How To Reduce Inflammation Using Foods You Already Have in Your Kitchen
You are probably hearing a lot of chatter about inflammation and anti-inflammatory diets lately. Inflammation is a major factor in your body’s health, so it is definitely an important subject on which to become educated, so I wanted to cover some main points that will help you calm the fire within.
It’s important to know that there are two kinds of inflammation that can take place inside of you.
The first one is called acute inflammation, which shows up as redness, heat, soreness and swelling. Acute inflammation is your body’s response to harmful stimuli, damaged cells or irritants. It can be easily confused with an infection, but it is actually your body trying to correct the disturbance, by flooding the area with blood. It is the way in which your body attempts to heal itself.
The other (and more serious) type of inflammation is called chronic inflammation, which is the constant healing and destruction of local cells. Chronic inflammation can happen when the body experiences a trauma in which it never truly heals. It may take months, or even years, for chronic inflammation to take it’s toll on your health, but if left unchecked, it can lead to a plethora of serious and potentially deadly diseases.
Some of the diseases and conditions caused by chronic inflammation are: inflammatory bowel disease, vasculitis, sarcoidosis, asthma, celiac disease, autoimmune diseases (MS, lupus, arthritis…to name a few), alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer.
So how do you reduce inflammation and it’s long term effects?
There are many foods and a few supplements that are more than likely readily available. Some common spices, that you probably already have in your cabinet, include:
Ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper and cloves, all of which aid to naturally reduce inflammation. You should try to include them in your cooking daily for noticeable improvement.
I’m particularly fond of cinnamon, turmeric and ginger when allergy season comes around. Allergies are, after all, inflammation caused by your body’s reaction to foreign substances. So I make sure to add cinnamon to my coffee, yogurt and my kid’s oatmeal and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches all year long.
Although turmeric is bright in color and used in many Indian dishes, the flavor is mild enough that I use it in many of my favorite dishes. I’ve even added it to smoothies without my kids knowing the difference.
Ginger is wonderful for digestive issues as well as sore throat and improving immunity.
Some other foods that are wonderful for their anti-inflammatory properties include: wild caught fish, dark leafy greens, raw nuts (almonds and walnuts), beets, garlic, onion, high quality olive oil (unheated), unrefined coconut oil, dark berries and tart cherries. Sounds pretty good, right?
Fish is my number one pick to fight inflammation. It is naturally high in healthy omega-3 fats, which are vital to your body’s well being. If you truly can’t stomach the smell or taste of fish, you might try fish oil capsules or liquid, both of which can be found without that fishy flavor. I recommend a high quality fish oil, such as Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil. They are easy to take and don’t have an aftertaste. If you are vegetarian, but still want a great source of omega-3 fats, I recommend chia seeds. They are high in omega-3, fiber, protein, calcium and iron.
Vitamins and minerals that are great for reducing inflammation are: Vitamin C (200 mg),Vitamin E (400 IU) and Selenium (200 mcg).
Foods to avoid, or at the very least, limit: sugar, alcohol, caffeine, white flour, omega-6 fatty acids (vegetable oils), dairy, MSG and trans fats.
For some people, avoiding gluten, dairy and soy has been proven to be extremely beneficial in reducing inflammation. Elimination of these ingredients has been shown to hugely reduce the symptoms of people suffering from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory ailments, as well as numerous other autoimmune diseases.
Theresa Bonner is a Certified Health Coach that has received her training and education from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is certified with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches.
Before attending IIN, she was an avid health and nutrition researcher for 20 years. She specializes in educating her clients on how to make the healthiest choices for their individual needs. She guides her clients through setting and attaining the goals that will lead to life changing health and vitality.
When Theresa is not working with clients, she is constantly continuing her education in nutrition and coaching techniques. She is also a mother of two young sons who loves to cook, write, eat good food, sing, dance and get involved in her community. She is currently an active board member of the Somerville New Jersey Municipal Alliance and Youth Services Commission.
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