Lifestyle

Watch out for inflammation triggers | Angela Freed

Inflammation is a complex biological process in which the body’s immune cells and other chemical mediators provide protection from injury, infection and foreign substances, such as chemicals or additives in our food. It is a protective process by the body to remove harmful substances and to initiate healing. Inflammation is a normal, necessary and regenerative process until it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation can be dangerous and destructive and should be closely monitored.

Inflammation can be present in numerous disease states and conditions. Some of the main signs and symptoms that are associated with inflammation include: weight gain or inability to lose weight, body aches and pains, allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, arthritis, chronic fatigue, and skin problems such as acne or eczema. More recently, the American Heart Association has identified chronic inflammation as the single most common factor in heart attacks.

Many different factors can trigger inflammation: (1) poor diet which includes over-eating and the consumption of non-organic, pesticide ridden foods and artificial ingredients; (2) environmental factors which include pollution and chemicals in our self-care products; (3) food allergens such as soy, wheat (gluten), milk, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts and eggs; (4) poor lifestyle habits such as being sedentary, drug and alcohol use, or smoking; and (5) stress from our daily work load and responsibilities.

For those looking to make meaningful progress toward reducing their risk of chronic inflammation, a diet rich in whole foods that have been subjected to little or no processing is most recommended. Choose farm products such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meats that have been grown as closely to their natural growth process as possible. This would include products free of pesticides, fertilizers, fillers (such as corn), and steroids.

Exercise has also shown to be one of our best aids in reducing inflammation. 20-30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular work per day combined with a healthier diet will put anyone on the right track to a healthier future.

Angela Freed is a certified nutritionist at Pinnacle Medical Wellness. She specializes in dietary guidance for those with medical conditions, general nutrition, and weight-loss.

 

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