Inflammation is part of the body’s response to injury and disease. In the short term, it helps the body heal. However, long-term inflammation can cause or worsen chronic health conditions.

Natural remedies for inflammation can reduce the overall levels of inflammation in the body and improve overall health. Some people may also find that reducing inflammation relieves the symptoms of conditions such as arthritis.

This article will look at a range of natural remedies for inflammation, including:

  • dietary approaches
  • lifestyle changes
  • supplements
  • current remedies

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to disease. It causes dilation of blood vessels, which allows more white and red blood cells to reach the damaged areas of the body.

In the short term, inflammation is beneficial. Acute inflammation helps the body heal from things like injuries or infections. However, in the long run, inflammation can be harmful.

Chronic inflammation is involved in many health conditions, such as arthritis, autoimmune conditions, and inflammatory bowel disease. According to one Article 2020, chronic inflammatory diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide.

Inflammations make it possible to reduce inflammation naturally. However, the extent to which natural remedies work may depend on the cause of the inflammation.

For example, someone with a recurrent infection will have inflammation as a result of the infection. Natural remedies can help reduce the symptoms, but they will not address the underlying problem.

If a person is concerned that inflammation is affecting his or her health, he or she can benefit from talking to a doctor about his or her symptoms.

One of the main ways that people can reduce inflammation naturally is through their diet. A diet that contains a lot of saturated fats and refined sugar is associated with higher tariffs of inflammation. Foods with a high glycemic index, such as refined carbohydrates, can also contribute.

These foods are common in the typical western diet. However, it is possible to start an anti-inflammatory diet by doing simple exchanges. For example, start by reducing the amount of processed, sweetened, or fried foods in your diet and adding more:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are important sources of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants, which can protect against inflammation.
  • Nuts and seeds: These foods are good sources of healthy vitamins, minerals and fats. Tonsils, in particular, are associated with a lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Fiber: According to the 2020 article, fiber is associated with lower levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which is an inflammatory cytokine. People can increase their fiber intake by eating foods such as beans, legumes and whole grains.
  • Herbs and spices: Many herbs and spices, such as turmeric, are anti-inflammatory. Turmeric contains turmeric, which is an ingredient that has positive effects on people with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, according to a Review 2018.
  • Polyphenols: Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant. People can get polyphenols from black or green tea and berries.
  • Healthy fats: Anti-inflammatory fats — such as those found in fish, olives, and avocados — are healthy alternatives to saturated fats. Oily fish contains omega-3, which is associated with lower levels of inflammatory compounds such as TNF.

Another way that diet can reduce inflammation is by helping people achieve or maintain a moderate weight.

Obesity is a risk factor for inflammation that is independent of a person’s diet. This is due to the substances that the fatty tissues in the body release, some of which affect the levels of inflammation. This means that even if one eats a balanced diet, excess body weight can still affect their levels of inflammation.

Learn more about achieving a moderate weight, along with diet plans and ideas, here.

Many aspects of a person’s lifestyle can affect levels of inflammation. This includes:

  • sleep
  • exercise
  • mental health
  • environmental factors, such as pollution
  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol
  • hormone health
  • aging

Below you can help someone reduce inflammation levels:

Stop smoking

Quitting smoking can help reduce inflammation. It also reduces the risk of many inflammatory conditions and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increases the risk of 10 years for the longevity of a person.

Get 11 tips to help you quit smoking here.

Getting regular exercise

Regular exercise works to reduce inflammation in several ways. For example, it can help people maintain a moderate weight, improve their mental health, and directly reduce the amount of inflammatory chemicals in the body.

A 2017 study also suggests that taking just 20 minutes of moderate exercise may be enough to reduce TNF levels. The authors note that this may benefit people with low-grade inflammation.

Mental health care

Stress is a risk factor for many mental health conditions, and can also increase inflammation. However, reducing stress can be challenging.

Depending on a person’s circumstances, they may want to try:

  • given when stress arises
  • noticing situations or thoughts that often cause it
  • thinking about ways to manage triggers, such as seeking help, delegating tasks, or talking to a friend
  • creating time for relaxing activities, such as yoga, meditation, creative hobbies or being outdoors
  • talking to a therapist or counselor, especially if chronic stress or anxiety is affecting your daily life or physical health

Learn how to find a therapist online for free or at a low cost here.

Getting quality sleep

Disruption of sleep also affects levels of inflammation as well as mental health.

However, because many things can cause sleep disturbance, better sleep may look different from person to person. For example, it could mean:

  • establishing a regular sleep schedule
  • creating time to rest before bed
  • making the sleeping environment dark, quiet and cool
  • avoiding screens and blue light in the evening
  • addressing underlying sleep or mental health conditions that may prevent quality sleep

Parents and caregivers can also benefit from helping to care for babies who wake up at night.

Balancing hormones

Hormone health support can also help regulate inflammation levels. Sex hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, have an effect on the production and secretion of inflammatory molecules in male and female.

Quality sleep, a balanced diet, stress management and regular exercise all have a positive effect on sex hormones. However, people with underlying conditions – such as polycystic ovary syndrome – may need extra help from a doctor to address hormonal imbalances.

Learn more about balancing sex hormones naturally here.

For many people, making changes in diet and lifestyle has a significant impact on inflammation levels.

However, for people with chronic inflammation or inflammatory health conditions, taking some supplements may help give a concentrated dose of an anti-inflammatory substance.

People may want to try:

  • Omega-3: People can find omega-3 in fish oil supplements or algae oil supplements.
  • Vitamin D: A Review 2011 notes that vitamin D inhibits the production of inflammatory substances in the body. People can get more vitamin D from safe exposure to sunlight or from dietary supplements.
  • Magnesium: According to one Article 2020, magnesium is one of the most anti-inflammatory nutrients. However, National Institutes of Health (NIH) say many people in the United States do not receive the recommended amount. Taking magnesium supplements can help with this.
  • Curcumin: Curcumin is an ingredient in turmeric. According to one Review 2018, there is evidence to suggest that curcumin may have a beneficial effect on a number of chronic diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, arthritis, some inflammatory digestive diseases, and premenstrual syndrome. However, greater studies are needed.

Talk to a doctor before starting any new supplements, as some may interact with existing conditions or current medications.

Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, can lower blood pressure. This makes them an unsafe choice for people with hypotension and those taking blood pressure medication.

For some people, topical remedies help reduce the pain and swelling of chronic inflammatory skin diseases, such as eczema.

A Summary 2013 suggests that the following natural remedies can reduce inflammation in the skin:

  • aloe vera gel
  • witch hazel water
  • colloidal oatmeal, which people can add to baths
  • ointments containing German chamomile, marshmallow or yarrow root

However, it is important to note that many of the studies in this review are laboratory or animal studies, and their results may not apply to humans.

Always talk to a doctor before trying natural treatments for chronic skin diseases and always do a patch test before applying remedies to inflamed areas of the skin.

Natural remedies for inflammation include a range of approaches, such as making changes to diet, sleep, and exercise routines. People can also benefit from taking specific supplements or testing current remedies for inflammatory skin conditions.

If chronic inflammation is a concern or can cause symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor.