Disease, Foods, Health Studies, Immune System, Joint Pain

Inflammation: What You Can Do

It our last article, we explored the link between chronic inflammation and disease. Chronic inflammation is implicated in rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and Crohn’s, among others. Often you have chronic inflammation without knowing it is present. So how can you prevent this threat to your health, or stop it before it attacks your health?

Begin at the beginning.  You are what you eat, and what you eat can affect how much inflammation you have. Make sure your diet includes lots of fruits; vegetables; whole grains; legumes; nuts; fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines; and healthy fats like avocados, olive and coconut oil. Probiotics are also important; you can get them from fermented food and yogurt. Eliminate processed foods, and limit meat, sugar and dairy.

Exercise is also important. Combined with a good diet, it keeps your blood sugar in control and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Even if you have a condition like RA, stay as active as possible.

You also need adequate sleep. Research has shown that healthy people who are sleep-deprived experience more inflammation. Scientists don’t understand the link, but it may be related to metabolism.

You’ve heard this before: stop smoking. Smoking causes inflammation. If you don’t think you can do it on your own, raise the odds of success by talking to your doctor.

Help is also available from another source: spices. Ginger root fights inflammation. Cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and tumeric all reduce inflammation. Use them liberally in foods you prepare. Some are also available in supplements, but consult your health professional first.

Because pain often accompanies inflammation, many people take NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, naproxin and aspirin. These do help control pain, but they can also cause stomach problems like ulcers and bleeding. Recent research also shows they increase your likelihood of heart attack.

Omega-3 supplements such as fish oil can be helpful. A link has also been established between low levels of vitamin D and chronic inflammation, so you may want to have your levels tested. You do not have to be victim of inflammation; you can redesign your lifestyle to protect and heal yourself.