Inflammation sounds scary, but it’s actually your body’s way of telling you that it is fighting an infection. However, inflammation is not always a good thing.
An inflammation comes with physical manifestations that can affect how you go about your daily tasks. It can cause redness, swelling, possible fevers, and pain. And when it becomes chronic, it can cause other serious, life-threatening illnesses like cancer, tuberculosis, and lupus.
What causes chronic inflammation?
Inflammation happens when your body fights off ‘invaders’ – these can be anything that can cause your organs harm – bacteria, viruses, injury, and the like. This is one way your body is ‘healing itself’.
But sometimes, this ‘system’ veers off the right track and becomes overactivated for an extended period of time, making it ineffective and also dangerous for your body. This is chronic inflammation.
Why does this happen?
There can be a number of reasons – most common of which are stress, poor dietary choices, a sedentary lifestyle, and repeated infections.
How do you avoid chronic inflammation?
Do you need to go to a doctor to get a prescription?
Do you need to spend a lot to find the solution?
Does it require you to totally overhaul your lifestyle?
While the idea of avoiding chronic inflammation may sound overwhelming, all it really takes are these three simple (but very significant) ways to get you off to a solid start:
1. Eliminate added sugars from your daily diet.
Sugar has a way of making anything taste better. Sadly, added sugar is also highly addictive, it can mess up your body’s natural digestive triggers, and can eventually cause a string of illnesses like diabetes, obesity, and even heart ailments.
Reducing and removing added sugar doesn’t just mean denying your sweet tooth that luscious ice cream cake or that mouth-watering dessert pie. It also means avoiding processed food, junk food, trans fats, and refined sugar.
How do you deal with this?
Start Eating Clean – consume real, whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and healthy carbohydrates. These food are nutrient-dense and give you the vitamins and minerals you need. And they are just as delicious (if not even more)!
You may also want to increase your consumption of food rich in probiotics (good for gut health and your immune system) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in food like salmon, walnuts, and olive oil).
Make sure to also balance your food portions, and still use natural sweeteners sparingly.
This change in your diet not only weans you off the sugar addiction, it also rids your body of possible toxins coming from chemical additives usually found in processed food.
2. Exercise daily and live an active lifestyle.
You don’t have to work out like you’re training for the Olympics, but you do have to make sure that your body gets its daily dose of stretching, movement, and just plain ‘sweating it out’.
“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration, and resentment.” – Dale Carnegie
Simple but regular exercise will keep your body’s blood flow regular and will ensure that your weight is kept in check. When you exercise, your body also releases a protein molecule called cytokine, and this is said to help reduce levels of inflammation as well.
The best way to keep an active lifestyle is to incorporate your exercises into your daily routine. Park far enough so you still have a few minutes of walk time to your office. Use your morning break to do a few minutes of stretching. Schedule a short night walk jog with friends or family members after dinner.
The more naturally you incorporate fitness into your life, the easier it is to enjoy the routine. Do this daily and enjoy the energizing and anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise.
3. Make relaxation and staying stress-free a priority.
Stressing over a deadline occasionally is not a problem.
But, feeling depressed over a recent failure for an extended period of time, feeling anxious over every big event, and basically stressing over so many things is bound to make chronic stress happen.
“Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.” – Robert Eliot
Repeated or chronic stress causes cortisol levels in your body to rise and consequently leads to hormonal imbalance and an increased heart rate. These can wreak havoc to your body’s natural healing system, and can eventually cause chronic inflammation.
With conscious effort though, all that can be avoided by making sure that you find a point of balance in your everyday life. Allow a stretch of time daily when you just ease out, relax, and do something calming that you greatly enjoy.
It can be that half hour before bed where you just enjoy a warm bath or read a good book. It can be that ten minutes of your morning doing yoga stretches and smoothie preps while giggling with the kids. It can also be that simple stop by a nearby park on your way home from work to watch the sunset.
These ‘small efforts’ help you prepare for the day ahead, allow you to clear your mind, and basically just stop stress on its tracks. The effects manifest on you physically and mentally, regulating your heart rate, increasing your focus, and even improving your productivity.
All three of these natural ideas help you effectively avoid inflammation.
And more than that, being able to do all three will also dramatically improve your health and in the long run, your quality of life.
Want a Clean Eating plan that helps you beat inflammation?
Learn more about joining our Next 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge.
Do you have any tips to share on avoiding inflammation?
Share with us in the comments section below!