Inflammation is crucial – we need it to survive, and when it is working optimally it is our body’s natural immune defence to tissue damage. However, when we are exposed to a constant supply of mental, environmental, and physical stressors, inflammation becomes chronic and our immune defence can break down, potentially leading to a whole host of other illnesses and chronic disease. Stress, poor sleep, a diet lacking in nutrients, and exposure to toxins can all have a major effect on inflammation and our immune response. Here are my 5 top tips to help you keep inflammation under control –
- No to processed – foods that are highly processed and high in refined sugar and flour are one of the top nasties when it comes to inflammation. Make sure you are eating a wide variety of fresh plant-based and whole foods, as these contain a multitude of vitamins, mineral, and antioxidants, which help to keep inflammation at bay and your immune system healthy.
- Omega-3 – this important nutrient is vital for its anti-inflammatory properties, however the body cannot make it, so we have to get it through our diet. Omega-3’s have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation, as well as potentially lowering the risk of other diseases, such as arthritis and heart disease. Try adding mackerel, sardines, herring and salmon to your diet for a healthy dose of Omega-3.
- Relax and restore – stress is a major player when it comes to inflammation. When we experience high levels of stress, cortisol (our stress hormone) levels run riot, which can seriously effect immune function and overall health. Taking time to chill out and relax is essential for ensuring our mind and body stay healthy. Yoga, meditation, walking, and even enjoying a long soak in the bath will work wonders.
- Bad fats – fats like trans-fats have a very negative effect on inflammation and cholesterol. Avoid fried food and trans-fats and opt for good fats, such as those found in oily fish, almonds, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil. These will not only help to lower inflammation, but will help to keep your heart ticking along nicely.
- Exercise regularly – exercising doesn’t have to mean intense work-outs at the gym that leave you feeling sore for days afterwards. Find a type of exercise you enjoy! Whether it’s a yoga or pilates class, a cycle around your local park, or some time with a skipping rope in the garden – regular exercise will help to lower inflammation and promote a healthy heart and body.