Inflammation refers to the immune response triggered within the body in response to a variety of conditions. Factors that determine the levels of inflammatory processes in the body can include nutrition, lifestyle, fitness, stress and presence of harmful substances in the body such as toxins, harmful bacteria, viruses, etc.
This is known as systematic inflammation and it is now being understood that the degree of inflammatory response in the body underlies the development of disease conditions including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many other health conditions. In fact, in the case of heart disease, cholesterol is now quietly being discounted as the prime suspect, whilst more and more focus is being placed on inflammation and oxidation (due to free-radicals).
Your body can unnecessarily trigger and maintain inflammatory responses when they are not really needed - and this occurs as a result of the factors mentioned previously, diet and lifestyle.
Ways to decrease systematic inflammation include
- Increasing exercise and physical activity
- Consuming a healthy, wholesome, nutrient-rich diet, free of refined and processed foods
- Minimizing stress
- Maintaining a healthy weight
A lot of people have sedentary jobs, or spend a large portion of their time being inactive. Incorporating a form of daily exercise to decrease systemic inflammation can be as simple as taking a walk, gardening, or doing housework.
Diet is just as important, if not more, as exercise, when trying to decrease inflammation. Many diets are pro-inflammatory, with sugar, refined flour, and trans fats making up a large percentage of them.
To reduce inflammation, reduce your consumption of these processed foods. Grains have also been found to contain several potentially problematic substances, such as gluten, lectin, and phytates, and they promote an inflammatory acidic pH, and disrupt proper blood sugar regulation. Therefore, some nutritionists believe that consumption of grains should be minimized to reduce inflammation (see references).
Increase your consumption of fresh foods, including
In addition to exercise and diet, supplements can help to reduce inflammation. But remember that nutritional supplements are supposed to be taken in addition to a healthy diet. It is a mistake to consider that supplements can take the place of healthy eating, which is most important. However, more and more research is pointing to the need to take supplements to help promote health and prevent disease.
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