By Nutritional Therapist and College of Naturopathic Medicine graduate Sharon O Dwyer Inflammation is designed for short, intensive reactions to short term external danger. We need it for survival. However, when inflammation becomes chromic (long term), it slowly but progressively damages our organs, our health and leads to rapid ageing. Many serious illnesses are linked to chronic inflammation â arthritis, autoimmunity, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and also cancer, dementia, diabetes, obesity, migraines and heart diseases. One big contributor to inflammation is poor diet. As 70% of our immune system cells (which regulate inflammation) are found along the lining of our gut - where many inflammatory diseases begin. The food we eat has a profound impact on our ability to manage inflammation. Poor diet is a key contributor to inflammation â high intake of sugar white /refined flour goods, processed foods which contain trans and saturated fat, vegetable oils as well as numerous toxic chemicals all which add fuel to the fire. The good news is that dietary and lifestyle changes can reduce inflammation:
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods â lots of vegetables (especially leafy greens) like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale and cabbage and colourful fruit (especially cherries and pomegranate, berries), beans, (kidney, red, pinto) chickpeas, lentils, wholegrains
- Drink pure water every day
- Limit red meat and dairy â eat fish and poultry instead (ideally organic)
- Eat healthy fats especially high in omega 3 fats â salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines. Other healthy fats include avocado, olives and olive oil, flax / hemp / chia seeds oils (donât heat the seed oils, just use for drizzling)
- Healthy herbs & spices: Turmeric, curry powder, ginger and garlic (dried and fresh), chili peppers, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, parsley
- Nuts and seeds especially walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, chia, flax and hemp seeds
- Reduce stress & get moderate exercise every day.