Learn factors that play a role in chronic inflammation, the silent condition that may contribute to impaired immune function, weight gain and even heart disease.
Inflammation is a buzzword that's used by health experts, celebrity doctors and social media influencers, all who practice and believe inflammation affects a vast number of your body's systems.
So what is inflammation? It's a natural process that protects your body and allows it to heal. Acute inflammation occurs after an injury, such as when you get a minor cut or sprain. The area gets red and swollen and typically hurts for a few days, but it heals relatively fast. Chronic inflammation is more subtle but can last weeks, months or years and set you up for health problems including arthritis, insulin resistance, obesity and heart disease.
Lifestyle factors can contribute to chronic inflammation. Poor quality and inadequate sleep appears to promote increased reals of cortisol (the stress hormone), which may increase hunger and lead to cravings for sugary and processed foods. Daily stress from work, family responsibilities, financial burdens and commuting can cause a constant release and high level of cortisol in your blood. High cortisol levels may promote insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes and weight gain.
Chronic inflammation can contribute to other serious health issues such as coronary artery disease and autoimmune disease, and may even impact the way your immune system reacts to viruses and bacterial infections. When inflammation is kept in check, your body is less likely to over activate the immune system when a foreign invader attacks, one of the major concerns when someone falls ill with a viral infection like COVID-19.
One of the most commonly talk about lifestyle factors that impacts inflammation is FOOD! Fortunately, there's a good amount of research about which foods cause inflammation and which foods help fight it.
Consuming high amounts of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and white refined carbohydrates have been linked to insulin resistance, weight gain and inflammation. Processed and packaged foods that contain artificial trans fats have been shown in some studies to promote inflammation and may damage the lining of your arteries.
Vegetable oils that come from seeds such a corn and soy (used in home cooking, restaurants and processed foods) are high in omega-6 fatty acids. The majority of omega-6 fatty acids have been linked to inflammation as well as altering the omega-6 to omega -3 ratio in favor of more inflammation which can increase the risk of obesity and chronic disease.
A diet based on whole nutrient-dense foods mostly from plants is rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants and phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.
Anti-inflammatory foods include some fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and healthy proteins like sardines and fish. To ensure you are getting enough anti-inflammatory foods in every meal, start by covering half of your plate with colorful veggies such as dark leafy greens, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers and berries. Then fill the other half with your favorite healthy protein.
To compliment your anti-inflammatory eating, incorporate some form of daily exercise, breathing work or meditation to reduce stress, and engage in an evening routine that prioritizes sleep.
I will be hosting a nutrition class to launch My 14-day anti-inflammatory lifestyle plan on August 8, 2020. For more information visit www.bodybyouida.com and send me a message you're interested in receiving more info.
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