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Is Anti-Inflamatory Diet For You?

Updated: Feb 13




Wondering if you should know more about very popular wellness topic these days: the anti-inflamatory diet? Perhaps this is a basic knowledge to you, or you just want to be reminded what is it and how to re-create the path to healthier you.


What makes inflammation good or bad for your body is how long it stays around for.  You see, inflammation is your body’s way of protecting and healing itself. This is a good thing!  However, when it hangs around for weeks, months, or even years, this is where it becomes a problem.  This type of inflammation (chronic inflammation) is linked with a number of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, depression, and Alzheimer’s [substitute/add your ideal client’s inflammatory concerns].


There is some great news!  By using dietary and lifestyle habits to target chronic inflammation, you can prevent or reduce your risk of these diseases, plus others. Let me give you the scoop because this is not only possible, but very doable. Sometimes making small healthy habit changes can make a big difference. Research shows that there are foods, diets, and other lifestyle factors that are linked with lower levels of inflammation and lower risks for a ton of diseases.  I’m here to share those with you so you can start implementing these today.


This post is all about inflammation and the delicious and doable diet and lifestyle tips to help you reduce it.   


You may remember having a cut, sprain, or a sore throat. The area feels painful and hot, and looks red and swollen. These are telltale signs of inflammation. Inflammation is a natural and essential process that your body uses to defend itself from infections and heal injured cells and tissues.


Inflammation is sometimes compared to a fire. It produces specific biochemicals that can destroy invaders like bacteria and viruses, increase blood flow to areas that need it, and clean up debris. It can be a good thing. But, sometimes it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. 


Before we talk about the power that certain dietary and lifestyle habits can have on inflammation, let’s sort out the two different types of inflammation.


There are two kinds of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is short-lived. It’s like a flaming fire that produces the painful, red, hot, swollen symptoms described above. When inflammation is acute it’s usually at high levels in a small localized area in response to an infection or some kind of damage to the body. It’s necessary for proper healing and injury repair. 


When your cells detect an infection or damage they send out warning signals to call over your immune system to help out. Your immune system sends over many types of white blood cells to help fight off invading germs [bacteria/viruses/pathogens] and clean up damage so you can heal.


Symptoms of acute inflammation may need short-term treatment such as pain relievers or cold compresses. More serious symptoms like fever, severe pain, or shortness of breath may need medical attention. In general, acute inflammation goes away after the damage is healed, often within days or even hours. Acute inflammation is the “good” kind of inflammation because it does an essential job and then quiets itself down.



Chronic inflammation is different. It’s more of the slow-burning and smoldering type of fire. This type of inflammation can exist throughout your whole body at lower levels. This means that the symptoms aren’t localized to one particular area that needs it. Instead, they can appear gradually, and can last much longer—months or even years. This is the “bad” kind of inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is often invisible without immediate or serious symptoms, but over the long-term it’s been linked to many chronic diseases such as:

  • Acne, eczema, and psoriasis

  • Allergies and asthma

  • Autoimmune diseases (arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus)

  • Cancer

  • Chronic pain

  • Gastrointestinal disorders (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)

  • Heart disease and stroke

  • Lung diseases (emphysema)

  • Mental illnesses (anxiety, depression)

  • Metabolic diseases (type 2 diabetes)

  • Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s)


How does chronic inflammation begin? It may start acutely—from an infection or injury—and then instead of shutting off, it becomes persistent. Chronic low-grade inflammation can also occur with exposure to chemicals (e.g., tobacco) or radiation, consuming an unhealthy diet or too much alcohol, not being very physically active, feeling stressed or socially isolated, and having excess weight.


 

What are the foods and lifestyle habits to help reduce inflammation?


Now that we see that inflammation underlies so many of our medical conditions, here’s what to do to put out those slow-burning, smoldering fires. Nutrition and lifestyle tips for reducing chronic inflammation Studies show that reducing inflammation can reduce the risk of several of these conditions, including heart disease and cancer. There are medications used to help lower inflammation to treat some of these diseases such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologics. However, there are also several lifestyle changes—including a healthy diet—that can be very helpful to prevent and scale down inflammation to reduce its many damaging effects on the body.



Healthy Foods to Lower The Inflammation

“For chronic low-grade inflammation not caused by a defined illness, lifestyle changes are the mainstay of both prevention and treatment,” says Harvard Health. The good news is that anti-inflammatory foods help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of many diseases. In fact, it’s estimated that 60 percent of chronic diseases could be prevented with a healthy diet. Here’s how:


  1. EAT MINDFULLY... Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, oats, bran), nuts (almonds), seeds, fish, poultry, legumes (beans, lentils), and healthy oils (olive oil).

  2. ADD ANTIOXIDANT HIGH FOODS Pay particular attention to foods high in antioxidant polyphenols, including colorful plants such as berries, cherries, plums, red grapes, avocados, onions, carrots, beets, turmeric, green tea, and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.

  3. OMEGA -3 FATS HELP Omega-3 fats can help to reduce pain and clear up inflammation and are found in salmon, trout, mackerel, soy, walnuts, and flax.

  4. INCREASE DIETARY FIBER High fiber foods (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes) encourage friendly gut microbes to help reduce inflammation.

  5. Limit inflammatory foods such as red and processed meats, fried foods, unhealthy fats, sugary foods|drinks, refined carbohydrates, and ultra-processed foods (microwaveable dinners, dehydrated soups).


Healthy Habits to lower the inflammation

Chronic, long-term, low-level inflammation is linked with many health issues. The first approach to preventing and improving this is through food and lifestyle changes. Start by focusing on adding colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish to your diet. Then layer in lifestyle upgrades like physical activity, restful sleep, and stress management. Following steps will help you in getting started.


  1. Be physically active

  2. Get enough restful sleep

  3. Quit smoking and limit alcohol

  4. Manage your stress and socialize

  5. See your doctor or dentist




Many nutritional changes can be integrated into your day-to-day practices. If you don't know where to start, try recipes from our Anti-inflammatory Pack







Resources

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