Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body heal from any wound, injury, or infection. If inflammation becomes chronic, it can be harmful to the body leading the various health issues. However, you can make changes in your diet and lifestyle to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.
This article explains about anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.
What is inflammation?
Your body uses inflammation to protect itself from infection or injury. The inflammatory response by your body leads to the increase of the production of white blood cells, immune cells, and cytokines that help fight infection. Some of the signs of inflammation are:
Sometimes, chronic inflammation can occur inside your body without any of these symptoms. Chronic inflammation can lead to ailments like diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and cancer. Lifestyle choices like being obese or chronic stress can also lead to inflammation. Often these markers in your blood are tested to look for an inflammatory response like C-reactive protein (CRP), TNF alpha, homocysteine, and IL-6.
What causes inflammation?
In most cases, habitual lifestyle factors can cause inflammation in the body. If you are consuming refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, it will cause inflammation in the body. Too much consumption of refined sugar can lead to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity. Switch to all-natural Lakanto sweetener, which is made from Monk Fruit. You can add it to your beverages like tea, coffee, or bake with it.
Lakanto sugar substitute is a great addition to your diet if you are looking to reduce inflammation naturally. Switch to natural sweeteners like monk fruit, stevia, maple syrup, dates, and honey. The interesting fact is that refined carbs react just like refined sugar in the body. So, if you are consuming white bread, pasta, pizza, bagels, it may be contributing to inflammation, insulin resistance, and obesity. Instead of simple carbs, switch to whole grains. If you are eating processed and packaged foods that contain trans fats, MSG, will promote inflammation and damage the endothelial cells that line your arteries. Avoid eating packaged and processed food, instead eat freshly cooked food with fresh ingredients.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils like sunflower oil, sesame oil, canola oil can cause inflammation. Instead switch to cold-pressed fruit oils like Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and Avocado oil. You can also use grass-fed butter for cooking and baking.
Excessive intake of alcohol can cause inflammation. Processed meat like cold cuts, bacon, sausages can also cause inflammation. Instead, cook with fresh meat like grass-fed meat, free-range chicken, etc. Sometimes, lifestyle choices like a sedentary lifestyle, a lot of sitting can promote inflammation.
The Role of Your Diet
Diet plays a major role in regulating the inflammatory markers in your body. Start eating fewer inflammatory foods and more anti-inflammatory foods. Avoid processed foods and eat fresh, nutrient-dense foods that are rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants work by reducing levels of free radicals, thereby reducing inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet should be a healthy mix of protein, carbs, and fat at each meal along with essential nutrients, fiber, and water. Mediterranean diet has proven to reduce inflammatory markers, such as CRP and IL-6. A sample Mediterranean diet consists of fish, lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, olives, olive oil, lean meat, and goat cheese. A low-carb diet or a gluten-free diet may reduce inflammation for those who are gluten-intolerant. A diet high in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts has proven to reduce inflammation. Avoid intake of refined sugar and switch to natural Lakanto sweetener.
Foods to Avoid:
Some foods are best to avoid to reduce inflammation in the body.
- Sugary beverages: Sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices, Soda, Energy Drinks, sweetened tea/ coffee
- Refined carbs: White bread, white pasta, pizza, bagels
- Desserts & Baked Goods: Cookies, cake, and ice cream
- Processed meat: Hot dogs, bacon, sausages, etc.
- Processed snack foods: Crackers, chips
- Certain oils: Processed vegetable oils like soybean, safflower, sunflower, canola, corn oil
- Trans fats: Frozen dinners, commercial baked goods
- Alcohol: Wine & other liquors
Foods to Eat
Include plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods:
- Vegetables: Broccoli, Kale, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, etc.
- Fruit: Grapes, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
- High-fat fruits: Avocados and olives
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
- Fatty fish: Salmon, sardines
- Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, cashews, macadamias, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Peppers: Bell peppers and chili peppers
- Chocolate: 80% Dark chocolate
- Spices: Turmeric, fenugreek, cinnamon, ginger
- Tea: Sencha Green tea
One-Day Sample Menu
Here’s a sample menu to get you started with anti-inflammatory meals:
- 3-egg omelet with red bell peppers, kale, and cheddar cheese cooked in olive oil
- 1 glass orange juice (250 ml)
- Green tea with fresh ginger
- Salmon in dijon sauce with a side of grilled asparagus cooked in olive oil
- Mashed cauliflower with a knob of butter and fresh chives
2 Lemon cookies made with Lakanto sugar substitute monk fruit sweetener.
- Thai Chicken curry with brown rice
- 2 squares of 80% dark chocolate
You can consider taking some supplements like fish oil and curcumin to reduce inflammation. Regular exercise can decrease inflammatory markers. Get enough sleep of at least 8 hours, as a lack of sleep can lead to inflammation.
When inflammation is low, you will enjoy all these benefits:
- Improvement of symptoms of arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, and other autoimmune disorders
- Decreased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer
- Reduction in inflammatory markers in your blood
- Better blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels
- Improvement in energy levels, mood, and overall wellbeing.
Both diet and lifestyle choices can lead to chronic inflammation in the body. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods for overall health and wellbeing.