You become what you eat. Be mindful of how your diet influences inflammation in your body and what that means for your overall health.
These days, the term "anti-inflammatory diet" is used frequently in nutrition discussions. Inflammation appears to be harmful, but why? What's the connection between inflammation and food?
When you are sick or get injured, your body's natural defense mechanism is to go into overdrive with inflammation. A wound that swells and gets red signifies that your body's natural defenses are healing you. To begin healing, white blood cells must receive chemical signals from damaged tissue. Inflammation can also be mild, widespread, and long-lasting.
Chronic inflammation can cause serious harm to your health if left untreated. A buildup of plaque in the arteries might increase your risk of disease and stroke, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis (especially psoriatic arthritis), cancer, and even depression, when it goes into overdrive due to factors like poor diet and smoking.
But how do you go about doing that? Try out these ideas.
1. Eat a Lot of Fruits and Vegetables
Magnesium is a mineral that around half of us don't get enough of, and green leafy vegetables are a good source. Forrest H. Nielsen, Ph.D., a research nutritionist at the USDA's Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota, says, "I recommend anybody prone to inflammation to work on their magnesium intake." (Ask your doctor to perform a blood test to determine your magnesium levels.) "There's a lot of evidence to suggest that individuals with low magnesium levels frequently have elevated levels of inflammatory markers. Inflammatory disorders like heart disease and diabetes are connected with magnesium deficiency.
2. Take a Grip on Some Nuts
Compared to people who didn't frequently consume nuts, those who ate at least 1-ounce servings of nuts five times each week noticed their inflammatory biomarker levels drop, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The combination of fiber, antioxidants, omega-6, and omega-3 fatty acids in nuts has anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Do More Physical Activity
A growing waistline is one of the most common causes of inflammation. It's possible to counteract this by increasing your activity level. People who were least sedentary had the lowest levels of inflammation, even if they didn't lose weight, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (MSSE). Even though they were getting around two and a half hours of moderate to intense daily activity, it included yard labor and domestic duties. (Yes, even chasing Legos around the house counts!) In other words, even a modest amount of activity can put out the fires.
4. Manage Your Stress Levels
Is this something you do regularly? Those who experience a strong emotional response to stressful tasks (such as biting their nails when giving a presentation at work or becoming tense whenever someone presses their buttons) have higher levels of circulating interleukin-6 (a marker of inflammation) during stressful times than those who take stressful tasks in stride, according to a study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. As a Harvard Medical School professor explains: "Stress has a negative impact on your health in various ways." "When you're under stress, your heart and blood vessels work harder, which raises your blood pressure and heart rate. By hammering them more frequently, you're doing more harm than good. Inflammation remains if that harm occurs repeatedly."
5. Get Serious About Yoga
According to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, women who routinely practiced 75 to 90 minutes of yoga twice-weekly for at least two years had significantly reduced levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein, two critical inflammatory markers. According to a study co-author and professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University College of Medicine's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., "a core principle of yoga is that practicing can lessen stress reactions." According to researchers, yoga is thought to have a stress-reducing effect on the body.
6. Make Sure You're Getting Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep may not be the only factor contributing to inflammation. Your erratic behavior when you're fatigued may add fuel to the fire. Researchers at The Ohio State University found that when sleep-deprived couples fought, inflammatory levels skyrocketed. When confronted with a disagreement, inflammatory markers increased by 6% for spouses every hour of sleep less than seven hours. Stress can induce inflammation in your body if you don't get enough sleep. That's good news: Using healthy conflict-resolution methods saved both parties.