Inflammation is the body’s natural response when we injure ourselves to help aid the healing process. The immune system sends a flood of white blood cells to the injured area by increasing blood flow to the site which can cause swelling, heat, redness and pain. This is referred to as acute inflammation.
Problems occurs when inflammation continues and becomes chronic. Chronic, low-grade inflammation can go undetected in the body for years. Inflammation plays a major role in the development of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, asthma, inflammatory bowel conditions, auto-immune diseases, leaky gut, metabolic syndrome and cognitive decline.
What causes chronic, low-grade inflammation? Low grade inflammation can be caused by factors that place an excessive stress load on the body. This can include poor diet, excessive alcohol, smoking, physical, emotional and chemical stress. As a result, pro-inflammatory cytokines are produced throughout the body which can overwhelm the immune system.
Low-grade inflammation is associated with excessive oxidative stress, insulin resistance and impaired lipid metabolism. Therefore, research suggests that a diet rich in antioxidants can reduce inflammatory pathways.
11 tips on reducing inflammation
Reduce your sugar intake – Excess sugar increases the levels of inflammatory cytokines. Sugar also weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses.
Avoid processed foods – Processed foods are packed with preservatives, food additives, salt, sugar, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, trans-fat oils, MSG, all of which are highly inflammatory.
Avoid dairy – There are 2 components of dairy that people tend to be sensitive to causing an inflammatory response. 1. Lactose (a sugar found in milk) 2. Whey and casein (a protein found in milk) triggering an inflammatory reaction.
Regular exercise – Regular exercise is an excellent way of lowering chronic inflammation in the body. Sitting for long periods can increase your risk of insulin resistance.
Reduce stress – A study published in June 2016 in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology found that people who meditated regularly had lower levels of cortisol and fewer inflammatory response in their bodies. 10 relaxing techniques
Eat your veggies – Cruciferous vegetables are rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines which drive inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables include – broccoli sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, kale, and cauliflower. If you find it difficult to get your daily dose of anti-inflammatory vegetables try having a green smoothie.
Omega 3:6 ratio – A diet consisting of a highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation. Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammatory cytokines. Foods rich in omega 3 include fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies are an excellent sources. Plant based sources include hemp, flaxseed oil and chia seeds. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce inflammation, these good fats include olive oil, avocado, flaxseeds, nuts and seeds.
Gut health – Making sure your gut is healthy with a good balance of gut microbiome is super important for supporting your immune system and reducing inflammation in the gut. Include fermented foods in your diet such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi to boost your beneficial gut bacteria.
Reduce red meat – Red meat contains omega-6 fatty acids, which contributes to inflammation. If you do choose to eat red meat, make sure it is organic and grass-fed. Animals who are fed with grains like soy and corn promote inflammation. These animals are also usually injected with hormones and antibiotics.
Try intermittent fasting – Several studies have shown that a calorie restriction diet can reduce inflammatory markers.
Drink green tea – Green tea is loaded with polyphenols, plant-derived compounds that boost your immune system and has shown to protect against certain inflammation causing diseases. shop here
Anti-inflammatory nutrients – In certain cases getting additional support from supplements may be beneficial. Some of my favourite anti-inflammatory supplements include – alpha-lipoic acid, curcumin, ginger, fish oil and resveratol.
For more information or to book a naturopathic consultation – contact Beata
Medical news today: What to know about white blood cell count. Retrieved from URL: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315133.php
Health Harvard: Foods that fight inflammation. Retrieved from URL: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
NCBI: Reduced stress and inflammatory responsiveness in experienced meditators compared to a matched healthy control group. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851883/
NCBI: Evaluation of anti-inflammatory effects of green tea and black tea: A comparative in vitro study. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3401676/
Reuters: Eating cruciferous vegetables may lower inflammation. Retrieved from URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cruciferous-vegetables/eating-cruciferous-vegetables-may-lower-inflammation-idUSBREA2R18D20140328
Health line: 6 supplements that fight inflammation. Retrieved from URL: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-anti-inflammatory-supplements