Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself from harm. The body defends itself

from invading pathogens through a series of inflammatory processes. Inflammation is a

natural process that helps your body heal from an injury. Inflammation may be mild or

chronic. Mild inflammation is that type of inflammation that results from a minor

injury. It is expressed outside the body in the form of swelling, pain, redness and

hotness. This does not pose harm to the body as the immune system is only trying to

heal the injured site and bring the body back to its normal physiological state.

Then there is the chronic inflammation. This is a severe form of inflammation which

poses a high risk to the body. Chronic inflammation can go on for months and even

years. Chronic inflammation is associated with health issues like heart disease, diabetes

and Alzheimer’s. Generally, inflammation cannot be felt. Some low-grade inflammation

might not even show any symptoms. How then would you know that you have

inflammation?

Biomarkers in the blood such as C-reactive protein and proinflammatory cytokines help

to establish the presence of inflammation in the blood. These proteins alter immune

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system response, as such, are good pointers to inflammations. Inflammation causes

many ageing-related conditions. This is why it is important to detect inflammation at an

early stage.

What Causes Inflammation

Identifying the predisposing factors of inflammation is the first step to preventing the

inflammatory process in the body. A little adjustment to our lifestyle can save us all the

troubles associated with an inflammatory condition. Outlined here is a list of some

predisposing factors to inflammation.

● Refined Carbs: High consumption of refined carbs like white bread, contributes

to insulin resistance, obesity and hence inflammation.

● Processed Foods: Consumption of processed foods that contains trans fats has

been shown to promote the inflammatory process in the gut. This food can also

damage the endothelial cells lining the arteries.

● Vegetable Oil: Most scientists believe that vegetable oil used in many processed

foods is another victim of inflammation. Regular consumption may result in an

imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.

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● Sugar: Excessive consumption of sugar is implicated in several disease

conditions including inflammation. A high amount of fructose corn syrup in our

diet is particularly harmful. High sugar diet can also cause insulin resistance,

diabetes, and obesity.

● Alcohol: Excessive intake of alcohol has inflammatory effects on the body

tissues.

● Sedentary Lifestyle: An inactive lifestyle is one major non-dietary factor that

promotes inflammation in the body.

Your Diet and Inflammation

You must watch what you eat to reduce the inflammatory process in the body. Eat more

anti-inflammatory foods like foods that contain antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce the

levels of free radicals. Free radicals are a natural part of your metabolism however, they

can lead to inflammation when the normal physiological process is impaired.

Consumption of anti-inflammatory foods, however, provides a healthy balance of

carbohydrate, fats, and protein on each meal. Fruits and supplements rich in vitamins,

minerals and fiber should also be taken. Good hydration with water and homemade

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juice is an essential part of our diet and should not be forgotten. Anti-inflammatory

diets cut out processed products and are antioxidant-rich. Mediterranean diet has been

proven to reduce inflammatory markers such as CRP and IL-6. Vegetarian diets have

also been linked to reduced inflammation. Diet low in carbohydrates also reduce

inflammation especially in obese people or those with metabolic syndrome.

Adopting a healthy eating habit starts with cutting down the following foods:

● Refined carbs: White bread, white pasta and much more.

● Sugary beverages: Sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices.

● Processed foods and meat: Chips, hot dogs, crackers, sausages, pretzels and

bologna should be avoided.

● Oil: Processed seed oil and vegetable and vegetable oils like soybean and corn

oil.

● Desserts: Cookie, candy, cake, and ice cream.

● Trans fat: These are foods with partially hydrogenated ingredients.

● Alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol is detrimental.

To effectively reduce inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet should be part of your

everyday meal. Here is a list of some anti-inflammatory foods:

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❖ Fatty fish: Mackerel, sardines, herring, salmon, and anchovies.

❖ Healthy fats: Olive oil and coconut oil.

❖ Nuts: Almonds and other nuts.

❖ Vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels, kale, sprouts.

❖ Fruits: Deep colored berries like grapes and cherries.

❖ High fats fruits: Fruits high in fats like olives and avocados.

❖ Peppers: Bell peppers and chili peppers.

❖ Spices: Cinnamon, fenugreek, and turmeric.

❖ Red wine: Moderate consumption of red wine up to 10 ounces (280 ml) per day

for men and 5 ounces (140ml) of red wine per day for women.

❖ Tea: Green tea

❖ Chocolate: Dark chocolate

Generally, the consumption of nutrient-dense whole foods that can reduce

inflammation should be incorporated in your everyday menu. Once you have a great

menu, then put your lifestyle to check. Practice these good habits more often than not:

􀀀 Sleep: Poor night sleep increases inflammation. Getting enough sleep is

vital to reducing inflammation.

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􀀀 Regular exercise: Regular exercise can decrease inflammatory biomarkers

and reduce risk of chronic disease.

􀀀 Supplements: Supplements like curcumin and fish oil can reduce

inflammation.

Benefits of Improving Your Lifestyle

There are numerous benefits attached to improving your lifestyle and cutting

down on inflammatory foods. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods, along with

good sleep, exercise and supplements would give you a handful of benefits

including:

✔ Limit risk of many disease conditions including cancer, heart disease,

diabetes, obesity, and depression.

✔ Improves blood sugar levels, triglycerides and cholesterol levels.

✔ Improves symptoms of autoimmune disorders like arthritis, lupus, and

inflammatory bowel syndrome.

✔ Improves mood swings and energy

✔ Reduces inflammatory biomarkers in the bloodstream.

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Inflammation is the underlying cause of many diseases. By reducing inflammation, you

are limiting your risk to several other diseases including septicemia. The easiest therapy

to inflammation is a change in diet and lifestyle. Anti-inflammatory foods, exercise and

good sleep are healthy habits that should replace your current habit as each has been

found to lower the risk to diseases and improve the quality of life.

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