Inflammation has been a buzzword for a long time, and headlines have linked it to all sorts of health complications. But what is it Where does it come from and how can we keep it in check?
And if you follow health news regularly, you are most likely to see stories about what foods can cause or reduce them. While there is no magic food for preventing chronic inflammation, understanding what it is, where it comes from, and how to adopt an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can protect you and your health from long-term inflammation.
But don't worry, not all inflammation is bad or harmful – some types can be beneficial. Here's why.
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Inflammation: what is it?
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic, both of which occur in our cells. Dr. Bill Cole, chiropractor and functional medicine expert and clinical nutritionist, explains it in simple terms: "Acute inflammation is the immune system's natural response to protect and heal injury or infection when chronic inflammation is prolonged or long-term inflammation can occur Increase risk of diseases such as heart disease and autoimmune diseases ”. It becomes chronic if the underlying causes of the inflammation are not properly addressed, leaving you feeling lousy, stiff, puffy, and tired.
So what causes chronic inflammation? According to Cole, there are numerous things that damage cells and lead to inflammation. “A diet high in processed sugar and fat is a major cause of inflammation,” he says. This may seem obvious, but inflammation lurks in many other places. "Toxic chemicals in the air, water, food, beauty products, cleaning products, medicines and other areas are a major source of cell damage and subsequent inflammation," he adds.
And that's not all: poor sleep and too much stress also negatively affect the body by creating long-term inflammation.
The good news is that knowing where it is coming from and how to reduce it can reduce inflammation.
It's not all bad!
In contrast to chronic inflammation, acute inflammation is actually beneficial. A sprained ankle, bee sting, and fever are all examples of inflammation, if it's a good thing. The body is an amazing machine designed to respond to trauma or injury in a way that promotes healing. Allison Barnes, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of R3bilt states, “t all inflammation is bad; In fact, most immune and healing processes throughout the body need a little inflammation to function. "
For example, the sore muscles you feel after the leg day is that your body is doing its job to heal torn muscle fibers and promote repair. The redness you will see around the cut while shaving is that your body is stimulating blood flow to the area to speed healing. Although you may experience pain after a workout or your ankle swell after a twist, these are the times when your body's immune system is doing its job to stay healthy. It is there to speed healing and protect the body.
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Where it's hiding
From having low magnesium levels to consuming certain spices, chronic inflammation can raise its ugly head in ways you may not be familiar with. "Some tricky spots that can easily increase your inflammatory processes unnecessarily are in little things like your salad dressings," warns Barnes. It all depends on the type of oil and sugar in your dressings.
“You want to stick to omega-3 oils and stay away from omega-6. Olive or coconut oils are good choices, ”says Barnes. Also, pay attention to the sugar content. "Sugar and omega-6 oils increase inflammation in the body very quickly," she adds. A great option is to use olive oil and vinegar or make your own dressing at home.
Magnesium deficiency is another trigger. Barnes explains that people with high markers of inflammation often have low levels of magnesium. "Over half of Americans aren't getting enough magnesium, so make sure you add a high-quality magnesium supplement or eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods like spinach, almonds, and chia seeds," says Barnes.
Increased stress, overtraining, the use of non-organic beauty products can also be triggers. Many household cleaners are loaded with chemicals that can trigger an inflammatory immune response.
A clean diet, responsible exercise, ways to reduce stress, and organic products with beauty and household products will all help reduce chronic inflammation and bring your body back into a healthy balance.
Foods that cause inflammation
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The foods (and drinks) you consume regularly will either nourish the fire or help fight it; and while you don't have to give up your cheat meal, removing foods that are highly processed, high in refined sugars, have bad fats, are deep-fried, contain MSG, and are heavily processed overall, is a good place to start.
Many foods today are filled with unnecessary ingredients such as food coloring and binders that steadily increase the body's inflammatory response. Granted, alcohol is not a food, but when consumed heavily it creates a potentially dangerous reaction and is better kept for a cheat meal or in moderation. Whatever you put into your body the most will play a huge role in how you feel and look.
How to Reduce Chronic Inflammation
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While there is no such thing as a magic bullet to cure chronic inflammation, an anti-inflammatory lifestyle along with a clean diet will get you on the right track.
In Latin, to ignite means to set fire to and to put out the fire, the elimination of the culprit (s) is key. "The first thing it takes to reduce or reverse inflammation is to identify and eliminate the underlying causes," says Cole. To get rid of it, we need to stop throwing gas on the fire.
And although our body is designed to heal, it is necessary to create an environment in the body that is conducive to healing. Cole explains, "This is an anti-inflammatory cellular healing environment that is best promoted by eating mostly organic whole foods, getting adequate rest, sleeping and exercising, and finding ways to reduce stress."
Remove and Replace: Swap inflammatory foods like highly processed meat and soda for fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, turmeric, ginger and olive oil, and add stress relieving activities to your life that you enjoy like hiking, exercising, reading , Breathing work, being present in nature. Anything That Can Relieve Stress – Do It!
Remember, just like with achieving a fitness goal, there isn't one meal or one activity that will get you there. The same goes for creating an anti-inflammatory body; it takes a lifestyle change; good food, good sleep, clean products, and finding ways to relieve stress.
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