Benefits of Anti-Inflammatory Supplements for Athletes

benefits-of-anti-inflammatory-supplements-for-athletesThe benefits from regular exercise and fitness maintenance are immeasurable. A good workout produces increased energy, higher self-esteem, better athletic performance and overall improved general health and well-being.

Unfortunately, rigorous exercise can also generate joint pain and muscle soreness caused by inflammation. The ability to bounce back from a long run, intense game or marathon bicycle ride is essential to being fit, happy and healthy.

Well, there is good news for athletes. There are several anti-inflammatory supplements on the market that can help to alleviate pain. Most are available at any local health food store and when combined with a healthy, balanced diet can ensure your body has the necessary nutrients to exercise and recover. Consult your physician, of course, before taking any of these supplements.

Fish Oils – These omega-3 fatty acids are commonly known for their ability to help lower cholesterol and improve circulation. Recent studies have also lauded their anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, fish oil helps ease joint pain and other symptoms related to arthritis. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it has fewer side effects than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. When taken daily, fish oil can reduce short-term back, shoulder and neck pain. Typically, fish oil comes in a gel capsule or liquid form.

Turmeric – Make sure that the turmeric has curcumin listed prominently on the bottle since it is the anti-inflammatory molecule in the turmeric root. It’s a relative of ginger, which is also available as a supplement. Most people are familiar with curcumin as a spice in curry or other Indian food. Turmeric does not easily absorb into the bloodstream so it should be taken with a black pepper extract which accelerates absorption properties. It is a powerful antioxidant that blocks NF-kb molecules and reduces enzymes that cause inflammation. Turmeric is available in capsules and liquid form.

CoQ10 – Or the co-enzyme, Q10, is also a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals in the bloodstream. A report from the Journals of Gerontology, Study A, showed that CoQ10 could be effective when paired with a Mediterranean diet (olive oil, fruit, and vegetables) in helping to reduce joint pain and arthritic symptoms. CoQ10 can also enhance the anti-inflammatory properties of Vitamin E, reducing blood levels of C-reactive protein, which are an accurate indicator of inflammation.

Probiotics – We all have probiotics living in our digestive tracts. Fermented dairy products and pickled vegetables are excellent sources of probiotics, which fight infection sources like harmful microbes. Probiotics are beneficial for athletes because they also reduce C – reactive protein that creates inflammation. Probiotic supplements are available in capsule, tablet and liquid forms and are available in any natural foods or nutrition store.

Golden Milk – This is the only milk athletes should drink. It’s a combination of coconut oil, almond milk, water and turmeric, which is made into a paste by blending the ingredients in a pot and cooking it slowly on a stovetop. Honey or ginger can be added for flavor. Drink it in the evening or after a workout and the curcuminoid will block the inflammatory pathways preventing the protein that triggers pain and swelling in muscles and joints.

Each of these supplements will help reduce inflammation. But avoiding certain inflammatory foods and food groups is equally important for athletes.

All processed foods are harmful. Limit the intake of refined grains, such as pasta, pizza, cereal or white bread. Milk is another product that can create problems. The more it is processed the more inflammatory it becomes. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are prevalent in snack foods and soft drinks. Sugar is more addictive than some narcotics. By the time it’s refined and processed it contains none of the original, natural elements of sugarcane. Synthetic sweeteners are not a viable alternative either. Vegetable oils, such as soy, corn, sunflower, canola or any other hydrogenated oil, should be avoided and the fried foods which are often prepared with those oils. When preparing meals, stick to extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, whenever possible.

Staying healthy and fit demands not only routine exercise and athletic activities, but a keen sense of nutrition.