Written by Sarah Loogman

Inflammation of the body can be caused by many factors, both chronic and acute, and is a natural immune response to foreign invasion. In the case of an acute injury, such as a sprained wrist, inflammation is localized to the area and is a natural protection and healing response of the body. In other cases, however, inflammation can be systematic and affect the entire system including organs and other internal networks. Poor eating habits can cause chronic inflammation leading to weight gain or disease and even stress and pollution can cause an emergency response by the systems of the organism.

 

Chronic systematic inflammation has been linked to food or chemical intolerances and allergies, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders including Alzheimers or emotional imbalances, among many other symptoms and diseases. On a more practical and daily basis, it can cause excessive tiredness, poor digestion, irritable bowels, low energy, bloated-ness, poor skin, shortness of breath, or mental fatigue commonly dubbed “brain fog.”

 

Basically, chronic inflammation is bad stuff for our health and therefore our peak performance in all aspects of life be it sports, work or home life.

 

So how can it be avoided? Dietary inputs are the low hanging fruit to reducing inflammation. By reducing or eliminating processed foods and replacing them with nutritionally valuable foods, the risks of disease or disorder become drastically lower. Good food keeps you on your A-game.

 

Here are some common foods to avoid:

 

Sugar (Beware: this one’s hidden everywhere!)
Vegetable oil
Fried foods
Refined flour (think “white” foods: pasta, white bread, cereals, pretzels, crackers”
Dairy
Artificial sweeteners
Saturated fats (pizza, burgers, chips)
Transfat (baked goods, coffee creamer, frosting)
Alcohol

 

Then replace those habits with these top anti-inflammatory choices:

 

Green, leafy vegetables
Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel)
Turmeric
Berries
Pineapples
Beets
Broccoli
Ginger
Hot peppers
Green tea
Mushrooms
Cherries

Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Diversely used, it can be enjoyed in teas, smoothies, or in roasted vegetables or rice.

Other ways to reduce inflammation may include lifestyle habit changes such as:

 

Getting more fresh air – take a hike!
Reduce stress – take up meditation, journaling, or another mindfulness hobby
Get more sleep – a nightly routine makes hitting a decent bedtime much easier

 

We are not meant to die of disease. By choosing to change your habits now, you will increasingly extend your quality of life while also increasing your performance in the present moment. Create an environment in your body and lifestyle that allow for growth, not the slow death.

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