Written by: Leora Barak, RHN
March 14, 2018
INFLAMMATION is part of the body's immune response, the body's attempt at self-protection. Although initially it is beneficial, it may become self-perpetuating. Chronic inflammation, a prolonged state of inflammation, is associated with all the '-itis' diseases, such as colitis/crohn's, arthritis and gastritis, but it has also been linked to many seemingly unrelated conditions/disorders such as heart disease, cancer, depression, diabetes, hormonal problems, psoriasis, ADHD, Alzheimer's, IBS, GERD, allergies, asthma, just to name a few. Although the causes of chronic inflammation are many and may result from a combination of nutritional imbalances, toxins and chronic stress, it has become very clear that what we eat, how we feel and how we think, either contribute to inflammation or calm it down.
Luckily, there's so much that we can do to keep the "heat" down. For example, we can help prevent and regulate inflammation by refraining from, or at least limiting, inflammatory foods, such as sugar, refined grains, milk, large quantities of red meat, food additives and alcohol. These foods strain our digestive system, weaken our immune system while triggering the inflammatory response.
On the other hand, we can focus on adding anti-inflammatory foods, such as avocados, beets, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, papaya, sweet potatos, dark green vegetables, salmon, olive/coconut oil, fermented foods, nuts, green tea, garlic and a variety of spices. These foods contain large amounts of anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients, which fight free radicals and other inflammatory molecules, while promoting a positive metabolic state.
While being proactive, we can't forget the importance of sufficient hydration and adequate sleep. This will allow our bodies to work optimally on a cellular level. As well, exercise is necessary for our health and wellness but just as important is finding a proper balance between intense exercise, such as a cardiovascular workout, and a more mindful form of exercise, such as yoga.
Above all, an anti-inflammatory life goes BEYOND diet, sleep and exercise. To stay "cool", we must learn to relax, know how to let our anger out, shove aside unnecessary worries and thoughts, do the things that we love to do and find that "quiet place" that gives us comfort. We must achieve a life of simplicity and be around positive and easy-going people. We must show kindness, whenever possible, and feel gratitude... every single day.