What Is Inflammation & How Do I Reduce it?

Inflammation has been the latest buzzword in the health and wellness space but do you know what it really means? 

 

Inflammation happens in ALL of us, whether we realize it or not and long term inflammation can have some seriously negative effects on your body. But we want to help! Let us share with you some facts about inflammation, what an anti-inflammatory diet looks like, and how to help you feel your best.

 

WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?

Inflammation is a process that is essentially the body’s defense mechanism against foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. 

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is a wound, illness, or injury that lasts for only a short period of time . This may include a physical wound such as a cut or scrape, a sore throat from a cold, or even high intensity exercise. Some signs that you may have acute inflammation are:

  • Pain: Especially, during or after touching the area. The area will be more sensitive
  • Redness: The area has more blood flow to it and can appear red
  • Immobility: It may become difficult to move in the area of the injury or wound
  • Swelling: This is caused by a buildup of fluid
  • Heat: With the increase in blood flow to the area, it can make it warm to the touch

On the other hand, chronic inflammation is slower and persists for longer periods of time such as months or even years. These low levels of inflammation stay stagnant in the body and typically occur when the body sends signals to fight off a foreign invader. Although damage to the body can’t heal properly without inflammation, it’s very important to manage it. Over time if left untreated, chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

 

WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION? 

The largest contributor to inflammation in the body is diet. Consuming a diet high in refined sugars and carbs can spike insulin and cause inflammation in the body. Additionally, a diet high in trans fats, vegetable oils, alcohol, and processed meats are all contributors as well.

Along with diet, one’s lifestyle choices can cause inflammation too. Having a sedentary lifestyle that does not include much physical activity can increase inflammation, emotional or physical stress can cause inflammation, synthetic fibers like plastic and latex are a cause, and even the chemicals in some of our cleaning and beauty products can contribute to inflammation.

 

HOW DO I REDUCE INFLAMMATION? 

There are some great ways to reduce inflammation in the body to create a happier and healthier life. Some key factors in managing inflammation are eating an anti-inflammatory diet, staying active, and reducing stress. I know, easier said than done! Take a look at these tips to help get you started. 

DIET

Not sure what foods classify as anti-inflammatory? We compiled a list of anti-inflammatory foods that are antioxidant rich to incorporate in your diet.

  • Vegetables such as kale, brussel sprouts, avocados, mushrooms, peppers, and broccoli
  • Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and blackberries
  • Fish or more specifically, fatty fish rich in omega-3s such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies
  • Spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, black pepper, and clove
  • Dark Chocolate. Enough said!
  • Tea, especially purple teaPurple tea is higher in antioxidants than any other tea including green tea and research suggests purple tea can help reduce inflammation.  

 

ACTIVITIES

Research has shown that getting a single 20-minute session of moderate exercise can help reduce inflammation. Here’s a list of some great moderate exercises you can do everyday!

  • Brisk Walking
  • Easy jogging
  • Bicycling under 10 miles per hour
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Gardening and even vacuuming!

 

REDUCE STRESS

Check out our article on stress relieving tips. 

 

So what are you waiting for? It's a new year and a new you. Let's get it started the right way!

 

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