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Inflammation and health, how to reduce inflammation without drugs.

Inflammation is a natural response created in the body to heal and defend itself. Chronic inflammation however is harmful. If inflammation last longer then a couple of weeks it is chronic. Sometimes chronic inflammation is internal and has little to no obvious symptoms. A little ache, constant throat clearing, creaky knees all the “I’m just getting older” things.

I’m just getting older does not have to be your motto, there are things you can do to decrease inflammation and increase your overall health.

Diet and Lifestyle are 2 things we have complete control over and just happen to be at the top of the list of things to help reduce inflammation. The natural alternatives to anti-inflammatory drugs have come a long way too. Metagenic, now stocked at Bamboo Chiro, have a great range of natural anti-inflammatory supplements to help reduce inflammation in the short term.

Below is a list of easy diet and lifestyle changes for you to consider.

Diet & Lifestyle are the obvious choice when it comes to reducing inflammation. Following the tips below on a daily basis can help to improve your quality of life through decreased inflammation and pain. Food is neither good nor bad, everything in moderation, but some foods are better than others when it comes to reducing inflammation

Foods to Reduce include:

• Sugar & Refined Carbohydrates: I’m not saying don’t eat carbohydrates, these are an important part of a healthy diet. What I am saying is choose carbohydrates wisely. Look for whole carbohydrates, nothing white or overly refined and nothing with added sugar.

• Vegetable Oils & Eliminate Trans Fats: Vegetable oils are found in a lot of processed foods and include everyday oils like canola oils, sunflower oils and seed oils to name a few. Vegetable oils eaten in excess can throw off the balance between Omega-6 & Omega-3 fatty acids which should be 1:1 ratio. Trans fats are a highly processed franken-food that turns a liquid oil into a solid. Foods like margarine and shortening are examples of trans fats and should not be consumed if you want to decrease inflammation.

• Alcohol: Technically not a food but you know what I mean! Alcohol in excess not only makes you wake up feeling like mould, that mould feeling is inflammation. Red wine in moderation, preferable with no preservatives of sulphates, is a better choice when the situation requires a little celebration.

Foods to Increase include:

• Whole, Nutrient Dense Foods: These foods include a balance of protein, healthy fats and unrefined carbohydrates. If its not in a packet or package its probably a whole food; if you can pick it yourself off a vine or tree, it’s a whole food; if it’s not been bleached to look white it’s a lot less refined and a lot better for you.

• Antioxidant Foods: Antioxidants work by reducing free radicles, a reactive compound in the body which in excess can lead to inflammation. These foods include pungent foods (garlic, onions, leeks etc), brightly coloured foods (carrots, pumpkin, herbs, capsicum, berries etc). Fresh vegetables and fruit is always the best choice.

• Healthy Fats: Avocado, Olives and Nuts are excellent examples of healthy fats that help keep the balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3.

• Vitamin & Mineral Rich foods are a part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet also. High fibre foods need to be included also.

A well known diet considered good for reducing inflammation is the Mediterranean Diet. It is high in whole foods and low in processed foods. It ticks all the boxes!

On the Lifestyle front:

• Regular Exercise: This is not always planned exercise, although that does help, just moving in the garden, completing household chores or taking the stairs is a big help. Exercise can be anything you enjoy from walking/running to weights or something more mindful like yoga.

• Reduce Stress: Yes I know exercise is a stress but its the good kind of stress. The kind of stress I’m talking about is the stress that leads to excess mental tension and it’s usually caused by a difficult situation. While it can be tough to eliminate this kind of stress, stepping away from it for a small amount of time can help to improve inflammation greatly.

• Sleep: This is an all important step as our bodies repair and recover while sleeping. If you are tech-minded there are a number of apps that can help you to improve your sleep (and reduce stress if we’re going there). If not try going to bed a little bit earlier each night until you have 8 hours in the bank.

In short, the easiest way to reduce inflammation is to look after yourself with a few, small, diet and lifestyle changes. While these changes require vigilance to continue daily, after a couple of weeks it starts to become more habitual. Also, it makes sense to list the things you want to change about your lifestyle and do one thing at a time rather than trying to change everything all at once. Enjoy the process of the changes you’re making and your body will thank you.

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