Inflammation is one of your body’s natural defense mechanisms. It helps your body to heal and is a vital tool for a healthy immune system. When you stub your toe or cut yourself, your immune system jumps into action. White blood cells are rushed to the injured area to surround and protect it. A similar thing happens when you have a cold or virus. Your white blood cells protect and repair your body so that you can bounce back to better health.
This response is called acute inflammation. It’s a rapid response from your body that lasts a relatively short time and is an important part of staying healthy.
There’s also chronic inflammation, and this type of inflammation can lead to serious health problems. Chronic inflammation is your body’s response when exposed to unwanted invaders like cigarette smoke or even stress. Chronic inflammation is constant, low-level inflammation that can increase with age and also if you’re carrying excess body weight. It has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
In some situations, the immune system goes haywire and produces chronic inflammation without any obvious trigger. This is the case with autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
So, what can you do to reduce chronic inflammation in your body? While certain environmental factors can increase inflammation, other things can work as natural anti-inflammatories for the body. Try these natural strategies to reduce inflammation:
- Eat more plants. Pack your plate with a wide range of different-colored fruits and vegetables, prioritizing plant proteins like legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Switch to whole grains. Try to cut out as many refined carbohydrates as possible, such as white bread, white rice, and highly processed baked goods. Whenever possible, switch to whole grains instead.
- Spice it up. Flavor your food with herbs and spices, such as turmeric, garlic, and ginger.
- Get balanced. Your body tries to fight stress the same way it fights infection. If stress is a constant part of your life, the inflammation could be constant too. It’s important to find time to relax, get some balance back, and discover the stress-management tactics that work best for you.
Article courtesy of Sanitarium Health Food Company. For more information and heart-healthy recipes, visit sanitarium.com.au.