Improvements in medical care and increased knowledge of the importance of good nutrition and exercise have many individuals seeking ways to live a longer and healthier life. While this is good news, there also seems to be an increase in previously uncommon health conditions, such as chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is most widely associated with common injuries, such as a sprained ankle or a broken finger. But it seems that many adults are suffering from chronic inflammation, often without even being aware.
This type of inflammation occurs internally and, although the connection is not always made, can potentially lead to major diseases and other conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more.
While research on the topic continues, it is largely believed that healthy lifestyle changes, including avoiding stress, eating healthy and staying active, can help combat this type of inflammation.
Learn to let it go
Stress is known to contribute to a long list of health issues, but it is possible that increased inflammation brought about by stress could be a contributing factor. There is no denying that today’s society is under a lot of stress. Even those who feel their lives are pretty well in order must still deal with the pressures of balancing family and work, and doing this on a daily basis over a period of several years or more can certainly lead to stress.
Weighing in on food and exercise
Being overweight causes undue stress on every part of your body. But the excess inflammation that goes along with even a few excess pounds could lead to health problems such as diabetes. Fortunately, we seem to be making great strides in understanding just how important diet and exercise are to our overall well-being. But when it comes to fighting inflammation with food, it seems what we eat is as important as what we don’t eat.
In with the good
Whether its tuna, salmon or sardines, be sure to up your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by consuming oily fish as your source of protein at least a few times a week. When choosing vegetables, go for the dark leafy greens-think broccoli, kale and spinach-as they are high in vitamin E. To spice up your dishes, add in fresh onions and garlic, which are known for their high anti-inflammatory chemical content, and be sure to use heart-healthy olive oil when preparing your foods. Lastly, when you crave something sweet, go for a big bowl of fresh berries that are full of antioxidants.
Out with the bad
Processed foods are almost never a good option, but if you must use them, read labels carefully and strictly avoid processed vegetable oils, and limit refined sugars and grains.
Stand up for exercise
Anyone who’s up on the latest health and fitness topics has probably heard about recent research that links sitting to a shortened lifespan. While that alone is a good enough reason to get moving, regular exercise is also known to reduce inflammation. As an added bonus, keeping active can also help with stress and weight gain, which are known contributors to chronic inflammation.