It’s nearly impossible to scan health headlines without seeing this buzzword–but what is inflammation, really?
First, it is important to realize there are two different types of inflammation.
Acute inflammation is an essential part of the healing process. It signals our immune system that we have an injury and enables healing. Fever, heat, pain, swelling–all are symptoms of acute inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is startlingly common and is the #1 cause of free radical production. It is a response to a low-level injury or ongoing internal stress signals. Whatever is “injured” in your body isn’t able to be healed, as with an acute injury. It’s like having a sore on the inside of your body that never heals. It is estimated that 75% of the population have silent inflammation and do not realize it.
One common reason for chronic inflammation is poor food choices. Highly processed, sugary foods are extremely hard on the body and can actually injure your organs.
Diet is estimated to be up to 80% responsible for reversing or reducing inflammation. This is because micronutrients are essential to create healthy body responses to inflammation signals.
Unlike many dietary goals, you’ll start reaping the benefits of anti-inflammatory foods as soon as you take your first bite.
Lifestyle factors to reduce chronic inflammation include:
- Adequate sleep
- Reduce chronic stress
- Drink enough good water
- Whole-food, micronutrient-rich supplements
- Healthy fats
- Foods with Natural Color
- Ancient or wild foods
Fatty fish: Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines give the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Algae and seeds: For vegetarians, you can get your healthy fats in algae and seeds like chia, walnut and brazil nuts.
Fiber: Whole, raw fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber. Fiber stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria; it sweeps the gut clean; and it supports DNA integrity.
Foods of Color: Any dark leafy green; and all fruits, contain powerful antioxidants that help to control chronic inflammation.
Nuts: Nuts have anti-inflammatory properties and are natural sources of protein.
Olive oil: The thing that makes virgin olive oil tasty is also the reason for its anti-inflammatory properties. Oleocanthal, a compound found in olive oil, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Green tea: A 2010 study from Case Western Reserve University found that EGCG, the predominant polyphenol in green tea, may prevent arthritis through its inflammation-reducing properties.
Signs that you have less chronic inflammation
You’ll most likely begin to notice over time that it’s a bit easier to fight back against that seasonal flu or cold virus that everyone else is getting; or your knee is a bit less stiff after you pulled it the wrong way while working out the night before. Many people report just an overall feeling of vibrant well-being.
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