There is much talk lately about inflammation but what exactly is it, and what does it mean when our body shows signs of chronic inflammation? And more importantly, how can we treat it with an anti-inflammatory diet?
Your in-built immune system has been with you since you were born and is nature’s way of protecting you from germs and other foreign substances which could make you extremely poorly.
But sometimes your immune system goes into overdrive, and inflammation becomes, chronic inflammation, as a direct response to things such as too much junk food, stress, and more serious health issues such as heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
If you can reduce inflammation and follow an anti-inflammatory diet and make positive lifestyle choices, you will give yourself the best chance of avoiding life-changing, diseases and staying healthy long into old age.
CHOOSE AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET
Focus on plants.
Most vegetables and fruits are rich in protective compounds like antioxidants and polyphenols. Load up on spinach, kale, berries, and citrus fruit. Some vegetables like asparagus and sweet potatoes also serve as prebiotics that lines your gut and lower inflammation.
Limit refined carbohydrates.
On the other hand, foods like white bread and snack cakes have been stripped of fibre and nutrients. They encourage chronic inflammation and weight gain.
Steam and grill.
Your cooking methods matter too. Instead of frying with oil, try steaming with water or grilling with dry heat.
Moderate amounts of coffee also provide beneficial polyphenols. But steer clear of the flavored coffee creams that are full of artificial thickening agents and sweeteners.
Add lots of garlic.
Many natural seasonings have anti-inflammatory properties. Spread roasted garlic on bread or add it to mashed potatoes and homemade pizza.
Choose healthy fats.
Not all fats are created equal. Monounsaturated and omega-3 fats help to decrease inflammation. Good sources include olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish. By contrast, saturated fats aggravate inflammation, so go easy on red meat and whole fat dairy products. Avoid trans fats in your anti-inflammatory diet.
Lose weight and exercise regularly.
You can still experience chronic inflammation even if you are thin, but maintaining a healthy weight makes you less vulnerable. Exercising regularly has an overall positive effect on both your physical and mental well-being. Although you may ache a bit after a jog, it is only temporary, and any form of exercise will enhance your health in the long run.
Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is essential.
Quench your thirst with plain water and tea instead of diet drinks and fruit juices which can be laden with hidden sugars.
Brush and floss.
Bacteria from your mouth and gums can travel to the rest of your body, and cause inflammation. Aim to brush and floss for at least 2 minutes twice each day.
Use natural cleansers.
Check the labels on your household cleaners and personal beauty products. You may be able to avoid potential toxins by buying organic brands or using plain vinegar and baking soda. Always read the back of the label, and if the word parabens are included, then avoid it at all costs! It’s not just your diet that should be anti-inflammatory!
Stop smoking and limit alcohol. Tobacco and alcohol aggravate inflammation.
Many adults need more than one attempt to become tobacco-free, and combining nicotine therapy with counseling may lead to success this time.
Check your medication.
Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs have side effects that reduce inflammation. Always see if there is a more natural remedy to cure your symptoms, before rushing to take aspirins or statins
Most adults need about 8 hours of sleep to keep their minds and bodies strong. Go to bed and wake up on a consistent schedule and keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
Relax and refresh. Managing stress plays a major role.
Stress is a contributory factor in encouraging inflammation in your body. Find a relaxation practice that works for you such as daily meditation or taking long walks.
You can reduce chronic inflammation by watching what you eat and drink and making other positive lifestyle choices. Protect your wellbeing and support healthy aging by choosing an anti-inflammatory diet, and lifestyle.