Cool It! 4 Ways to Tame the Flame of Inflammation
Red, hot, swollen…When we cut our finger, break a bone or experience an injury, our bodies are designed to “turn on” healing through the process of inflammation. This is the bright side of inflammation, when our arsenal of cellular bodyguards leap into action to focus their flame of healing where it’s needed most.
Inflammation, however, has a darker side that causes trouble when it’s fueled by poor food choices. An unhealthy diet of processed foods feeds the fire of inflammation, which then burns out of control, paving the way for the development of chronic, life-altering illnesses like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis, debilitating digestive difficulties and more. How to help cut them off at the pass? A great place to start is by taming inflammation throughout your body – and smart food choices are a fantastic place to start. Try these food-based strategies to stop fanning the flames of inflammation, and let the cool-down begin:
- Eat until “gently satisfied” …practice the lost art of portion control. Over-eating generates excess calories that are converted to body fat. That body fat becomes an inflammatory factory, pumping out molecules that keep the inflammation fire burning (and not in a good way).
- Take a “sweet retreat”…look for obvious and hidden sources of sugar and sweeteners and eliminate them. Detox your taste buds from the sweet tsunami of added sugar, sweet snack foods and desserts. Realign and reconnect with the taste of nature-made sweetness found in fresh, seasonal fruit.
- Prioritize plants…consume plant-filled meals that are rich in bioactive compounds which tamp down inflammation. Boost your beans (red, white, black & yellow), up your veggies and fruit (fresh or frozen), toss in some nuts and seeds, then add healthy oils (extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed, coconut) to the mix for maximum benefit.
- Spice it up…flavorize and capitalize on the anti-inflammatory benefits of delicious herbs and spices. Among my favorite taste-makers and inflammation busters: allspice, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, turmeric, parsley, sage, et al. Not only do they add flavor, but they also boost antioxidant defenses – so pour ‘em on!
For food-friendly guidance on the go, check out App-solutely Fabulous: 6 Fave Nutrition Apps for Healthy Eating Newbies.