Inflammation is the body's natural protective mechanism that defends infection, illness or injury. The signs of short term inflammation usually occur on the surface of the body - redness, pain, heat or swelling. Inflammation can also happen on a more serious, chronic basis and is often due to poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, exposure to toxins, or weight issues. Chronic inflammation is persistent, silent and within the body. If this inflammation continues it can lead to more serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high colesterol and arthritis.
The foods we chose on a daily basis play a huge role on inflammatory response. Eating a diet high in processed, sugary, refined foods or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and sodas can increase inflammation. Anti-inflmmatory, plant based foods enjoyed as part of our regular diet provide the key to optimum health.
Learning which foods can influence the inflammatory process is an important strategy for reducing any long term risks.
Include as much as possible
· A wide variety of plant based foods - whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables, fermented foods, nuts, seeds, and berries
· Plenty of fresh, local, and seasonal food as possible (ones that come straight from the fields rather than processed in a factory)
· Vegetables cooked in different ways.
· Whole grains on a daily basis including oats, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, or quinoa.
· Olive oil as the main cooking oil.
· More vegetable protein especially from beans and traditional soy such as tofu, tempeh, or natto.
· Fruits and vegetables from the full range of the color spectrum, especially berries, avocado, celery, squash, pumpkin, radish, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens
· Organic produce.
· Broccoli, cabbage, kale, and caulflower often.
· Sea vegetables. Include them in soups, bean dishes, stir frys, and salads
· Almonds, walnuts, flax, chia, and black sesame seeds
· Fermented foods; miso, sauerkraut, kimchee, olives or umeboshi
· Pure spring water, herbal teas, infusions, kukicha or green tea throughout the day
· Ginger, turmeric, cinammon, garlic and fresh herbs in your meals
· Mushrooms especially shiitake in soups, stews, and vegetable dishes
Avoid as much as possible
· Processed, packaged and fast food.
· Refined carbs
· Saturated fats from dairy and animal foods
· Palm oil, corn oil and mixed vegetable oils
· Products made with high fructose corn syrup
· Margerine and vegetable shortening
· Coffee, energy drinks, and sodas
· Sugar in cakes, cookies, biscuits, desserts, candy, ice cream
· Excessive alcohol
· Processed meats
· Food additives and synthetic sweeteners
· Conventional fruits and vegetables that carry pesticide residues.
In addition to diet it is very important to
Have enough deep and restful sleep. Go to bed before midnight and get up with the morning sun.
Reduce stress by spending time in nature, learning simple meditation techniques, and slowing down.
Do a daily body rub. Briskly rub your entire body with a hot damp towel.
Laugh with friends and family or watch funny movies.
Get plenty of outdoor exercise for at least 1 hour a day. The hour can be divided into shorter sessions such as 4 x 15 minutes or 2 x 30 minutes.