While inflammation is a natural process that can help our body to heal and defend itself from perceived threats, it is the prolonged presence of inflammation that can be harmful to us in the long run. Experiencing chronic inflammation can lead to a number of health problems, and as result, it is important for you to combat inflammation as a priority.
There are many things you can do to reduce inflammation naturally, and a lot of these involve your diet and lifestyle. Many lifestyle factors can promote inflammation, such as consuming high amounts of sugar and consuming a lot of refined carbohydrates like white bread can contribute to inflammation. Eating unhealthy foods has long been associated with an increase in inflammation, and so, it is your diet that is the best line of defense in reducing chronic inflammation.
An anti-inflammatory diet should be balanced so you have a variety of vitamins and minerals, but it's also important to know the key minerals and vitamins that can help the process along. Minimizing foods with excessive alcohol or processed meats and refined carbohydrates, increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods that contain a variety of nutrients can go a long way to reduce inflammation. Gere are five of the best, and why they can help decrease inflammation.
An incredibly popular fruit, the avocado has a rich and creamy texture with a mild flavor that pairs well with anything from eggs to bacon and also has a number of health benefits. Avocados are a great source of Vitamin E and monounsaturated fats and are a rich source of carotene, such as lutein, thought to keep the eyes healthy.
But the main benefit of avocados in terms of fighting chronic inflammation is the presence of magnesium. Low magnesium intake is linked to one of the many causes of chronic inflammation. Magnesium supplements have been shown to reduce CRP, an inflammatory marker linked with low magnesium levels.
Having a diet rich in magnesium is not just great for fighting inflammation, but it provides a number of other benefits, including preventing migraines, reducing insulin resistance, lowering blood pressure, and, anecdotally, people have found that they sleep better if they consume a magnesium complex.
Many people are making the swap from coffee and black tea to green tea. It is considered one of the healthiest beverages in the world, and not only is it loaded with antioxidants that have numerous health benefits that could protect against cancer, lower the risk of heart disease, and improve brain function, but can also calm people down due to the levels of amino acid L-theanine.
But the compound found in green tea that gets a lot of attention for its major impacts on health is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has a very strong antioxidant capacity with a positive impact on inflammation. As an antioxidant, EGCG will protect cells from damage relating to oxidative stress arising from free radicals.
As excessive free radicals in the body can cause damage to the cells and lead to oxidative stress, the EGCG present in green tea can suppress the activity of pro-inflammatory chemicals within your body, which has a positive impact on preventing diseases on a broad spectrum.
EGCG also has a number of other benefits, including positive impacts on heart health, promoting weight loss, and may play a key role in improving neurological cell function which could lead to preventing degenerative brain diseases and cognitive decline, like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer's. While more research is needed on the latter components, the benefits of EGCG in terms of inflammation have been widely noted.
One of the most popular berries in the world, an 80g serving of strawberries provides small doses of potassium, folate, and Vitamin C. This fruit may be cancer-protective, due to a combination of polyphenols, including ellagic acid and ellagitannins, which may halt the growth of cancer cells. Strawberries can also help with moderating blood sugar due to their low glycemic index.
Additionally, strawberries contain oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), a polyphenol substance found in the plant kingdom. Due to its high antioxidant activity, it has been shown to demonstrate a number of antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a great tool in the battle of the modern epidemic of inflammation.
Studies have shown the anti-inflammatory effects might be due to the formation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are small proteins in the body that signal the immune system to do its job and are responsible for a number of cell signaling processes.
Having been used in India for thousands of years as a spice to give curry its yellow color, curcumin is also a prominent medicinal herb. Specifically, curcumin is the main active ingredient found in turmeric which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric contains a number of bioactive compounds with medicinal properties. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that can help fight foreign invasions in the body and plays a key role in repairing the damage.
Chronic low-level inflammation has been believed to be a key role in many health conditions, such as degenerative conditions and heart disease. Turmeric can increase the antioxidant capacity of the body to fight oxidative damage by protecting your body from free radicals and has a number of potential benefits, including lowering your risk of heart disease, preventing cancer, and may also be useful in treating arthritis and even Alzheimer's disease.
It is important to note that the benefits cannot be obtained purely by consuming turmeric alone. Because the curcumin content within turmeric is approximately 3% according to weight, the benefits are found with increasing your supplement intake. In order to experience the major effects of curcumin, you need to improve how your body absorbs a substance (also known as bioavailability).
Some have stated that it can be beneficial to consume curcumin with black pepper, which contains the natural substance piperine, which can enhance absorption. Curcumin is also a fat-soluble substance and therefore it may also be beneficial to take curcumin with a meal that is high in fat. For example, traditional Indian curries are made with clarified butter known as ghee which can improve the absorption of the curcumin.
Grapes have a high number of antioxidants and contain prominent antioxidants known as polyphenols, which are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One of these anti-inflammatory properties is trans-resveratrol, which is thought to have a number of unique benefits.
For example, studies have indicated that resveratrol could reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect from any damage caused by LDL cholesterol (also known as “bad” cholesterol). The resveratrol antioxidant is also believed to slow down or prevent the growth of tumors such as in the stomach, the skin, lymph, and liver.
In addition, the inclusion of grapes in your diet could potentially help other conditions because of the resveratrol including controlling your blood glucose levels, boosting the immune system, and could help with osteoarthritis and Alzheimer's disease. While more evidence is needed of the major benefits, having resveratrol in your diet in the form of grape skins is very beneficial to your overall health.
Ensuring You Decrease Inflammation in the Right Ways
As you can see, having the right diet can make a massive difference in your ability to fight inflammation. When you have a healthy diet in place, you need to make sure you incorporate other habits to guarantee that you are living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, which includes:
Taking Regular Exercise
Exercise done on a moderate level or incorporating vigorous exercise with the right level of rest can decrease inflammation. Exercise is incredibly beneficial but intense long bouts of exercise may contribute to higher levels of inflammation in the long term, which could increase the risk of injury. Ensuring that you have a moderate approach to exercise, in conjunction with a healthy diet, is the best way to combat inflammation.
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep quality has an immediate impact on inflammation. When an individual is not sleeping well, it becomes harder to manage inflammation. Because a lack of sleep, even if it's for a few hours in the night, can trigger cellular pathways that contribute to tissue damage in inflammation. As our sleep immune function and our propensity for inflammation are all regulated by our circadian rhythms, when these are out of sync, our sleep is impacted, which means that our inflammation levels are raised.
Consuming the Right Supplements
The best supplements to reduce inflammation include curcumin and fish oil, but it's important to remember that combating inflammation is about lifestyle choice. As you can see, there are a number of foods that can decrease inflammation, but it's vital that you think of reducing inflammation as a combination method that incorporates supplements alongside regular exercise, good quality sleep, hydration, and a healthy diet.
When you combat inflammation, you will reap the benefits of an improved lifestyle, for example, improving symptoms of arthritis, decreasing your risk of obesity, and you will feel happier and healthier. Therefore, getting your diet right is the best place to begin.
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