Essentially it is actually our immune system that processes acute issues like an ankle sprain or an infection. Wow, interesting right? However, an injury can sometimes be a more prolonged affair (often described as chronic). This can be triggered by poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise or even just exposure to environmental pollutants. Bottom line our body’s immune system responds to both short term & long-term injuries with inflammation.
Whilst an acute type of inflammation serves the purpose of ensuring we fight the problem & regain our health; the chronic type is a totally different story. If we are in a chronic inflammation state it means our defence systems are a bit out of control – yup, you guessed it, this is a not so good scenario. Adding to this, people with overactive immune responses & too much inflammation often also suffer from allergies (pick me!), rheumatoid arthritis, asthma &/or autoimmune diseases. It is important to note that sometimes the inflammation can be hidden & be at the heart of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, dementia or even cancer to name just a few.
OK – we can all agree that long term inflammation is not the least bit desirable. We need to get ahead of the game on this chronic inflammation issue. Best approach is addressing it prior to an issue happening, (especially when it is generally noted that multiple issues are linked by inflammation). Yup, that means taking preventative actions with lifestyle &/or dietary changes to help the body’s natural immune system rebalance. Sadly, often people only start the fight when they are already feeling the effects of inflammation which is less than ideal.
Game plan options to help prevent inflammation, can include:
⭐️ A diet rich in plant-based options is fabulous. Even a focus on whole foods & high fibre is a great anti-inflammatory option. Yup, load up the fruit & vege, the more colour the better & remember to include lots of cruciferous vege (THINK broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts). Perfect world, I’m talking vege at EVERY meal!
⭐️ Ensure you eat healthy fats. THINK extra virgin olive oil, nuts, avocados, & omega 3 fats from oily fish such as wild salmon, herrings, or sardines.
⭐️ Make sure you have probiotics in your diet. They keep your gut healthy by feeding the good bacteria & keeping that population high. Flip side is the bad bacteria don’t have an opportunity to thrive (& create problems). THINK yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso or kimchi for a few easily accessible add ins for your diet.
⭐️ OK this one is kinda obvious but worth saying. If you have a food allergy, don’t eat the allergen (or trigger) as it will promote the inflammation.
⭐️ Get moving & exercise. The old adage of “move it, or loose it” is very true! Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise can make a difference (THINK a brisk walk, water aerobics, dancing, or a bike ride).
⭐️ Make sure you actively relax; the knock-on effect is lower inflammation. THINK yoga, deep breathing or even a warm bath.
Diet can calm inflammation & a Mediterranean diet is a great starting point. There are many studies on this diet which are promising. Try adding some of the good stuff into your diet & lifestyle this week.
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