Are You Living With Chronic Inflammation?

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

According to some, we are living in the “age of inflammation”.

We now know that chronic inflammation is a common underlying cause of the most debilitating, deadly diseases of our time. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders are all inflammatory in nature.

Chronic inflammation also affects mental health. Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and dementia have all been linked to chronic inflammation as well.

Of course, acute (short-term) inflammation is an important part of our body’s natural immune response, but when the inflammatory response continues beyond infection or injury, this can trigger disease. Diet is one of the biggest drivers of chronic inflammation, along with lifestyle factors such as physical activity, stress, sleep, and toxin exposure.

The good news is that moving away from the overly processed, nutritionally imbalanced Standard American Diet (SAD) towards an anti-inflammatory way of eating can go a long way in reducing inflammation.

What is an “anti-inflammatory way of eating”?

Eat mostly whole foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, eggs, poultry, grass-fed beef, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds). Limit processed foods (i.e., sweets, snack foods, processed meats and cheeses, sugary beverages, etc. – includes most boxed foods and foods with long ingredient lists). Consume lots of anti-inflammatory foods (including but not limited to olive oil, blueberries, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, wild-caught fatty fish such as salmon, bone broth, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon).

As you make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation, it’s important to remember that chronic inflammation doesn’t develop overnight, and reducing inflammation will take time as well. However, you should start to notice results (in the form of inflammation-related symptom reduction, improved sense of wellbeing, etc.) within a few weeks and continued improvement over time!

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