The pain and swelling you experience with an injury is actually a good thing. That kind of temporary inflammation acts as your strongest ally by reminding you to rest so the injury can heal.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is one of your body’s stealthiest enemies. Medical research has found that chronic inflammation can be an underlying cause for many debilitating conditions, including allergies, depression, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Hundreds of illnesses that modern medicine has classified as “unique and unrelated” are actually products of the same underlying balances in our bodies.
Chronic inflammation can simmer for years, wreaking havoc on your body. It might manifest as chronic pain or it could be silently compromising your internal organs and other disease-fighting cells without you even knowing it. It occurs when your immune system is overworked and your white blood cells start accumulating beyond what your body can tolerate, because they can’t find a legitimate infection to fight off.
So what can cause your immune system to work overtime? Research shows that weight gain and poor food choices could very well be the main culprits. Not only does weight gain lead to inflammation, certain foods that we eat actually cause unnecessary inflammation – by avoiding these, we can help bring our immune system back into balance. And bonus! There are also plenty of wonderful foods you can easily add to your diet that reduce inflammation.
Our plant kingdom is filled with naturally anti-inflammatory nutrients - eat more of these foods:
- Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower
- Tomatoes, beets and leafy greens
- Tuna, salmon and other fatty fish
- Olive oil, garlic, ginger, turmeric and parsley
- Almonds, walnuts and macadamias
- Seeds – pumpkin, hemp and flax
- Berries and citrus fruits
- Tea, red wine, cocoa
Eat less of these foods:
- Processed meats, red meats
- White flour - bread, pasta, pastries
- Fried foods, excess vegetable oils
- Margarine or lard
- Sugar, sodas, alcohol
There are several supplements that have been found to reduce inflammation, too.
- Omega 7 can lower CRP (a protein marker for systemic inflammation) by more than 40%
- Curcumin, which comes from turneric, reduces the low density lipoproteins found in cholesterol
- Magnesium can lower blood pressure and control blood sugar
- Resvertol (an ingredient in red wine) helps protect arteries and inhibits blood clots
- Cocoa flavonoids help the body synthesize nitric acid, which iscritical for healthy blood flow
- Boswella lowers inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis
The best way to permanently decrease chronic inflammation is to make better choices with your die, exercise routines and stress management. Now go enjoy a lovely salmon dinner with lots of veggies and a glass of red wine!