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How To Live A Healthy Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle

Updated: Apr 15, 2022

According to Harvard Health Publishing on the subject of Inflammation it stated “The right kind of inflammation is essential to our body’s healing system. However, chronic inflammation can be a health problem”

Now, there are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. People are most familiar with acute inflammation. This is the redness, warmth, swelling, and pain around tissues and joints that occurs in response to an injury, like when we cut ourselves. When the body is injured, our immune system releases white blood cells to surround and protect the area.

Acute inflammation is how our body fights infections and helps speed up the healing process. This particular inflammation is good because it protects the body. This process works the same if we have a virus like a cold or the flu.

In contrast, when inflammation gets turned up too high and lingers for a longer period of time, and the immune system continues to pump out white blood cells and chemical messengers that prolong the process, that's known as chronic inflammation. From the body's perspective, it's under constant attack, so the immune system keeps fighting indefinitely.

When this happens, white blood cells may end up attacking nearby healthy tissues and organs. For example, if someone is overweight and have more visceral fat cells, the deep type of fat that surrounds our organs, the immune system may see those cells as a threat and attack them with white blood cells. The longer a person is overweight, the longer their body can remain in a state of inflammation.

Over time chronic inflammation can increase the risk of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

The anti-inflammatory lifestyle will include proper nutrition and exercise. Today I will focus on the nutritional aspect of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.

The easiest way to successfully follow the anti-inflammatory diet is to focus on whole natural foods and avoid processed foods high in added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. With this in mind we will be focusing on anti-inflammatory foods over inflammatory foods.

The anti-inflammatory diet is well balanced, focusing on veggies, fruit, healthy fats, nuts, spices, and even red wine while limiting processed meats, added sugars, refined grains, and processed oils.

I would recommend “Upping The Ante” by incorporating gluten free grains and avoid, as much as possible, grains such as wheat, barley and rye.

Look at healthy sources of fat and protein like free-range eggs, natural grass fed meats, seafood, nuts, and seeds, as well as coconut milk and lactose free yogourt.

One thing I am going to state that is slightly controversial is avoiding cow’s milk, since this isn’t particularly emphasized on the anti-inflammatory diet. From a personal perspective I introduced coconut milk into my eating plan. Case in point, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, cow’s milk was never designed for human consumption. Cow’s milk contains on average about three times the amount of protein than human milk does, which creates metabolic disturbances in humans that have detrimental bone health consequences.

So, what should we eat on a daily basis to ensure we build our anti-inflammatory lifestyle?

Foods to Eat.

Research suggests that people who eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and for some of us carnivores, naturally grass fed meats, and fish have a reduced risk for inflammation-related diseases. Substances found in certain foods, especially antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, may also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Foods high in antioxidants include.

• Apples

• Artichokes,

• Avocados,

• Beans (such as red beans, pinto beans, and black beans),

• Berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries),

• Broccoli,

• Cherries,

• Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa),

• Dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens),

• Nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts),

• Sweet potatoes.

Omega-3 fatty acids are "good fats" that may help protect against heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other conditions.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include.

• Flaxseed,

• Oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies),

• Omega-3-fortified foods such as eggs, Walnuts.

There is also evidence that certain herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic, which can help alleviate inflammation.

Foods to Avoid

Foods that increase inflammation include those that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Although these fats are important to bone health, brain function, and metabolism (the conversion of food to energy), consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation.

Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids include.

• Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream),

• Margarine,

• Meats,

• Peanuts,

• Vegetable oils (such as corn, safflower, soybean, peanut, and cottonseed oil)

To keep inflammation under control, it is important to balance your omega-6 fatty acids with your omega-3 fatty acids.

Food with a high glycemic index (GI) can also increase inflammation. These are foods like sugar and refined grains that raise your blood glucose, (sugar) level too much and too quickly.

To help rein in inflammation, avoid sugary drinks, white bread, desserts, and processed foods. Instead, eat low-GI foods like chicken, whole grains, leafy greens, and non-starchy vegetables.

The basic rules for an anti-inflammatory eating plan is beneficial to anyone. If you don't know where to begin, speak with your doctor or a nutritionist.

It’s important to remember that diet alone cannot prevent or treat any poor health related condition. It is just as important to exercise regularly, stop smoking, lose weight if needed, and take any medications your doctor prescribes as directed.

About The Author: Steve is a Christian Blogger, Videographer, and Personal Trainer. His content creation focuses on Societal Lifestyles, Health/Fitness and Faith.

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