Looking for ways to prevent or reverse chronic inflammation is a wise investment of your time in view of the connection between chronic, or systemic, inflammation and chronic conditions. Although inflammation is a natural response in the human body, designed to help in the healing process, it can harm your body if it occurs at the wrong time. For example, inflammation aids the healing process during an injury. Once the injury heals, the mechanism shuts off and the inflammation process returns to normal.
Unfortunately, certain inflammation triggers can cause the mechanism to stay on “on” mode all the time. When this happens, chronic inflammation develops. If the condition is not corrected, the problem becomes chronic. Over time, chronic diseases such as heart disease and organ failure could develop and result in death. Fortunately, you can take measures to reverse chronic inflammation.
Chronic Inflammation and Your Diet
Rather than adopting a diet, reversing inflammation requires lifestyle changes. It is important to eliminate all processed and refined foods. Such foods contain empty calories, no nutritional value and chemicals, which can trigger an inflammation response in the body.
You should also avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates, or foods that turn to sugar very quickly. Examples of simple carbohydrates include white bread, pasta, potatoes, cereals high in sugar, corn syrup, various juices, soft drinks and white rice.
The reason that simple carbohydrates, including sugar, can lead to inflammation is that the rapid spike in blood sugar levels can trigger biochemical changes in the cell. Moreover, when sugar rises rapidly, it often attaches itself to collagen and increase inflammation.
Include 100 percent whole grain bread in your diet. If possible, choose sprouted whole grain bread. Consume brown rice instead of white rice. Replace vegetable oil with grape seed, coconut or avocado oil. Most oils are heat sensitive and produce toxins when exposed to high temperatures. Grape seed oil is the oil of choice when it comes to withstanding high cooking temperatures. Use olive oil in salads or to flavor your food. Add the olive oil after cooking the food, as heat can destroy the healing properties in the oil.
Garnish and flavor your food with red onions. Red onions are rich in quercetin and flavanoids, which inhibit and fight inflammation. Pineapple also aids in the fight against inflammation due to its quercetin content.
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is important in order to reverse chronic inflammation.
Use inflammation-lowering herbs and spices in salads, as garnishments or in fresh vegetable juice.
- Turmeric - Suppresses inflammation-causing chemicals in the body.
- Ginger - According to research, ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties comparable to those in allopathic (conventional) medications.
- Cinnamon - Alleviates inflammation by lowering the production of arachidonic acid (omega-6 fatty acid - also responsible for chronic inflammation).
- Holy basil - contains anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and properties comparable to those found in aspirin, ibuprofren and naproxen, according to Researchers from the University of Michigan.
- Bay leaf, oregano, garlic, rosemary and thyme are sources of phytonutrients, which inhibit the production of inflammation-causing enzymes such as COX-2.
- Cayenne pepper - Promotes circulation and lowers inflammation.
- Omega-3 fatty acids aid in the production and rebuilding of new cells. Omega-3 is essential in the fight against chronic inflammation. You can obtain omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed, fish oil, and grape seed oil.
- Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple. The supplement is available on the market in capsule form.
- Vitamins C and E also help the body fight against chronic inflammation. These vitamins not only contain antioxidant properties but also pay a role in tissue repair.
- B vitamins work as catalysts - they increase the efficacy of other nutrients and supplements.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs include echinacea, burdock root, aloe vera, boswellia and bilberry. You can find these herbal supplements in tea form, in extracts, in capsules and in tablets.
- Exercise and Chronic Inflammation: Researchers report that exercising regularly can increase the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines, while reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines carry messages between cells and regulate numerous inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses.
- The Role of Hormones in Chronic Inflammation: Engaging in activities and doing things you enjoy can lower cellular inflammation and inhibit the production of stress hormones in the body, according to Dr. Northrup.
- Chronic Illnesses Related to Chronic Inflammation: heart disease, kidney disease, crohn’s disease, arthritis, bowel disorders, asthma, diabetes and cancer, among others.
It is important to prevent chronic inflammation in order to avoid chronic life-threatening conditions. Although not always easy, simple life-style changes such as healthy eating habits, regular exercise and taking natural supplements can help you prevent and even reverse chronic inflammation, as well as improve your quality of life.
Copyright © 2011 Ana Jackson. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part constitutes plagiarism, is illegal and strictly prohibited.
Readers who read this article also enjoyed:
- How to Find Out if You Have Chronic Inflammation
- How to Stay Healthy on a Budget
- The Negative Effects of Low pH Levels in the Human Body