What is Inflammation?
Acute inflammation is a necessary process which occurs in response to injury or infection. It’s our immune system’s natural response and includes signs such as redness, swelling, a warm sensation, or sometimes just a pain. Inflammation constitutes an important aspect of the healing process and therefore is extremely important.
Chronic inflammation occurs when the body undergoes an unnatural increase in the amount of pro-inflammatory compounds, which linger for a longer period of time. Chronic Inflammation is also an indicator for many chronic ailments.
How can we reduce Chronic Inflammation ?
Reducing inflammation causing foods in our diet and increasing anti inflammatory items - Avoiding pro-inflammatory foods such as refined grains, sugar, dairy, processed foods, trans fat, soda, margarine etc can improve inflammatory symptoms in the body. Choose a balanced diet and boost your intake of whole grains, leafy vegetables, fruits, lean meat and antioxidant-rich foods.
Ensuring sufficient good quality sleep - During sleep, our cells repair and regenerate. When sleep is restricted, cells fail to repair and this can trigger inflammation. A lack of sleep might also alter the body’s stress response system. Ensuring good night sleep for 7-8 hours helps to reduce inflammation.
Exercising regularly - Physical activity releases serotonin, which promotes a good night’s rest. Increasing serotonin levels can boost your mood, appetite, digestion, memory, and sexual drive. Exercise will also drive insulin down, and levels will normalize while keeping cortisol in check to prevent it from taking over your body.
Reducing stress - Meditating or light yoga for 15-30 mins everyday morning can destress your mind & soul. Reducing stress is another important factor for managing inflammation in your body.
Here is a list of anti-inflammatory foods which are natural and available in abundance.
TURMERIC - Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant as well as a selective antimicrobial and antifungal. However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high, it’s around 3%, by weight. So, it can be difficult to ensure the levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods. Hence, it’s imperative to have an extract rich in curcumin so that you get to experience the full range of benefits. Also, you should add black pepper to your plate along with turmeric to increase absorption of curcumin which otherwise is very low.
GINGER- In addition to its numerous health benefits, this wonder spice has digestion-friendly properties. Ginger has potential for treating a number of ailments including degenerative disorders (arthritis and rheumatism), digestive health (indigestion, constipation and ulcers), cardiovascular disorders (atherosclerosis and hypertension), diabetes mellitus, and cancer. It also has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties to help slow down the process of aging. Its additional antimicrobial potential can aid in treating infectious diseases as well.
GREEN VEGETABLES - Veggies are the cornerstone of an anti-inflammatory diet plan. Crucifers like kale, cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts make excellent bases for most meals (include more Indian options of crucifers). These are rich in phytochemicals, flavonoids which are plant-based antioxidants; brussels sprouts are especially high in kaempferol, an antioxidant which is known as its antitumor and high anti-inflammatory properties. Also, green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and vitamin A, all while being low in calories.
FRUITS- In the category of fruits few are known as high anti-inflammatory fruits such as berries, oranges, avocado, cherries, apples etc. Berries contain a lot of polyphenols. They are rich in antioxidants and may help to prevent cancer and heart disease. Avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats. Also, they're a good source of magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Half an avocado can add nicely to your daily intake of healthy fat, vitamins C, A, E, and B-complex vitamins. One of the key constituents of avocados is polyphenols that work as antioxidants. To a sandwich or salad add avocado slices, or come up with a tasty guacamole. Also, one of the greatest sources of potassium and Vitamin C is Oranges (how about gooseberry?). They also contain fibre, calcium, and folate, which help keep your heart healthy. Vitamin C is essential for immune system function & hormone balance.
NUTS - Nuts are known as anti-inflammatory foods too. Almonds are a great source of MUFA, vitamin E, and manganese, plant protein and magnesium. Walnuts are also a good source of healthy fats, protein, vitamin E, minerals, and phytochemicals called sterols. Walnuts are known to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart. Always soak nuts and then have them to get rid of the anti-nutrients.
DARK CHOCOLATE - Dark chocolate can benefit your brain and heart health, reduce inflammation, and combat oxidative stress in the body. Dark Chocolate contains flavonoids which can lower Cholesterol & Blood Pressure thereby leading to reduced risks of stroke, blood clots, and heart disease. To get maximum health benefits, you should eat dark chocolate with minimum 80% cacao. You can indulge yourself with coated almonds with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate and cacao contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Your brain uses tryptophan to produce the neurotransmitter Serotonin, which can increase feelings of overall happiness. Serotonin is the feel-good chemical and influences your mood, which has a high impact on stress hormones.
Here are a few benefits of anti-inflammatory foods.
Helps to boost energy
Aids in digestion
Reduces mood swings
Helps weight loss
Reduces risk of heart disease
Regulates blood pressure
Addresses swollen joints
A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods helps prevent many health conditions. Add these foods to your plate to add more value & nutrition in your daily diet.
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