Is inflammation making you sick? Inflammation can be a good and bad thing depending on the scenario.When you stub your toe, your body’s immune system kicks in to increase blood circulation to the injured area, create heat to fight infection, and send white blood cells and other chemicals to fight off bacteria and repair damaged cells. That’s good.
But when your body continues to produce inflammation under the radar, studies are showing it puts you at high risk for health problems, including heart disease and cancer. And more information is being revealed every day about the negative effects of chronic inflammation on our health.
Inflammation can be triggered by conditions such as chronic back pain and even gum disease. Excess weight — especially around the belly — also increases inflammation because body fat produces hormones and secretes substances that can trigger inflammation.
Saturated fat, trans fats, omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (not to be confused with healthful omega-3), sugar and other simple carbs all are linked with higher levels of inflammation.
Eating to Beat Inflammation
To start fighting inflammation and the risks it brings, you should lose excess weight — even just 5 percent of your body weight, exercise regularly, adjust your diet to avoid foods that increase inflammation and work in more anti-inflammatory foods.
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods include:
• Fish, canola oil, walnuts — good sources of omega 3.
• Olive oil, peanut oil, nuts and avocados — rich in monounsaturated fats that also improve the body’s cholesterol balance.
• Fruits, vegetables, whole grains — antioxidant powerhouses that calm inflammation. Look for produce with deeper or brighter colors, which have the most antioxidants.
• Herbs, spices, teas — concentrated antioxidant sources, especially cinnamon, curry, dill, oregano, ginger, and rosemary. Most teas, including green, black, white and oolong, burst with antioxidants.