FWhat is inflammation? Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself from infections, illness or injury. As part of the inflammatory response, your body increases production of white blood cells, immune cells, and substances called cytokines that help fight infection. However, inflammation itself can be harmful if it becomes chronic. Classic signs of acute inflammation include redness, pain, heat and swelling. Chronic inflammation often occurs inside your body without noticeable symptoms.
How can your diet affect inflammation? Foods associated with excess inflammation are also associated with increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, not surprising since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.
To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet and consult an expert in nutrition. Avoiding processed foods and aiming for a balanced diet that boosts intake of whole foods which are nutrient dense and contain antioxidants will help to reduce inflammation. Make sure to include whole grains, fruits or vegetables, and healthy fats and proteins in every meal.
So what foods contribute to inflammation in the body? Food or drinks high in sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, foods that are highly processed, and excessive consumption of alcohol can all contribute to increased inflammation in the body. An inactive lifestyle can also be a major non-dietary factor which promotes inflammation.
What are some good foods? Leafy greens, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, almonds and walnuts, salmon, tune sardines, olive oil, beans, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers, turmeric, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon.
What are foods to avoid? Sugary beverages, refined carbs including white bread and pasta, chips, crackers, pretzels, hotdogs, sausage, bologna, vegetable oils, alcohol and salt.
What goes hand in hand with eating healthy? A physically active lifestyle! Studies have shown that as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day can help boost the body’s immune system and improve the body’s anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system.
Are supplements a good idea? Eating whole foods is always the best way to get your nutrients, but in this day and age of running around and skipping meals, taking a good quality supplement can help fill some nutritional gaps. I personally take doTerra’s Lifelong Vitality Pack which includes a multivitamin, an Omega-3 complex and an anti-oxidant blend. I pair this with Mito2Max for an all-natural boost in metabolism and PB Assist, a great pre- and pro-biotic complex. Not only are these supplements all-natural and plant-based, they are also sent to me monthly, so I never forget to re-stock them at the store!