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Inflammation is the body’s way of naturally protecting itself against harm. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, the immune system is drained and the body finds it difficult to deal with illnesses.
Understanding the link between chronic inflammation, diet and exercise will help in ageing healthily and keeping chronic diseases at bay. Eating an organic, overall healthy diet and keeping active is the best way to fight inflammation.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a biological response of the body to protect itself from harmful internal and external stimuli and start healing. It is a part of the body’s immune system and protects us from infections, wounds and tissue damage.
It can become severe in a short span of time. For example, acute inflammation can cause diseases and conditions like sinusitis, a sore throat from a cold, acute bronchitis, etc. It can be chronic in response to unwanted toxins in the body like cigarette smoke or excess body fat. This may extend from months to years that may lead to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and non-infectious conditions like tuberculosis, peptic ulcer, hepatitis, etc.
What causes chronic inflammation?
Stress: Stress causes activity in the brain that can lead to physical pain which may lead to an inflammatory response in the body. Hence, people suffering from stress may experience inflammation.
Poor diet: Some foods like simple sugars, high fructose corn syrup, refined flours, trans-fat-rich foods, processed meat, fried foods, etc. can trigger the inflammatory response in the body. So the consumption of these food items should be minimised as much as possible.
Unhealthy lifestyle: Consumption of alcohol, smoking, leading a sedentary life and being overweight creates a stress in the body that triggers an inflammatory response.
Pollution: Pollution causes damage to the cells which may cause inflammation.
Tips to help relieve inflammation
Regular physical activity: The regular physical activity of 30 – 50 minutes will help you reduce weight and will also help you to mobilize the joints. This will reduce the chances of developing chronic inflammation.
Relieve yourself of stress: Sleeping for a minimum of 6-8 hours a day, trying and using stress relaxation techniques, talking about how you feel, etc will help you in maintaining and lowering your stress. This reduces the chances of inflammation.
Having a well-balanced and nutritious diet: Do include all the food groups in your diet. Have foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fibre, magnesium, carotenoids, antioxidants and lycopene as these nutrients are anti-inflammatory.
Some anti-inflammatory foods are:
- Olive oil
- Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
- Leafy greens, including spinach and kale
- Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
- Fruits, especially blueberries, oranges and cherries
- Spices like ginger, turmeric, oregano and cloves
Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good.
Organic, unprocessed, plant-based foods with a variety of colours will ensure your body is protected from inflammation. More on foods that help fight inflammation here.
Eating organic means you eat foods that have less pesticide and herbicides used in growing them. That means less harmful chemicals and toxins in your food. Studies shown that toxins in pesticides sprayed on our food can lead to health issues.
So whenever you can, try to stay active, stress less and eat healthy, organic food. If you want to eat more organic but have a strict budget, check out our post on how to shop for organic food on a budget for tips.