How to Combat Inflammation
You’ve been advised to avoid inflammation, from your diet to your lifestyle but what exactly is it? Plenish nutrition expert Michelle Braud shares her insights and her top tips to combat the effects of inflammation on the body.
Inflammation is a buzzword that gets used a lot yet many of us (quite understandably!) don’t know what it actually means, and why it’s the cause of so many health problems.
Inflammation is part of the body’s response to infection and tissue damage, including burns and physical trauma. It is crucial to the healing process. When it’s a one-time thing, what’s known as “acute inflammation”, it is nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s necessary; you wouldn’t be able to recover from injuries without it.
When inflammation is chronic however, it becomes a serious problem in its own right. It makes you feel lousy, stops your body from working as well as it should, and can also contribute to other problems down the line. Inflammation has been connected in a number of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, parkinson’s, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, alzheimer’s, allergies, atherosclerosis, and even cancer. Inflammatory markers are prominent in obesity, and higher levels are associated with meals high in refined sugar and saturated fat.
There are several things you can do, both from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective, that can help combat inflammation.
Diet is often at the core of chronic inflammation. There are many unhealthy foods that are known to be triggers, as well as healthy foods that can help reduce the condition.
7 ANTI-INFLAMATORY FOODS I SWEAR BY
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Olive oil’s many health benefits are partially attributed to it’s ability to prevent inflammation. It contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat linked to reducing inflammation and is loaded with powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals. Best consumed unheated and makes great salad dressing with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of black cracked pepper.
Organosulfur compounds (organic compounds that contain Sulfur) in garlic have been found to inhibit inflammatory enzymes and to decrease production of inflammatory signaling molecules in the blood.
This cruciferous veggie contains an antioxidant called sulforaphane, which has been revealed to reduce levels of inflammatory compounds. It’s also linked to reduced risk of diseases like heart disease and cancer, thanks to its anti-inflammatory powers. Get your broccoli fix with Plenish’s Lift green juice, such an easy, effective and delicious way to dose up.
Trendy turmeric has a famed health reputation for good reason. It’s filled with curcumin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals while at the same time lowering levels of enzymes that cause inflammation. It’s like the Superman of anti-inflammatory foods. Plenish’s Elevate is one of the best ways to get your fix! This deliciously warming turmeric milk is packed with nature’s most vibrant nutrients. Sweet tasting yet naturally low in sugar, it’ll help combat inflammation and elevate you to the next level.
In addition to its brain health and blood pressure benefits, cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, an antioxidant that inhibits expression of inflammatory compounds. One of my favorite ways to include cinnamon in my diet is with my morning oats soaked in Plenish cashew milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1\2 an apple (which takes us on to the next inflammatory fighting food).
Apple skin contains anthocyanins, antioxidants that reduce inflammatory responses.
Strawberries are another superhero anti-inflammatory food. They contain a wealth of powerful antioxidants—vitamin C, anthocyanin, and glutathione. Studies have shown that regular consumption can reduce inflammatory markers.
THE HABITS THAT COULD BE CAUSING YOUR INFLAMMATION.
Eating processed foods isn’t the only factor that to contribute to inflammation. These common habits also supply ignition to inflammation.
Chronic stress compromises the body’s ability to regulate the inflammatory response. This is because the stress hormone cortisol is involved in the regulation of inflammation, and raised levels causes a chronically raised inflammatory state in the body. Stress can also lead to weight gain, leading to my next point.
Carrying a lot of extra weight can be stressful on the body and potentially lead to more inflammation. For example, overeating may stimulate an immune response that prompts inflammation; and excess fat tissue can conceal inflammatory compounds.
Moderation is key here. Drinking excessively, impairs gut and liver function, which can lead to chronic inflammation by producing toxic byproducts that promote inflammation as it’s broken down in the body. That’s one of many good reasons to keep your alcohol consumption in check.
Excessive stress, poor dietary habits, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise all contribute to low levels of chronic inflammation that often go undetected and can slowly build up for many years, often leading to the development of chronic disease. By trying not to let your life fill up with inflammatory stressors, limiting excess sugar, trans-fats and processed refined carbohydrates, as well as getting enough omega-3s and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, you’ll be doing the best you can to safeguard your overall health and combat inflammation.
Dr. Michelle Braude, MBBS, BSc Nutrition
For more from Dr. Michelle Braude visit www.thefoodeffect.co.uk
For more nutrition advice click here.
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Pre-order Michelle’s new book The Food Effect Diet book here.