When we injure ourselves, like spraining an ankle, it activates the body’s immune response. Our body attempts to heal the body by repairing damaged tissue and fighting against harmful viruses and bacteria. The hurt area may swell, become tender or painful, or heat up. Hormones, nutrients, and white blood cells are sent to fix the problem. This is called “acute inflammation” and is necessary for healing and repair. Alternatively, “chronic inflammation” is inflammation due to life-style factors such as obesity, poor diet, stress, smoking, etc. Chronic inflammation serves no function and persists day after day. This type of inflammation is the enemy and can lead to heart disease, diabetes, lung issues, bone health, cancer, and other conditions.
To reverse chronic inflammation it’s important to sleep, exercise, diet, and avoid harmful environments. Certain foods inflame: refined carbs, fried foods, sugary beverages, processed meats, and margarine inflammation (not surprisingly… these foods harm us in more ways than one) while others combat! Let’s increase these inflammation-fighting foods in our diet:
- Olive Oil
- Green Leafy Vegetables (spinach, kale, collards)
- Nuts (almonds & walnuts)
- Fatty Fish
- Fruit (berries, cherries, oranges)
These foods reduce the risk of inflammation and with it chronic diseases. To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall health! Think of inflammation as a gentle (or sometimes not-so-gentle) reminder from our bodies that changes need to be made!