Inflammation is beneficial when we get sick or injured. It’s a necessary immune response that’s helpful in the short-term. But low-grade chronic inflammation (also known as silent inflammation) is unhealthy for your body. This inflammation is thought to be the root cause of many diseases: Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Osteoporosis and Heart Disease. Both traditional & holistic practitioners agree that this inflammation causes cellular damage.
What are some causes of inflammation?
- Sugar: Overuse results in the conversion of sugar to fat. It also raises triglycerides and uric acid levels, which increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
- Dairy products: Many people cannot digest milk. Milk can also be an allergen & trigger an inflammatory response. Try unsweetened almond or rice milk.
- Processed meats: These are your deli meats, bacon, sausage and hot dogs. Processed meat includes animal products that have been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.
- Refined grains. Refined grains and products made out of them are almost everywhere. The common ones are: white rice, white flour, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits and pastries. These also contain gluten, which can be highly allergenic and pro-inflammatory.
- Artificial chemical additives and sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose & monosodium glutamate (MSG) can trigger inflammatory responses and other negative side effects. Use real sugar instead and avoid pre-packaged and processed foods.
- Alcohol. Alcohol is metabolized much like sugar and over consumption raises triglycerides and uric acid levels.
- Lack of exercise. Exercise reduces inflammation and burns fat. Fat cells release pro-inflammatory compounds, and losing weight will reduce inflammation.
- Chronic stress increases inflammation. Find ways to reduce stress, like yoga, meditation, massage, and exercise.
- Eating the wrong fats. Omega 6 fats & trans fats.
Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation. Eating fish 3 times per week or taking 2-4 grams of a fish oil supplement per day can help reduce inflammation.
The best oils to consume are those with a low Omega 6:3 ratio: fish oil, coconut oil & macadamia nut oil and olive oil.
Simple rule: Omega-6 fats cause inflammation while Omega-3 fats lower it. Your diet needs to have a healthy balance of both of these fats.
The DREADED Trans Fats:
Anything that starts with the words partially hydrogenated. These are man- made fats and foreign to the human body. They raise cholesterol levels and studies show that they increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These are by far the worst fats to consume. They’re found in many processed snack foods and baked goods. Fats are used to build cell walls. When these fats are incorporated into cell walls it is like putting sand into the gears of a clock.
The best way to reduce inflammation is to eat more whole fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed foods that contain high amounts of carbohydrates, omega 6 fats and trans fats. Exercise more and find healthy ways to reduce your stress level. Your risk of disease will go down as your health and your energy go up.