What You Need to Know about Inflammation
Chronic disease in on the rise and inflammation has become a buzzword in health and wellness circles. Inflammation is commonly linked to many types of chronic disease: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and autoimmune conditions. So what exactly is inflammation, how do you know if you have it, and how can you reduce inflammation in your body? We’ve got the answers!
First, inflammation is actually extremely vital. Your body uses inflammation to respond to injuries, toxins, or bacterial infections–for example, if you scrape your knee, white blood cells and other immune cells will gather in the area to heal the tissue and defend against infections. It creates redness, swelling, heat, and potentially pain. This is acute inflammation, which is localized and subsides once the injury has healed or the threat has receded.
When that inflammation doesn’t go away, it becomes a problem. Chronic inflammation is a persistent, low-level inflammatory response that occurs throughout the body for an unnecessarily long period of time. This can cause a response from the immune cells, which might start attacking the body’s healthy tissues and organs since there isn’t an actual injury or threat. Damage is incurred, and a host of chronic diseases can develop.
Often, chronic inflammation doesn’t have obvious symptoms. You might experience fatigue, fever, rashes, and generalized pain, but you can do a hsCRP blood test to find out for sure. This test looks for C-reactive protein (aka CRP, which is a marker of inflammation) in the blood.
Diet plays a huge role in managing inflammation, so try modifying your diet if you think your body is chronically inflamed. An anti-inflammatory diet follows similar principles as the Mediterannean diet: lots of fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, moderate amounts of nuts and olive oil, and very little red meat and unhealthy fats. The goal is to increase amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and polyphenols. Specifically, you should increase your intake of the following foods:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Cherries, oranges, and berries
- Fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel
- Olive oil
- Green tea
Additionally, limit these inflammation-causing foods:
- Fried foods
- Refined carbohydrates (pastries, white bread, white pasta)
- Red meat and processed meat
- Sweetened beverages (soda, energy drinks)
- Margarine and shortening
Reduce your vulnerability to chronic diseases today by taking steps towards an anti-inflammatory diet, Nutrition in Motion is always here to support your health journey! REMEMBER, VISITS WITH A REGISTERED DIETITIAN ARE COVERED BY MOST INSURANCE CARRIERS. ASK US A QUESTION OR REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT TO LEARN MORE!