Posted on by Paula Gallagher
Inflammation is a natural occurrence in the human body, intended to heal and protect. It’s when it becomes chronic that real problems occur. Chronic inflammation lasts for months or years and can do all sorts of damage, depending on the cause of the inflammation and your body’s response.
It’s easy to tell when you're experiencing acute inflammation in your body. A cut or scrape will feel hot and uncomfortable. It might turn red and begin to swell. What’s happening inside is an increase of white blood cells, immune cells and cytokines that help fight infection.
Chronic inflammation can happen with no symptoms at all. It just quietly wreaks havoc inside your body, aiding in the progression of diseases and illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, fatty liver and diabetes. It is often present in people who are overweight or under immense stress.
What Are Some Causes of Chronic Inflammation?
Many causes of chronic inflammation stem from things we do every day, like eating less-than-nutritious foods with sugars, including high-fructose corn syrup, plus refined carbs. Processed foods with high trans fats damage endothelial cells in your arteries and promote inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can cause damage to your heart, brain and digestion. It also changes the texture and health of your skin and stiffens your joints. It affects all areas of your body, accelerates aging, and makes you feel awful. You can control it in many cases by changing your lifestyle.
What Are Some Easy Ways to Fight Chronic Inflammation?
You can help control chronic inflammation with some simple lifestyle changes, such as lowering alcohol intake, adding more movement in your day and eating a healthy diet. What you eat and drink has a significant impact on chronic inflammation, and some foods and supplements go a long way in fighting off inflammation.
Here are three ways to fight inflammation naturally.
1. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Excessive drinking for many years, or binge drinking on occasion, has severe implications for long-term health. For example, alcohol changes the balance of harmful and good bacteria in the gut and causes inflammation in the intestines. The only way to stop this is to reduce or eliminate the intake of alcohol.
Exercising causes your muscles to release proteins that can help fight inflammation. The longer the workout, the more of these anti-inflammatory proteins are released. It’s one reason why it is recommended that many people with heart disease and diabetes stick to strict exercise regimens. Exercise also reduces abdominal fat, which is known to promote inflammation.
3. Healthy Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Your body’s immune system is triggered whenever something foreign enters it, including chemicals in your food or pollen in the air. Eating a healthy anti-inflammatory diet means choosing foods that combat inflammation.
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet combined with other lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce the risk of inflammation. Choosing a wide variety of anti-inflammatory foods can assist in lowering your risk of many diseases and illnesses.
7 Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Foods that are highly processed, like hot dogs, French fries, and soda, are likely to cause inflammation. We know it’s good to avoid them as often as possible. Fortunately, some foods work in the opposite direction, and can actively fight against inflammation.
Here are some of the best foods and supplements to include in an anti-inflammatory diet.
It is a spice commonly found in many kitchen pantries, but not many people understand its full benefits, such as fighting arthritis pain and increasing mobility. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory. Try it as a supplement, if it’s not something you want to toss into the evening meal.
Dark chocolate contains compounds called flavanols that produce anti-inflammatory microbes. These microbes enter the bloodstream and work to protect the heart and arteries from damage. Dark chocolate contains a higher content of cocoa than other types of chocolate, which facilitates the process.
The presence of linolenic and linoleic acids in fenugreek makes it a powerful anti-inflammatory herb. It’s been shown to also have anti-arthritic, antimicrobial, antitumorigenic (helps prevent tumors), and antidiabetic properties. It is often used as a tea to aid in digestion and ease symptoms of acid reflux.
Fish with lots of oils, like salmon and sardines, are super inflammation fighters. They are packed full of protein and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that excel at reducing inflammation. Eating these fatty fish or taking supplements can help to reduce the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP).
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, which can reduce levels of cytokines and NF-kB to fight inflammation. You can also find sulforaphane in a supplement.
These wonderful fruits have more potassium than bananas and are packed with protein, magnesium, and fiber, which all pack a powerful anti-inflammatory punch. Mix up a batch of guacamole or toss it in a smoothie to soak up the benefits this superfood has to offer.
There has been lots of news lately about the health benefits of green tea. It’s been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and obesity. Green tea has many health benefits because of its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant constituents, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG.
These foods are just the beginning. There are many more foods, herbs, drinks, and supplements that can fight against inflammation and boost your immunity, energy and mood. Add these to lifestyle changes like lowering alcohol intake and exercising more, and you have a healthy living routine that can improve your health.
Knowledgeable Guidance for Your Supplement Questions
You can manage chronic inflammation with healthy choices, but it’s always best to get expert guidance. Village Green is a nutritional and wellness supplement store that provides personalized health plans. Our store is staffed by pharmacists, nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, and clinical herbalists who help customers find the best supplementation and dosage that is right for each person. Contact Village Green Apothecary to speak with an expert regarding questions about supplementation to fight inflammation.
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Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.