What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses. Symptoms of inflammation include pain, swelling, red coloration to the area, and sometimes loss of movement or function.
Inflammation is also a component of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and strokes.
Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) may cause shortness of breath or leg swelling.
Inflammation of the small tubes that transport air to the lungs may cause an asthma attack. Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) may cause high blood pressure or kidney failure.
Inflammation of the large intestine (colitis) may cause cramps and diarrhea
Pro-inflammatory foods will increase inflammation, increase your pain from the inflammation, and may also raise your risk for chronic disease. Loading up on junk foods, high-fat meats, sugar and fast foods will increase inflammation in your body. This is partially due to the unhealthy fats used in preparing and processing these foods, especially trans fats and saturated fats. Processed meats, such as lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages, contain chemicals such as nitrites that are associated with increased inflammation and chronic disease.
Saturated fats are also found in meats, dairy products and eggs. While all of these foods are important source of minerals and vitamins, you don't need the extra saturated fat. These foods also contain fatty acids called arachidonic acid. While some arachidonic acid is essential for your health, too much arachidonic acid in the diet may make your inflammation worse. Be sure to choose low-fat milk and cheese and lean cuts of meat, which will not promote inflammation.
Diets high in sugar have also been associated with inflammation, obesity and chronic disease such as diabetes. Eliminate high-sugar foods such as sodas, soft drinks, pastries, pre-sweetened cereals and candy.
In other words, inflammation while needed in response to an injury, can be detrimental to your health.
Here are 6 ways to help you reduce unwanted inflammation in your body.
1. Stop smoking
2. Get active: it's a great way to lower inflammation without any side effects associated with medications.
3. Shrink your waist size. If you're a woman with a waist measurement of over 35 inches or a man with a waist of over 40 inches, you probably have high inflammation.
4. Get enough sleep. A study shows that elderly people with high blood pressure who sleep less than 7.5 hours per night have dramatically elevated chances of having a stroke or heart attack or suffering sudden cardiac death.
5. Reduce stress. High levels of stress hormones can lead to the release of excess inflammatory chemicals, so try each day to pencil in 15 minutes of relaxation—deep breathing, meditation, or a bubble bath that lets you leave the world behind.
6. Start adding food that fight off inflammation:
· Jalapeno peppers – chop these up raw into your salsa for a great kick and pain relieving power
· Walnuts – they are very high in Omega Fatty Acid which is huge in fighting inflammation
· Dry roasted almonds – grab a handful of these tasty pain fighters for a snack
· Carrots – they aren’t just for Bugs Bunny… enjoy them raw as a snack or on your salad
· Broccoli – cooked or raw, broccoli quickly goes to work on that inflammation too
· Olive oil – just a single tablespoon drizzled on your salad has as much pain fighting power as an entire half cup of broccoli
· Raw spinach – hope you love salads because adding some raw spinach to it will pump up your body’s ability to fight off systemic inflammation
· Wild Atlantic salmon – my all-time favorite inflammation fighting food… wild Atlantic salmon is a heavyweight champion in a small package – a 3oz portion can fight inflammation as well as 6 cups of raw spinach!