How to decrease the inflammation in your body

1. Eliminate saturated fats from your diet

This is the hard part for most people you need to give up eating protein sources from land animals.  All land animals store fat as saturated fat in high amounts.  Saturated fats are inflammatory by their chemical make up, they mimic natural inflammatory signals our body uses. This includes giving up dairy and many unhealthy oils such as corn, safflower, soybean, peanut, and cotton seed oil.

2. Eat foods with high omega 3 fat  content

Eating foods with high omega-3 oil is highly anti inflammatory.  This includes all seafood but especially salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies.  Cooking with high omega-3 oils such as avocado, olive, and coconut oil.  Eating more nuts especially walnuts. Adding chia and flaxseeds to cooking.

3. Eat foods with high antioxidant content

That means greatly increasing your fresh fruits and vegetables.  Especially good fruits are cherries, berries, mangos, oranges, pomegranate and apples.  Especially good vegetables are broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and collard greens. All fruits and vegetables are good but the fore mentioned are the highest antioxidant foods.  Antioxidants decrease inflammation.

4. Give up sugar and gluten

Research shows that eating processed sugar negatively impacts our blood chemistry in many ways but it has also been shown to increase blood levels of C-reactive protein.  Many of us also have a negative reaction in our small intestine when we are exposed to gluten.  Gluten causes an autoimmune response in our intestinal lining causing inflammation.  This results in poor food absorption and increases in inflammatory mediators such as C-reactive protein in our blood.

5. Give up processed food

Food processing adds preservatives, flavor enhancers, artificial sweeteners, dyes, and hidden forms of sugars such as high fructose corn syrup.  All of these are chemical irritants to the digestive tract resulting in inflammation. These chemicals also enter the blood stream resulting in many inflammatory reactions in our body as our immune system, liver, and kidneys deal with eliminating them.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a major part of any immune response ranging from a broken bone to an allergic reaction.  The first step of the inflammatory process the capillaries become more porous to flood an area with fluid causing swelling.  Injured tissues release a cascade of inflammatory chemicals as communication mechanisms to attract white blood cells and start the healing response.  Tissues can be injured mechanically and chemically but both start with the first response of local inflammation. As our immune system moves in to clean up dead tissue and activate the repair process they release pro-inflammatory mediators.  The mediators such as Interlukin-6 and C-reactive protein circulate throughout the entire body in our blood. Our bodies are in a constant state of dealing with minor injuries. Micro-trauma occurs in our blood vessels as they go through regular increases and decreases in blood pressure caused by our heart beating.  High blood pressure obviously exacerbates this amount of micro-trauma.  Our tendons, muscles, and cartilage are taxed every with activities of daily living. As we age these areas start breaking down with cumulative overuse.  Our intestinal lining and respiratory lining is exposed to pathogens and toxins from the environment.  These occurrences are a normal life maintaining reactions that are usually short lived or so minor we never know they are occurring.  The problem arises when these inflammatory response become excessive or prolonged becoming chronic resulting in high levels of Interlukin-6 and C-reactive protein in our blood.

Our lifestyle has a strong impact on our level of inflammation smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, alcohol abuse, stress, and poor dietary habits greatly exacerbate inflammation.  When we allow our bodies to be overwhelmed by poor life style factors, we develop what I refer to as systemic inflammation.  This most notably can be seen as water retention which occurs in the entire body but is most noticed by us in our hands.  Rings feeling tight is a common sign my patients note when we discuss how inflammation maybe affecting the complaint they present to my office with.  I always advice patients who are suffering with inflammation to follow the Anti-inflammatory Diet and I start them off on the 5 ways to decrease inflammation.