Acute inflammation is your body’s natural and helpful immune response to tissue damage. When you fall off your bike and cut yourself, the cut swells, reddens and feels inflamed. These are all signs that your immune system is busy at work sending white blood cells to the site of your injury to repair the tissue. In this situation, inflammation is a good thing.
Chronic, out of control internal inflammation is NOT a good thing, however. Chronic inflammation is thought to increase your risk for heart disease and some cancers. It is also thought to be a deterrent to fat loss.
Chronic inflammation is thought to be caused by a barrage of environmental, physical and mental invaders. These come in the form of things like poor diet, toxic chemicals, allergens, poor sleep habits, and stress.
Chronic inflammation is hard to detect, but it can cause a host of health problems. If you think you may be at risk for chronic inflammation, it might be worth getting a check up. There are blood tests your doctor can do to see if you have underlying hidden inflammation in your body.
There are simply dietary changes you can start doing immediately that may help you if you think you suffer from chronic internal inflammation.
Tips to Reduce Chronic Inflammation
1). Include fresh and dried herbs in your nutrition plan. Basil, chili peppers, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, and ginger, too.
2). Eat berries and tart cherries. Berries and tart cherries have anti-inflammatory properties, not to mention anti-oxidants and fiber. Lots of good stuff in those berries!
3). Take a fish oil supplement or eat fish 2 times a week. Fish is high in Omega-3 fatty acids which are thought to help decrease inflammation.
4). Cook with olive oil. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that keeps inflammation down.
5). Drink brewed green tea. Green tea contains a compound called ECGC that is thought to decrease inflammation (I’m drinking green tea as I write this post!!).
6). Eat dark leafy greens as often as you can.
Making these simple changes will not only have you eating healthier—it just may help you reduce internal inflammation.
For more information on an anti-inflammatory diet, check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s website: http://www.drweil.com/.
The list above gives you ideas of what foods to ADD to your life to reduce chronic inflammation. We should also discuss a few things we should minimize in our diets to help decrease inflammation. These include:
1) Hydrogenated oils
2) Added sugar
3) Products made with wheat flour
Also, if you know you are allergic to something or just somewhat sensitive to it (soy or gluten, for example), it’s a good idea to minimize it in your diet. If your allergic or sensitive to it, it’s possible it will create an internal inflammatory response in you.
Always check with your doctor if you think you have a chronic inflammatory condition so that you can be set on the right path for your particular situation. In the meantime, try some of these dietary suggestions. Even if you don’t have chronic inflammation, you may find yourself eating just a little bit healthier!
Aside from dietary changes, the two other suggestions I’ll leave you with involve some lifestyle changes. The two best lifestyle changes to make if you’re not already doing them are:
1) Get yourself into a pattern of regular, restful sleep. Lack of sleep causes all sorts of disruptions in your body and can cause you to make poor food choices. First and foremost—fix your sleep!
2) Get yourself started on a regular exercise program. TONS of good things happen when you begin an exercise program! You’ll sleep better, drop excess body fat, reduce your stress, AND potentially improve a chronic inflammation situation!
If you’re in the San Jose, Campbell or Los Gatos area, I invite you to experience a free one-week trial at a lifeSport Fitness boot camp in San Jose so we can show you how to develop an “anti-inflammatory lifestyle” and have some FUN while you do it!
Committed to your success,