Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fight Inflammation

Now that you know how inflammation can effect the body, let's go over what causes this inflammation and what we can do about it. Like so many other things, it all comes back to diet and exercise. Our society is surrounded by inflammatory foods. Processed foods, sugars, soda, white flour (bread, pasta), hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oils, etc. These can all have a direct effect on increasing our blood sugar and insulin levels as well as creating free radicals in the system which can damage healthy tissue. If we looked back at our ancestors, we would see the women out gathering fruits and vegetables, while the men were hunting and fishing for the meat. Their diets consisted of fresh fruits and vegetables and meat and fish. Is it a coincidence that the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other diseases has drastically increased over the years with poorer nutrition?

I'm sure you have heard it a hundred times before, but so many health issues can be helped through a better diet and some regular exercise. Well, the same holds true for helping to avoid inflammation in your body. The closer you can eat to how our ancestors once ate, the better off you will be. One of the best ways to combat the inflammatory and free radical damage in your body is through phytonutrients and anti-oxidants which are found primarily in fruits and vegetables. Eat as much fruits and vegetables as you would like throughout the day. Just remember that fruit contains a lot of sugar and vegetables tend to have more beneficial phytonutrients, so try to eat more veggies than fruit. As far as meat, lean meats such as chicken and fish are much better than the pro-inflammatory red meats. The omega-3 fats found in fish are also very anti-inflammatory in nature.

Here are some more anti-inflammatory tips:
  • Use herbs such as tumeric (found in curry), ginger, and cayenne pepper
  • Use olive oil instead of vegetable or canola oil
  • Avoid processed and commercially processed foods which usually contain hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup
  • Eat other omega-3 rich foods such as walnuts, flax seeds, almonds, green leafy vegetables
  • Get 4-5 days of 30 minutes of cardio exercise each week (easy as taking your dog on a walk)
  • Eat fresh food

Live Well.