Inflammation is our body’s response to outside threats such as stress, infection, or toxic chemicals. When the immune system suspects danger from one of these factors, it responds by activating proteins meant to protect cells and tissues, which results in joint inflammation, heart disease, and makes it difficult to fight wounds and illness. In a healthy situation, inflammation can be friendly to our body. However, once immune cells start to overreact, the inflammation will cause us harm. The good news is that you can take control of preventing inflammation by cutting out highly inflammatory foods like sugar and grains and eating more lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.
Signs of Inflammation
Symptoms of inflammation will depend on whether the reaction is acute or chronic. Acute signs of inflammation may include pain, redness, immobility, and swelling, while chronic signs of inflammation may include fatigue, mouth sores, chest pain, abdominal pain, and joint pain. An acute inflammation is one that arises rapidly and becomes severe in a short amount of time. During a bout of acute inflammation, one may develop a cold and flu virus, sinusitis, or dermatitis. Chronic inflammation can last months or even years and may be caused by an underlying condition.
Foods that Cause Inflammation
By eliminating these foods from your diet, you can avoid inflammation.
- Refined carbohydrates such as white bread
- Margarine, shortening, lard
- French fries and other fried foods
- Soda and other beverages with added sugar
- Red meat and processed meat
Foods that Fight Inflammation
To reduce levels of inflammation, it’s best to aim for an overall healthy diet that includes foods such as:
- Olive oil
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Fatty Fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, oranges
Reducing Inflammation in the Body
You can reduce inflammation by simply changing factors in your lifestyle. Through mind-body exercises such as yoga, and tai-chi, for as little as ten minutes a day, you can improve your immune health. Additionally, it helps to detoxify from harmful chemicals that may be lingering in your soaps and cleansers. Switch to safe, natural, cleansers that won’t cause rashy skin. You can also reduce inflammation by improving your quality of sleep and getting some sunshine!