Updated: Jan 21
Our body is very complex. Trying to figure out the signals it sends us can be really puzzling. Why do we feel amazing one day, and crappy on others? What is the root cause of this?
We all deserve to feel great all the time, and we can accomplish this. Everything starts from your lifestyle choices – the food you eat, the beverages you drink, how much sleep and exercise you get, the level of stress in your life, etc. These internal and external influences have the power to nourish us, however they can also trick our bodies into thinking they’re under attack.
That is the main property of inflammation, which is exactly what I want to talk about today. If you’re really looking to change the way you feel, you’ll have to learn more about inflammation, since this is the hidden key for relieving many health problems.
What is Inflammation?
First of all, there are two types of inflammation.
Acute inflammation is a natural and helpful immune system response to tissue damage. When you trip and fall, the bruises, cuts and swelling induce acute inflammation. This is a sign that your immune system is working properly at sending white blood cells to the area of your injury in order to repair the tissue. So acute inflammation is actually good for us, in fact we couldn’t live without it.
Chronic inflammation is a damaging process also triggered by the immune system which has reacted to certain environmental, mental and physical invaders. These invaders come in the form of a bad diet, lack of sleep and recovery, stress, and toxic chemicals. When your body reaches an inflammatory overload, the defense system gets so overwhelmed that it literally doesn’t know what to do. The results are bad, healthy cells and tissue is being destroyed, internal organs aren’t working properly, you’re whole body is in big trouble!
Chronic Inflammation Dangers
Ignoring chronic inflammation symptoms can wear out the immune system quickly, which may lead to a myriad of diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, and even caner.
Besides being generally bad, chronic inflammation is really bad if you’re trying to build muscle and get fit. After training it is normal to encounter acute inflammation, since it helps repair the tissue you just broken down. This is how new muscle in generated. However, if chronic inflammation is also present, no muscle building will take place. Although it starts in the same way as its better half, instead of switching the regeneration process, it gradually leads to muscle breakdown.
Unfortunately, chronic inflammation symptoms are only treated with drugs and surgery, which only provide temporary relief. The root of the problem is still there.
In reality many of the pills people take won’t solve their ailments, actually they may even cause more trouble.
Here is the good news! There are plenty of simple and easy ways you can use to fight chronic inflammation. Below you will find the top anti-inflammatory tips to get you started!
1. Anti-Inflammatory Diet
There are many ways to support your body against chronic inflammation, and a healthy diet is the most important one. Ditch the foods which cause inflammation (sugar, white flour, sweets, snacks, deli meat, etc.) and incorporate healthy eating.
Foods that reduce inflammation include:
- Fruits (bananas, apples, pears, lemon, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
- Vegetables (tomatoes, beets, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, turnip, etc.)
- Wholegrains (oats, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, barley, etc.)
- Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas)
- Oily fish (salmon, sardines, trout, herring, mackerel, etc.)
- Nuts and seeds (walnuts, hemp seeds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
Especially keep an eye on anti-inflammatory spices, like ginger, turmeric, cacao, cinnamon, garlic, and cayenne. Did you know that turmeric was scientifically proven to be more effective in reducing inflammation than ibuprofen? Think about that!
Oh, and don’t forget to drink your 8 glasses of water. Proper hydration can also decrease and prevent chronic inflammation in the first place, so drink up!
2. Identify Your Food Sensitivities
If you’re already experiencing some potential inflammation problems, it is crucial to identify and address the cause. A holistic approach is the best option, taking a closer look at your habits and the way you live life. The hidden thing that no one pays attention on are food sensitives and allergies.
Gluten, soy, eggs, dairy and yeast are only a few food problems that might be wrecking your immune system all this time! If you’re doing everything right but still have chronic inflammation, you may have a sensitivity or allergy. Start tracking you’re meals and how you feel afterwards, exclude the things which you suspect are the ones to blame. If the symptoms persists, feel free to consult a doctor.
3. Stay Active
There is a close relationship between physical activity and inflammation. We have learned that exercise can induce inflammation, but how can this be helpful? Actually, physical activity induces acute inflammation which helps your body to build up its antioxidant defenses. Therefore, consistent exercise overtime improves immunity and the ability to fight chronic inflammation.
Isometrics are one form of training you should especially focus on in order to reduce inflammation. These exercises include static contractions of a particular muscle or group of muscles in a given time period. Research suggest that isometrics may help in reducing joint pain, blood pressure, and chronic inflammation. A good example of an isometric exercise that most people are familiar with is a plank. Incorporate similar movements in your routine, especially target the body parts you feel the most pain (inflammation).
4. Rest and Relax
Your body repairs and recovers during sleep. Generally it is recommended to rest 7-8 hours every night. Unfortunately, if you’re cutting corners in the sleep department you will only hinder immunity, which is the barrier between you and inflammation.
Stress is another factor which goes hand in hand with a lack of sleep. When you get stressed, you are also producing the hormone cortisol (inflammation’s best friend).You can reduced chronic inflammation by reducing stress. Try long walks, relaxing music, reading, less technology, spend time in nature...
5. Avoid Toxins
Pay close attention to what you put in your body. Many food and personal care products contain harmful chemicals and toxins which can disrupt the endocrine system and induce chronic inflammation.
Always read labels and try to avoid the following:
Chemicals and toxins in food products:
- MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
- Artificial flavors and colors
- Sodium nitrite
- Guar gum
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Sodium benzoate
- Artificial sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame potassium, Saccharin)
Chemicals and toxins in personal care products:
- Petroleum jelly
- Sodium lauryl sulfate