Fri, Sep 21st 2012 09:30 am
Evan Apostolakis, N.D, Alive Medicine
Inflammation is the process by which the body heals and detoxifies itself. But when this process goes awry (as when the body’s immune system mistakenly initiates an inflammatory response even though there is not inflammation to suppress) it can lead to life-threatening illnesses. In fact, inflammation contributes to every major chronic condition including the three top killers in the United States: heart disease, cancer and stroke. It is also believed to play a significant role (as either a cause or effect) in many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis, colitis, and osteoporosis.
Here are six steps you can take to help prevent chronic inflammation in your body:
1. Consume More Omega 3 Fats and Reduce Inflammation Causing Foods. Consuming more omega-3 fats (found in salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola and olive oils) has been shown to support the body’s anti-inflammatory response and reduce chronic inflammation.
Sugar (including high-fructose corn syrup), refined flour and grains (grains that have the bran and germ remove during processing), dairy, and alcohol – these foods are amongst the leading causes of inflammation in the body. A general rule is that the more processed a food (or “food like-item”) is the more detrimental to your health it is. Whole foods is always the best way to go to reduce inflammation and for overall health.
2. Yoga and Exercise. A 2010 study found that women who had regularly practiced 75 to 90 minutes of a yoga twice-weekly for at least two years had markedly lower levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP), two key inflammatory markers, compared to those who did not practice yoga. Regular exercise has also been found to reduce CRP.
3. Choose Soy. The Food and Drug Administration has indicated that eating 25 grams of soy protein daily helps to reduce your risk of inflammation-driven cardiovascular disease. But according to two 2009 studies, even as little as half that may be helpful.
4. Eliminate or Significantly Reduce Trans Fats. The Nurses’ Health Study found that trans-fatty acids are linked to a significant bump in total body inflammation, especially in overweight women. Trans fats can be found in items including fried foods, packaged cookies, crackers, margarines, etc. Even if a food label reads 0 grams trans fats, it can still contain less than 0.5 gram per serving, so if you eat multiple servings, you could be eating a few grams. Read the ingredient list for partially hydrogenated oil, if you see it the product contains trans fats and stay away.
5. Up Your Magnesium Intake. Here’s yet another reason not to skimp on green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts: they are all rich in magnesium, a mineral that about 60 percent of us don’t consume enough of. There’s a lot of evidence that people with high inflammatory markers often have low magnesium levels. Eating more magnesium-rich foods could help lower your chances of inflammation.
6. Get More Sleep. If you’re not clocking at least 6 hours of restful sleep a night, you’re more susceptible to inflammation than those who have a solid night of slumber, according the American Heart Association. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep was linked to significantly increased levels of three key inflammatory markers—interleukin-6, CRP and fibrinogen.