Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism against infection, irritation, toxins and other foreign substances. It is a critical process that keeps one healthy. However, sometimes the immune system can become disrupted and can shift into a chronic state of inflammation without you even knowing it.
Inflammation is believed to be a major cause of degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, dementia, diabetes and cancer. The most common causes of inflammation are diet (sugar, animal fat, processed foods, high-glycemic intake). Fat cells, especially around the mid section, are major players in promoting inflammation. They produce hormones as well as inflammatory messengers. Other causes of inflammation include food sensitivities/allergies, lack of exercise, environmental allergens, infections, stress and toxin load.
Are you inflamed?
• At your next doctor’s appointment, talk to your physician about testing your C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. It is a major marker of inflammation.
What foods cause inflammation?
• Foods that you are sensitive to (often dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, corn, soy) – consider keeping a diet diary to track symptoms or try an elimination diet. You can also determine possible food sensitivities via a blood test, such as the this one.
• Refined carbohydrates (baked goods made with white flour)
• Processed foods
• “Bad fat” – trans fats and hydrogenated oils
What foods fight inflammation?
• A great study shows that eating a “polymeal” of 4 ounces of wild fish, 5 ounces of red wine, 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate, 2.5 ounces of almonds, 400 grams of fruits and vegetables (about 2 2/3 apples), and 2 cloves of garlic a day could reduce heart disease by 75% and increase life expectancy by 7 years.
Other ways to reduce inflammation:
• Increase your exercise
• Reduce your stress
• Limit toxin exposure
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