Part 3 of a three-part series about Inflammation.
If you could protect yourself from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, eczema, asthma, dementia, and more, would you?
If I told you that you could protect yourself and have a better chance at staying healthy, would you be willing to make some changes in your life?
Chronic lifestyle diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia (and others) all have something in common. They all have an underlying cause: chronic inflammation.
This type of inflammation is like a smouldering fire inside the body that attacks the body from within.
Everyday lifestyle choices we make can either put fuel on that fire or put it out.
Take a moment and ask yourself:
- Am I stressed?
- Am I exposed to unhealthy chemicals?
- Am I using safe personal care products?
- Am I getting adequate, quality sleep?
- Am I getting sufficient exercise?
- Am I eating healthy?
- Am I overweight?
Studies have shown that living a healthier lifestyle and eating the right kids of foods can significantly bring down inflammation markers. It betters cholesterol, blood pressure, and increases brain function. Promising studies have even seen the reversal of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. *(1)
Key components of a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.
- Keep blood sugar stable
- Increase good cholesterol, lower bad
- Eat anti-oxidant-rich foods
- Increase Omega 3, decrease Omega 6 foods/oils
- Keep your gut microbiome balanced with healthy pre and probiotics
- Wide variety of vegetables, berries and other fruit (fruit within limits because it is high in sugar)
- Oily fish like salmon and herring
- Healthy oils like linseed and grape seed oil, olive- and coconut oil, nuts, flax- and chia seeds
- Probiotics found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi
- Herbs and spices like cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, and ginger, parsley, cilantro, thyme and oregano to name a few.
- Apple cider vinegar with the mother, lemon juice
- Whole grain like oats, barely, and rye (only in small amounts)
Foods to Avoid:
- Vegetable oils high in omega 6
- Processed foods
- White rice
- Avoid high glycemic carbs
Exercise is a great way to keep inflammation in check. If you are not used to exercising make sure you take it slow at first and listen to your body. Remember also to always clear it with your physician before starting a new exercise regime.
- Exercise 3-6 hours a week. A portion of the exercise should raise your heart rate. You should be able to still speak in short sentences but allow your body to be challenged some.
- Take a brisk walk or ride a bicycle daily. It is a great way to get in shape and get your heart pumping.
- Take part in strength training to build muscle.
- Good forms of exercise use many of your muscles. Swimming, running, and rowing build stamina, get your heart pumping and build muscles.
- Yoga and barre classes are also a great way to build muscle, strength, and balance.
Stress is a huge contributor to inflammation and disease. In a world that is constantly moving, ticking, making noise, with high expectations and little relaxation, the stress level is high in all of us. Often we are not even aware.
- Exercise daily if possible
- Yoga and meditation are great restorative practices
- Have a strong social life, a community of neighbors, family, and friends.
- Try to address stressful situations. Don’t let them fester in your heart.
- Take 100 deep breaths every day, throughout the day.
- A strong spiritual belief helps to relieve stress.
- Writing a diary, committing your thoughts to paper is a great way to let go and relieve anxiety.
Good sleep is one of the best ways to fight inflammation and disease. When our body can relax in a deep sleep, needed restoration takes place. Follow a few guidelines to get better quality, more solid, restorative rest.
- Adequate, quality sleep
- At least 7-8 hours
- Dark room without electronics
- Cooler temperature
- No electronics 2 hours before bed
- Have the same bedtime daily
- Get up at the same time every day
- No caffeine (drinks or foods) at least four hours before bed
- What to Eat to a Beat Disease by Dr. Li (1)
- Living Without Inflammation by Dr. Langer
- Understanding Inflammation, Harvard University, Harvard Health
- Food, What the Heck Should I Eat? By Dr. Hyman