More and more research points to the relationship between inflammation and chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, chronic disease, Alzheimer Disease, dementia and arthritis.
Inflammation is the body’s natural protective response to illness or injury. This can be beneficial if someone smashes their finger and it swells but when it is chronic all the time inside us long term, it can have negative effects on the body.
There are three blood tests that can be done to test for levels of chronic inflammation. These include C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 and fibrinogen.
There are several foods that can increase inflammation in our bodies and there are also several foods that may help the body fight inflammation. I will share some of these foods below. I also want to share several other lifestyle habits that may increase our risks for inflammation.
Lifestyle Facts that Increase Inflammation in Our Body:
- Genetics & Family History: Although, we can’t pick our parents and grandparents, I wanted to share that if someone in our family has had a history of chronic disease that this can increase our risk also. In addition, there is a lot that you can do to fight high levels of inflammation inside of our bodies.
- Smoking:Research has shown that smoking can increase the amount of inflammation in the body and that it can decrease when someone stops smoking.Here is an article that discusses this.
- What We Eat: There are some foods that are linked to increase levels of inflammation and these are saturated and trans fats, sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods. Foods that reduce inflammation include omega 3 fat rich foods like salmon, trout and other fatty fish, fruits and vegetables and whole grains. The Mediterranean Diet is a style of eating that has had a lot of research done on its powerful role in fighting inflammation.
- How Much Stress that We Feel:Here is a little bit about how this works. And here is how chronic stress can lead to depression. Here are some tips to help reduce stress.
- Not Getting Enough Shut Eye:Getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night can increase the amount of inflammation inside our body. Here are some great tips to get some shut eye.
- How Much We Move:Here is a great article about exercise and its role in fighting inflammation.
- Our Weight Status: Obesity may be one of the biggest contributors of inflammation because excess fat can secret over 100 kinds of anti-inflammatory messengers inside our body. Even just a little weight loss can play a big role in reducing the inflammation inside our body.
An interesting area in the study of inflammation is how spices may have a positive role in helping reduce it. Turmeric is one that we have hear the most about recently but also ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander and garlic have shown benefit too! It will be exciting to hear upcoming research in this area.
Another fascinating area in inflammation is the balance of omega 6 to omega 3 is important in the role of inflammation and this is an area that can be tricky for a lot of us. Before the influx of processed foods in our diet, we had more of a balance of these two types of fat and now many of us tend to have too many omega 6 fats. Here are two articles that may help explain this a little more from Todays Dietitian Eating Well
Many autoimmune diseases have an inflammatory piece and more research is needed to know more about foods and how it affects each one but a general healthy anti-inflammatory diet is a good start! Here is a great resource on autoimmune diseases.
I also am interested in learning in the role of essential oils in helping with inflammation. Many of these oils have been around almost since the beginning on time but more research should be done in this treatment also as a benefit. It is also important to know that some oils that are safe for humans may not be safe for pets. Here is an article with some research done with oils.
I will be discussing more about ways to reduce inflammation in upcoming talks, classes and workshops here in Asheville and around WNC. Check out the event calendar on the Vine Ripe Nutrition site for upcoming opportunities to learn more! I also provide individual nutrition counseling and group classes.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I enjoy helping clients be as healthy as they can be with healthy recipes and menu planning. If you are new to my blog, welcome and if you have been a regular reader, thank you and please share the Vine Ripe Nutrition website with a friend! I look forward to sharing more soon!