All of us who have a sore throat, rash or a sprained ankle have experienced the body’s response: inflammation. In specific cases, for a short period of time, inflammation is what the body naturally does to fight infection, heal injuries and combat irritants. The big problem occurs when our body goes out of control.
Inflammation has been linked to allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and asthma. But if it is unchecked and we are in a constant state of inflammation, then it gets much worse. Long-term inflammation results in significantly increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, depression, cancer and autism. In fact, in a study of a group of generally healthy elderly people, those with the highest level of consistent inflammation were almost 3 times as likely to die within the next 4 years, mainly from cardiovascular problems.
There are a number of ways to live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. The main ones are:
Sleep / Relax – get enough R&R. Poor sleep can cause our bodies to be more susceptible to inflammation by altering normal levels of cortisol (fight or flight) and insulin. High stress levels are also associated with elevated cortisol levels.
Regular Exercise – the right amount of exercise can help us become less susceptible to muscle soreness – essentially, working our body into a state of resistance to over-inflammation.
Food – There are a number of foods that will have an influence on inflammation:
High Carbohydrate Foods – Most breads and grains contain gluten, which is essentially undigestable and causes inflammation. In addition, grains are high-glycemic (very high in carbohydrates), so they cause insulin spikes with ensuing increase in risk of obesity.
Grain-fed Meats – grain-fed livestock has had their system in a state of inflammation and therefore their meat is essentially contaminated. Avoid grain-fed livestock (most beef is grain-fed).
Sugar – a cause of insulin spiking, resulting in the body converting carbs into fat, resulting in obesity.
Light on Nuts – which can have higher concentrations of Omega-6 – the pro-inflammatory essential fatty acid.
Seafood – eat periodically since it is a good source of Omega-3. Alternatively, or in addition, take a good Omega-3 fish oil supplement.
Grass-fed Meats – as opposed to the much more common grain fed.
Healthy Fats – this includes Omega-3, an essential fatty acids that is anti-inflammatory. Olive oil and avocadoes are also an excellent source.
Probiotics – to help ensure a balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. Yogurt (best to buy organic to avoid rBGH), kefir, spirulina and chlorella are great sources.
How can we find out if our body is under the stress of inflammation? It turns out there is a blood test, called the C-reactive protein test. If you suspect you are having a problem with inflammation you probably want to consult a doctor about getting this test done.
Why not consider the value of living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle? By making this choice today you will be choosing to reduce your risk of the top causes of death and debilitating diseases, helping you feel and look younger – regardless of your arge.
Have you cut any of these foods out of your diet? How do you feel about going “grain-free?”
– The Alternative Daily