sensitive to, external injuries or foreign objects, chemicals or radiation. It can also be caused by conditions or diseases and inflammation can cause the disease as well (see below). Anything ending in “-itis” indicates inflammation i.e. sinusitis, dermatitis, arthritis

The five hallmark signs of acute inflammation are redness, swelling, heat, pain and loss of function. Severe inflammation can cause more general reactions in the body, such as feeling sick, exhausted or having a fever. These indicate the immune system is very active and requires a lot of energy to operate.

During inflammation, immune cells release different inflammatory mediators (e.g., bradykinin, histamine), causing narrow blood vessels to expand and let more blood reach the injured tissues (why skin gets red and hot)

Inflammatory mediators also increase permeability of blood vessels to allow more immune cells to reach injured tissue. These cells carry more fluid to the affected area, which is why it swells

The problem is that often the trigger of inflammation is not actually a threat to your survival but your body sees it as a threat.

For example, you chronically eat cheese and drink cow's milk. These foods are common inflammatory triggers so your body lives in a state of chronic inflammation resulting in symptoms. You're a smart person, so you visit your MD who puts you on a medication to reduce inflammation but this is not addressing the root cause!

Inflammation can also cause disease (e.g., arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)

Habits That Increase Inflammation:

Exposure to toxins: chemicals in our environment such as pesticides, pollution, drugs, alcohol and chemicals in personal care products can contribute to inflammation

Diet: eating allergenic foods, eating nutrient-poor foods (many nutrients are anti-inflammatory, more on that in my next post) or eating a diet high in inflammatory foods (things like sugar and omega-6 fatty acids without adequate omega 3s to counterbalance are pro-inflammatory)

Mental/emotional stress: the chemicals your body releases when it’s stressed (e.g., adrenaline and cortisol) contribute to inflammation

Overexercising/working out while injured: inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury. Continuing to physically stress an inflamed area will lead to further inflammation and prevent healing.

Not exercising enough: Being out of shape also ups your risk of injury.

Habits That Decrease Inflammation:

Limit your exposure to toxins: use natural personal care and household cleaning products, buy organic when possible, look into air filters.

Limit your intake of pro-inflammatory foods: such as sugar and artificial sweeteners, processed oil products, smoked and cured meats, yeast, dairy, gluten-containing grains and other high-allergenic or sensitivity provoking foods

Improve your digestive health: consider a probiotic supplement, eat fermented foods

Stress-reducing exercises: meditation, breathing exercises, yoga and anything that helps reduce mental/emotional stress, even just taking time out to do something you love, can help reduce the amount of stress chemicals floating around in your body

Exercise that is appropriate to your fitness level: improving your fitness will mean your body’s less likely to get injuries that will result in inflammation

Increase your intake of foods rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients: if you find it difficult to get these nutrients via food, you may want to consider supplements.

Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients:

  • Vitamin C (brightly coloured fruits and veggies)
  • Omega-3 EFAs (cold-water fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, spirulina)
  • Carotenoids - vitamin A precursor – (orange/red fruits and veggies)
  • Curcumin, the active plant medicine in turmeric

I truly hope this information helps you feel your most joyous healthy self. You deserve it!

Have a joyous day!


Tiffany   •   July 14, 2015

Is curcumin ok to take while breastfeeding?

Joy McCarthy   •   July 15, 2015

Crystal Westland   •   July 15, 2015

Hi Joy! I love your writing and cookbook - I'm happy to report that it's very well used in my kitchen:) Would you be able to tell me what the name is of the supplement from Gen Health? I think that The site flipped me away from the link for some reason... Thank you!

Joy McCarthy   •   July 15, 2015
Joy McCarthy   •   July 15, 2015

Louise Gagne   •   July 29, 2015

Hi Joy: Thank you for this and I look forward to your next blog. I live in Leamington ON so know of what you say when you speak about the heat - it's really HOT here right now too. What is it about it here this year that has brought out joint pain? Not nice! I have just been diagnosed with RA and am trying very hard to control it with diet as the doctor's insist on putting me on medication that will erupt my ulcer again! Am eating cherries either juice/fresh/frozen, turmeric, ginger, onions, garlic, omega 3 fish, strawberries, sweet potatoes, celery - having problems with nuts these days so am staying away from them. So think I'm doing a lot of what needs to be done to help with the joint pain, but it's still here. Also, I have purchased some gloves on-line that I think are helping me (Tommy Copper) and think might just help someone else with this problem as well. (Not getting paid to advertise either :-) ) If you have any advice, I sure could use a bit of help - your blog is a great resource and I always look forward to reading it when I get your emails. Thank you again Joy - have a great day/week.


Tiffany   •   December 7, 2015

Hi! Do you think infrared sauna's are helpful in reducing inflammation?


Gudrun   •   April 29, 2017

A great big thank you, I have been looking for ways to reduce my inflammation. This explains how I got it and how I can hopefully get rid of it. My joints have never hurt like this before and I think it's the inflammation. Your information is so valuable to me so again thank you thank you thank you. From Gudrun

Rachel Molenda   •   May 1, 2017

Rishi   •   March 27, 2018

Where do we get this medicine fast arthertis relief.medicine

Rachel Molenda   •   March 28, 2018

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