What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural process our body goes through, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, inflammation is what helps our system through the healing process as it fights against anything that may be harming it including injuries, diseases, and infections.
While inflammation is a good, natural process, it can also become a chronic issue. Chronic inflammation is a bad type that may affect your body for days, months, and even years. This constant state of alert can have negative consequences over time and damage your tissues and can even cause serious complications that lead to heart disease, cancer, obesity, and other chronic conditions.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by many reasons and can result in a myriad of health-related complications. Stress, lifestyle, diet, pollution, and autoimmune disorders can all be underlying causes of chronic inflammation.
Signs of Inflammation
Short-term signs of inflammation are obvious and may be visible as redness, swelling, and can result in pain. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is not always visible. Some signs of chronic inflammation include:
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Body pains
- Depression and anxiety
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Weight gain
- Skin conditions such as eczema and rashes
How to reduce inflammation
The good news is that chronic inflammation can be reversed by making changes to your lifestyle. The following are ways to reduce chronic inflammation:
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet high in antioxidants (more on this later)
- Cut out processed and inflammatory-causing foods (more on this later)
- Exercise regularly
- Keep your mental health in check and practice stress reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation
- Quit smoking and avoid alcohol
- Regularly get a good night’s sleep
Foods that reduce inflammation
If you are looking to change your diet in order to aid the process of reducing inflammation, consider eating more of the following foods:
- Fruit and vegetables high in antioxidants
- Omega-3 rich food such as fatty fish
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes
- Spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and clove
Foods that Cause Inflammation
On the other hand, avoid the following foods which are known to further cause inflammation in the body:
- Processed carbs
- Packaged snack foods and frozen meals
- Alcoholic beverages
- Sugary beverages
- Processed meat and red meat
- Fried foods
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