Despite the progress in the field of medicine, why are we as a nation getting sicker by the day? Have you wondered about that? Lifestyle diseases are on an all-time high, thanks mainly to our diet and our lifestyle. So, to protect you from the debilitating effects of chronic diseases, lowering your inflammation levels is crucial. Inflammation in the body causes a wide number of diseases, namely arthritis, diabetes, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and even cancer.
So, it is important to make lifestyle changes and make anti-inflammatory foods an intrinsic part of your daily diet. Besides the obvious prevention of diseases, an anti-inflammatory diet can delay the aging process, increases your metabolism and also stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Inflammation and immunity go hand in hand, and one way the immune system functions is causing an inflammatory response to outside bacteria and other invaders. Our body has a complex defense system and comprises two kinds of the immune system; one is inherent immunity, one which you are born with. It protects you from daily battles with the outside threats and the weapons it utilizes to combat with are mucus and stomach acid. Fevers and a cough reflex are some of the examples of antigens that your immunity fights with. Then there is an adaptive immune system which keeps developing as you grow, each time you are attacked by a virus or germ, it keeps a record of it and builds its own strategy to knock off the unknown enemy. It is fascinating to know about these complex system that our body possesses, a complex amalgamation of cells, biological pathways and chemicals which are capable of doing so many miraculous things.
Inflammation on its own is not problematic. First, let us get down to understanding what inflammation is and how an inflammatory response from the body is absolutely crucial to protect you from invaders. Inflammation is a sort of defense system which recognizes an invader and acts on it before it causes damage to our body. The immune system sends white blood cells to protect the outsider from damaging the tissue.
Our immune system is alerted by chemical mediators known as cytokines, which help in instigating the defense system to heal. An example is wound healing, and how inflammation protects it from invading microorganisms. Inflammation, as you have found out, is good for the body; the problem arises when inflammation gets out of hand. An over amplified inflammatory response can result in pain or swelling, This is when the inflammatory system is unregulated and fails to protect your body from invaders.
The immune system is so programmed that it can distinguish between situations when to attack and when not to attack. When the body’s own cell sends a signal, an antigen from your immune system will receive it, interpret it and not attack it. On the other hand, when the body is attacked by a harmful bacteria or virus, your immune system will respond and attack, accordingly.
But things go wrong when the immune system loses its ability to distinguish between its own and outside invaders and starts attacking its own cells, when things go horribly wrong. So when the defense system attacks its own cells and tissues instead of protecting them, it becomes the root cause of most problems, namely autoimmune diseases and other diseases.
Now you know about inflammation, but do you know how to recognize chronic inflammation?
If you are having one or more of the following symptoms, you need to take stock of things, namely, make some positive changes to your lifestyle!
You need to balance your inflammation levels in order to lead a happy disease-free life! But how do you bring about that balance? With the help of foods, of course! Your diet plan plays the all-important role in fixing inflammation and prevents diseases, whose root cause is inflammation. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, Hippocrates had said that ages ago, and modern day nutritionists and holistic healers are reiterating the same gospel truth! Here are some ways of putting your diet in order.
The vegetables which need to be added to the diet, in this case, should be okra, eggplant, and onions. The fruits rich in fiber are bananas and blueberries.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils are to be avoided completely, stick to oils, full of omega 3 fatty acids like olive oil and avoid the over consumption of red meat. This will take care of your heart health to a great extent.
Besides processed sugar like high fructose corn syrup, even artificial sugars are a complete no-no! High levels of consumption of this kind of foods have been said to increase the chances of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver syndrome, elevated uric acid levels and so on.
These spices are a great way to make your foods high on taste; and they turn out to be healthy as well.
Stick to Greek yogurt, apples, carrot sticks, and a handful of nuts to quell your hunger pangs.
Remember, your body requires fats, but it should be the right kind of fats like nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and clarified butter.
The right foods can do wonders to your health; foods which are wholesome, nutritious and anti-inflammatory in nature. The first thing which needs to be added to your diet is a healthy dose of anti-oxidants. Along with antioxidants, you need to add omega 3 Fatty acids and the right nutrients, namely vitamins and minerals too, to make it a perfect anti-inflammatory diet.
Foods to Include for Your Daily Dose of Omega-3 fatty acids
Some Herbs to Include in an Anti-Inflammatory Diet There is increasing evidence that shows that some culinary herbs like garlic, ginger, and turmeric can help reduce inflammation.
Foods to Exclude from an Anti-inflammatory Diet While there are some foods which should be included in your diet plan, there are some which you must avoid, like omega 6 fatty acids, which increase the inflammation levels of the body. The foods to avoid are,
This sample diet can help you to form an idea about what foods to include and what to exclude in your daily diet to reduce inflammation and also prevent various diseases.
Day 1 of Anti Inflammatory Diet
Day 2 of Anti Inflammatory Diet
Day 3 of Anti Inflammatory Diet
Day 4 of Anti Inflammatory Diet
Day 5 of Anti Inflammatory Diet
Day 6 of Anti Inflammatory Diet
Day 7 of Anti Inflammatory Diet
To move towards an anti-inflammatory diet, we have to move away from the standard American Diet and veer towards the tried and tested Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet is all about fresh fruits and vegetables, more of fish, less of meat and is absolutely free of additives and preservatives. It goes without saying that the people who follow the Mediterranean diet have less chances of getting afflicted with cancer.
The truth is stranger than fiction! Yes, when we hear the story of Stamatis Moraitis of Boynton Beach, Florida, who got diagnosed with lung cancer, we didn’t believe it either . He wanted to spend his last years closer to his roots so he went to live in Ikaria, an island off the Greek coast. He lived there for several months and he continued to live there happily and healthily for years together! That is the beauty of people living in these islands.
Fed on a typical Mediterranean diet they seldom suffer from any diseases. Ikarians also live about eight to ten years longer than the people living in America and have less chances of capitulating to cancers and cardiovascular disease; they also suffer less depression and report fewer cases of dementia. Perhaps it is the time we took cues from this diet and started transforming our diets for good! An anti-inflammatory diet is a key to a long healthy life. So, let us accept that and follow the path shown by the original pioneers of the Mediterranean Diet!