Inflammation can be tough on a body, and this is especially true for athletes who challenge their bodies to constantly perform better. Inflammation is actually a normal part of training. After a hard workout, inflammation occurs naturally to help an athlete’s muscles heal so that they can recover and go on to ever more strenuous workouts in the future. Inflammation is a direct reaction to damage on a cellular level. Anytime you have a tough workout, your body activates an inflammatory cascade that alerts cells to heal whatever damage was done. remember that when you work out, you’re causing micro tears in your muscles and the healing is what allows the fibers to become bigger and stronger. That means inflammation can be a sign of progress in the gym. The challenge is determining when inflammation becomes a hindrance instead of a benefit. Learn how anti-inflammatory supplements may help athletes achieve better performance.

When is inflammation too much of a good thing?

When athletes, including weekend warriors, over-exert themselves, too much inflammation can occur. Combined with not enough sleep, not allowing for recovery time, or an unhealthy diet, and the body can really suffer as a result. A little soreness can be expected after an extra hard workout; ongoing pain is an indication of too much inflammation and the body telling you it needs help to reduce that inflammation.

Options for treating inflammation

Modern society has benefited substantially from medical breakthroughs that provide us with medicines we take for granted nowadays. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be helpful when suffering from too much inflammation but just like inflammation, too much of a good thing, including NSAIDs can cause the body more harm than good.  NSAIDs have been associated with gut damage and may actually impair training adaptations that help athletes recover from a hard workout and get stronger.

There is a more natural solution to help with inflammation. There are certain foods that tamp down inflammation by interrupting it at the cellular level. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and seafood, lower inflammatory markers, according to a study analysis from Pennsylvania State University. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, beans, nuts, seeds, and legumes are also good choices.

Curcumin may help athletes with inflammation and recovery

Natural anti-inflammatory ingredients such as curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) can help athletes preserve performance and properly recover from the rigors of exercise. Curcumin has long been known for its health benefits and medicinal qualities in treating a host of physical symptoms and ailments. However, turmeric extracts have more recently been recognized in the medical and alternative community for reducing inflammation within the body, and for easing the joint pain and swelling that accompany osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The challenge with curcumin is its low bioavailability, so consuming a curcumin product with liposomal delivery will help greatly enhance absorption of the product for better results.

While it might seem simple enough to pop a pill when you’re suffering from inflammation, there is an all-natural alternative that can give you the comfort you need and provide plenty of other benefits as well. The alternative is turmeric. Anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric may help athletes achieve better performance by keeping inflammation at bay. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, keeping turmeric on hand might just be the smart move to stay healthy and active.