8 Steps to Create Optimal Health Using an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
By Natalie Sperling
Everyone will experience the pain of inflammation at some point in their life. Inflammation is an immune response to injuries, toxins, allergies or infections and causes pain, heat and swelling in the affected areas.
Types Of Inflammation
There are two basic types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is basically the resulting pain that comes on quickly (like twisting an ankle). The pain, heat and swelling signal to the body that something is wrong and the immune system rushes in to repair the injured tissues.
When acute inflammation isn’t properly treated, it can develop into chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses, including heart disease, many cancers, obesity, depression, autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. Stress, lack of exercise and exposure to toxins can all contribute to chronic inflammation.
Since more than 70% of our immune system cells are found in our digestive tract, your immune response is greatly affected by the foods that you eat.
Here Are 8 Steps To Help You Transition To And Thrive On An Anti-inflammatory Diet.
1. Reduce Your Intake Of Caffeine
Caffeine works as a diuretic, which may deplete your body of essential minerals, contribute to dehydration and disrupt sleep. Not to mention that the jolt of energy you get from caffeine is short-lived. Be sure to gradually reduce your caffeine intake to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
If you absolutely can’t live without your cuppa joe, switch from regular coffee to espresso. Espresso contains less caffeine than regular coffee and is often freshly ground, so it will contain more antioxidants.
2. Start Your Day With Lemon Water
Now that you aren’t starting your day with a cup of dehydrating coffee, what should you be having? Warm lemon water, of course! Before breakfast, squeeze the juice from a ¼ to ½ of a lemon into a mug of warm water.
Lemon water cleanses the body by increasing the liver’s detoxifying enzymes, stimulates the secretion of bile, alkalinizes the body and brightens your skin.
3. Stay Hydrated
Keep up the hydration train for the rest of the day by drinking filtered water and non-caffeinated herbal teas. Staying hydrated is essential for every metabolic process in your body. Water helps you eliminate toxins, decrease inflammation in your intestines and keep you regulated.
How much water should you be drinking? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But, a good place to start is with 8 glasses of water or herbal tea per day. A good way to gauge your hydration is to look at the color of your urine – it should be a pale yellow. Bright yellow indicates that it’s too concentrated, meaning you may be dehydrated. Clear urine means you may have been drinking too much water (keep in mind that some medications and supplements can alter urine colour).
4. Skip The Sugar
Sugar has been called a “legal drug” and for good reason. This evil stuff makes us fat, promotes type 2 diabetes and lowers immune system function. And some experts believe that the average North American eats a whooping 150 pounds every year!
Now you may be thinking “I only have dessert on the weekend.” But sugar is hidden in so many foods you wouldn’t typically associate with being sweet, including salad dressings, pasta sauces, cereals (even the “healthy” ones), granola bars, protein bars, yogurt and low-fat products.
Here’s what to look for when checking a list of ingredients for hidden sugars: brown sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, mannitol, sorbitol, sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, lactose, dextrose (anything ending in “ose”), corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup.
5. Eliminate Refined Foods
Have you ever read the label on a box of cookies and wondered how to even pronounce the words? Refined, processed and packaged foods have many additives, preservatives and colorings added. Many of these compounds have been shown to contribute to the lowering of your digestive health and in increasing inflammation.
When shopping, always read the ingredients and avoid artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners. My motto is, ‘“if it was created in a lab it doesn’t go in my bod.”
6. Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Fiber helps the body eliminate toxins and strengthen gut muscles, which help move food through your digestive system.
Increase your intake of fruits and veggies slowly. A sudden increase in the amount of fiber can irritate the digestive system, causing gas and bloating.
7. Reduce Stress
Stress affects our digestion and alters the intestinal nervous system. Chronic stress slows down digestion by inhibiting the secretion of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, while acute stress can speed up digestion, resulting in poor absorption of nutrients. This can cause leaky gut and change the normal bacteria in the gut.
Remember, it isn’t only what you eat, it’s also how you live your life that affects digestion.
Find activities to do daily to help lower your stress levels. Do yoga, meditate, listen to relaxing music or take a bath.
8. Keep A Wellness Journal
For one week, write down everything that you eat and drink and how you feel physically and emotionally. This will increase your awareness of your feelings towards yourself and how different foods make you feel. I believe that you do not need to count your calories or measure your food; let your inner wisdom guide you.
About the Author
Natalie Sperling is a Transformational Holistic Health Coach. She works with high-achieving women, who desire a loving relationship with their body. Offering boutique style one-on-one and group coaching via phone, email and skype, she helps her clients uncover the negative thought patterns keeping them from having the confidence to live the life they dream of.
In her work, Natalie incorporates wisdom from her own journey, healing from degenerative disc disease, depression and anxiety, her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and in the Transformational Coaching Method. To learn more about Natalie and reserve your Love Your Body breakthrough session visit her website.
Image Credit: Med Guru, Look Great Lose Weight Save Money, Think Skin Diary, Mind Works, NHS60, She Knows
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Disclaimer: The techniques, strategies, and suggestions expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author, Drew Canole, and the associated www.fitlife.tv are not rendering medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury.
It is imperative that before beginning any nutrition or exercise program you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician.
Drew Canole and Fitlife.tv claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented here.
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.
As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
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