Reducing inflammation during the holiday season

Christmas seasons are tough on those with chronic inflammatory conditions. Hives, rashes, chronic stuffy or runny noses, sinus infections, sore joints…these are all aggravated by foods that create inflammation. But what does that actually mean?

What kinds of things cause inflammation?

Inflammation is a natural response to something our system doesn’t like. Our body releases chemicals from cells to widen blood vessels and promote fluid movement, circulation, and an immune “attack” against what it sees as a problem.  Viruses and bacteria are examples of foreign invaders that create this response. 

Opening our blood vessels requires a number of factors, including the release of histamine from special cells called mast cells. 

Histamine can not only be released by certain kinds of foods, but our bodies can respond to certain foods’ with the release of histamine.

Histamine-rich foods

You do not have to be specifically allergic to these foods to have histamine reactions!
  • Alcohol (but red wine especially)
  • Citrus Fruit (oranges (ahem, clementines), lemon, grapefruit)
  • Banana, Kiwi, Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and Nut butters
  • Processed and cured meats (salami, ham)
  • Gluten
  • Dairy (*cheese*)
  • Soy and soy products

So, it is reasonable to assume if you are a person who suffers from any of the following:

Chronic headaches
Chronic pain
Celiac disease
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

…as a few examples of chronic inflammatory conditions…that you might want to be extra careful during the holidays to not load up on clementines, red wine and olives as your preferred holiday snacks.

It’s all about balance.

Rotate high histamine with low histamine foods.

Enjoy your holiday. Just remember, eating the histamine foods in moderation should be okay. Here are a few examples of low histamine foods:

Organic free-range chicken
Green beans
Sweet potato

Download this free PDF for a quick go-to guide of the common high and low histamine foods.

Other obvious anti-inflammatories

Sugar reduction. I think we ALL know that too much sugar doesn’t make you feel well, and there are numerous reasons we should all take a step back here!

Consider anti-inflammatories if you are prone to inflammation….

My personal favourites:

Vitamin C (2000-3000 mg) – but mind to not get these from oranges!

Omega-3 fish oils (2000 mg 3:1 EPA:DHA ratio) not only change how our immune system responds but decreases the use of inflammation-reaction pathways

Vitamin D (4000-5000 IU)

Turmeric (Curcumin) with active curcuminoids (and activated by black pepper) in capsule form for joint-related inflammation 

Stinging Nettle (in capsule or tea form) reduces swelling in the face and reduces itching. Check out the link to read its benefit in a research study above!

Boswellia (or Frankincense) is wonderful for joint and gut-related pain and inflammation 

Moderation, moderation, moderation.

No all-or-nothing. Enjoy the foods you like and mix the ones that are enjoyable that are also less inflammation-producing, and you’ll be able to have a pain and swelling-free holiday!

To your health!

Dr. Aoife ND

Please share if you feel this is useful for your inflammation-filled friends and family :)

Share this post