I like to avoid things like ibuprofen and other meds of that ilk. Mark Sisson had a good post on anti-inflammatory foods a while back. He listed things like:
But I want to go further.
What sort of foods or meds can I utilize to reduce acute inflammation after a rough workout or injury that fits within the paleo milieu?
P.S. Thanks for the clarifying questions y'all. I've updated this question to clarify.
Because I was looking for a specific list of paleo foods that have a positive effect on acute inflammation, and was not looking to debate the merit or mistake of attempting to reduce acute inflammation, I am reluctant to make Patrik's answer the answer. So I've gleaned from the whole page of answers and generated a comprehensive list of what people have suggested. I've put them all in one answer for efficiency's sake. Here we go...
Paleo sources of foods that have anti-inflammatory effects on acute inflammation include:
Another herb source I found:
Other suggestions include:
I hope this helps some people! Thanks everyone for your answers!
UPDATE: Mark Sisson tweeted this article that suggests that acute inflammation helps to heal wounds!
I think is less about eating "anti-inflammatory foods" than it is about not eating "inflammatory" foods.
BTW Mike Eades recommends krill oil in lieu of NSAIDs.
Do you want to reduce chronic inflammation? Or are you talking about acute inflammation?
Why do I ask? Acute inflammation is actually the first part of the healing process, and I don't know if it is desirable to reduce this inflammation? It is quite normal to experience inflammation if e.g. you sprain your ankle or pull a muscle.
The symptoms of acute inflammation actually try to change your behaviour in order to let the healing proces take place. Reducing acute inflammation could not be necessary.
A question I'd like to add (for the MD's or scientists or just smart people):
anti-inflammatory meds reduce inflammation by reducing the ability of the organism to produce inflammatory mediators (the so called inflammatory soup)?
anti-inflammatory 'foods' reduce inflammation by reducing the need of the organism to produce inflammation? So by reducing the root cause, while the above is more or less the symptomatic approach.
Does this make sense?
"What sort of foods or meds can I utilize to reduce inflammation after a rough workout or injury that fits within the paleo milieu?"
Don't. Immediately after a rough workout is the last time you'd want to reduce inflammation, I'd have thought. Pieter has already hit on the reason why: while reducing general chronic inflammation is a good thing (perhaps the most important single adjustment for health), you don't want to reduce specific, natural acute inflammation. I would have thought that targeted inflammation was crucial for recovery from exercise and especially for healing and rebuilding stronger, from exercise induced damage just as from a standard injury. The ideal would be to have very little background inflammation, but a robust inflammatory response when needs be. Hence why an excess of omega 3 relative to omega 6 would be a bad thing.
I seem to recall (but can't relocate) a study finding that taking large doses of omega 3 reduced the symptoms suffered for colds, but made the colds last longer, which would make sense. There was a similar finding regarding the effects of taking large doses of anti-oxidants after exercise: the antioxidants prevented the benefits associated with exercise occurring.
Following on from what pieter said, not all anti-inflammatory foods are anti-inflammatory by reducing the need for inflammation; an excess of omega 3 will reduce your bodies ability to produce an inflammatory response. Certainly I think that we ought to focus far more on reducing inflammation than maintaining it (hence why I think extra-paleo omega3:6 ratios might be a good idea, but the times when we would want inflammation would certainly be when we're sick, injured or recovering from exercise.
Many modern medicines are derived from plants, but only providing the active ingredient. Herbalists will argue that other co-factors in the plant work in conjunction with the active ingredient to make it more efficacious - and they are probably right in most cases, a primary motivation for supplying refined ingredients is to be able to patent and brand a normally generic substance.
A couple common herbs for inflammation, and their modern counterparts:
To reduce inflammation from acute injury. Paleo version: arnica. Modern version: Diclofenac.
To reduce systemic inflammation. Paleo version: Willow bark. Modern version: Aspirin.
Of course, a proper paleo diet will reduce systemic inflammation. Inflammation is a constant battle in the human body though, so eating a diet rich in ginger, turmeric and other plant-based anti-inflammatories isn't a bad idea.
It is almost always worthwhile to attempt to reduce inflammation from acute injuries. While some inflammation opens up blood vessels and brings more nutrients to the area of injury, too much inflammation can restrict flow and have the opposite effect. The body is greatly tuned to over-exaggerate the inflammation response in acute injuries. This is because inflammation not only starts the healing process, but it immobilizes the injury. Think of a sprained ankle or broken bone: the goal of the excessive amounts of inflammation in these injuries can cause is immobilization, allowing the animal partial usage of a damaged limb. Healing is almost always faster when the inflammation response can be toned down a little. Corticosteroids, which are definitely not paleo, likely go way too far in reducing the inflammation response beyond what is necessary for proper healing, but herbal anti-inflammatories aren't going to have nearly that great of an effect.
Another way of reducing acute inflammation is an ice bath, or contrast hydrotherapy (alternating cold/hot water every minute or two).
Another herbal concoction that I like to take after an acute injury is "Dr Christopher's Bone Flesh and Cartilage" (BFC). This is just a recipe for a set of herbs that are useful in stimulating the healing process and providing nutrients needed for healing, any quality herbalist will carry this recipe.
As a non-consumable but helpful solution, try using Epsom salts to soak in your bathtub. This can ease sore muscles and give you a boost of magnesium at the same time. Check out things like http://www.essortment.com/lifestyle/benefitsusesep_skry.htm
Also. when I had knee replacements and had inflammation I took bromelain and turmeric capsules to counteract the inflammation. It worked as well as the NSAID's they originally put me on, with a lot less health risk.
Omega-3 fatty acids are pretty effective anti-inflammatories, particularly when combined with reducing O-6 fats. A tablespoon of fish oil in event of an injury wouldn't be unreasonable to me.
Acid / base balance can also affect inflammation in some people, for certain types of inflammation. You might try a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, and see if that gives you any relief. In some people, the relief can be sudden and dramatic (within a minute of finishing the drink); I've experienced that myself many times. Alka Selzer Gold is a better tasting alternative to baking soda alone (also very effective for treating allergy flare-ups in some people).
There are also a number of micronutrient deficiencies that can make you more susceptible to inflammation. Microtoxins can also aggravate things, particularly when combined with micronutrient deficiencies.
And of course ice is another good approach, particularly for acute and localized inflammation.
Ibuprofen is a very benign substance. It seems to be an analogue for endogenous eicosanoid hormones, triggering diverse anti-inflammatory pathways. It is so safe that I refer to it as Vitamin I. It is basically just a stronger version of the anti-inflammatory drugs that are in turmeric, etc.
Another old herbal medicine for topical use is castor oil. I suspect that the "extra-virgin" extractions methods for castor oil yielding a clear product are not as effective as the older, high temperature pressing that yields a yellow product. The free fatty acid ricinoleate is the active ingredient in castor oil, and high temperature pressing of oil produces free fatty acids. So buy cheap, crude castor oil at a store catering to Indians or Mexicans rather than the fancy stuff at the drug store.
Acute injuries were the cause of death for paleos and HGs. This is one instance where modern medicine is prudent.