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Inflammation the silent killer: good nutrition can help you fight the disease

Inflammation the silent killer: good nutrition can help you fight the disease

Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system’s response to injury and infection. It is the body’s way of signalling the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue, as well as defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. Without inflammation as a physiological response, wounds would fester, and infections could become deadly.

However, if the inflammatory process goes on for too long or if the inflammatory response occurs in places where it is not needed, it can become problematic. Chronic inflammation has been linked to certain diseases such as heart disease or stroke, and may also lead to autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. But a healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep inflammation under control.

Fruits, vegetables, pepper, spices, green tea, tomatoes, berries, and fatty fish are considered to be the best natural foods that reduce the risk of inflammation. While sugar, saturated fat, trans fats, refined carbs and lack of physical activity are likely to majorly increase one’s risk. 

An anti-inflammatory diet…

A diet that contains antioxidants is beneficial to health. It stimulates some of the key processes in the body to lessen the symptoms. The Mediterranean diet, recognised as one of the healthiest diets in the world, has been identified as the closest thing to an “anti-inflammatory diet” because of its emphasis on including plenty of fruit and veg, whole grains, lean protein sources, herbs and spices, and healthy fat sources (like chia seeds, walnuts, avocado, and olive oil) in the diet every day. These healthy whole foods deliver vitamins, minerals and the antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system and ward off inflammation.

(Image: Houston Chronicle)

The berries group is full of strong anti-inflammatory properties that can be used against inflammation.  Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries and blackberries are full of dense phytonutrients such as anthocyanins which acts as antioxidants and are helpful against inflammation. High-fat fruit and veg like avocados and olives are included to reduce inflammation.Tomatoes are a nutritional super food and encompass vitamins C, potassium, and lycopene.

The cruciferous family including kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bokchoy, arugula and rocket contains strong anti-inflammatory properties.Turmeric, fenugreek, and cinnamon are all anti-inflammatory spices.Green tea is the healthiest beverage you can drink.Its vast benefits help the body to decrease inflammation and swelling because of its epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.Load up on omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies, as their EPA and DHA qualities reduce inflammation.Dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage contains flavanols which contribute to anti-inflammation.

The foods to avoid:

Refined sugars: sugar, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners have been named as harmful substances which are likely to increase inflammation. 

Trans-fats: found in fast food, snacks, fried products, processed foods, for example, cookies, donuts, crackers, margarine. Trans-fat is based on hydrogenation which causes infection and inflammation in the human body.

Saturated fats: dairy, cheese, fat,and red meat are the biggest sources of saturated fat and are likely to cause inflammation in the body.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are very good for your healthand lifestyle.However,excessive quantities of omega fatty acids may enhance inflammation. This group includes soybean, sunflower, safflower,and corn oil.

Avoid eating products such as: white flour, white rice, white potatoes, and lots of cereals. These contained a high glycemic index, which further causes inflammation.
Gluten founds in wheat, rye, barley, and casein dairy products contain allergens which cause inflammation and swelling.
Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) is a common and strong flavor, primarily used in Asian foods. MSG can cause inflammation and many countries have since prohibited its use.
 
Exercises to reduce inflammation:
Aerobic exercise: low intensity, steady-rate cardio work out may increase fat-burning
Anaerobic exercise: recognized by a short burst of energy, including strength training, cross-fit and high-intensity interval training.
Flexibility exercise: yoga and muscle stretching increase the flexibility of muscles, support joints and range of muscle motion.

Stability exercise: core training and balance improves alignment, muscle strength, and control.

Running or walking: cardiovascular exercise boosts the immune system, builds up stamina and strengthens the heart, preventing and managing chronic conditions. The elliptical machine is an efficient exercise machine for cardio. It boosts stamina and burns calories with its high-intensity interval training and cardio workouts.

Cycling: is a great cardio exercise to burn calories and strengthen the muscle. It improves physical and mental health and can better your lung capacity and decrease the risk of heart disease.

To conclude, inflammation is a natural part ofour immune response. When our body activates our immune system, it sends out inflammatory sells to tackle disease, infection, and pathogens. However, if our body sends out inflammatory cells when we are not sick or injured, it could be indicative of disease such as, Alzheimer’s, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory containing foods are proven to be helpful against unnecessary inflammation and therefore effective in reducing the likelihood of the aforementioned diseases.

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