How to control inflammation and the word Inflammation itself have become frequent topics of discussion among nutritionists and trainers in recent years.
It’s one that most of us immediately equate with something bad. But the truth is your ability to control inflammation is much more complex than you’d think!
Understand How To Control Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s response to damage to your tissues. When body tissue is damaged—by injury, strain, disease, autoimmune disorders, bacterial infections, and so on—your body releases chemokines, histamines, white blood cells, and other chemicals that cause the inflammatory reaction.
The inflammation is an attempt to:
- Prevent further damage.
- Neutralize whatever is causing the damage
- Effective repairs to the damaged tissue
In a healthy body, the inflammatory response is a good thing, something that indicates your body is doing its job of keeping your tissue healthy and strong.
However, when you can’t control inflammation outside of an acute response, it can also be a signal that there is something wrong with your body, or that something is causing damage. Some examples of things that can cause inflammation include:
- Poor Sleep
- Sleep problems
- Chronic stress
- Processed meat and sugar consumption
- Excessive chemical and food additive intake
It’s important that you evaluate the causes of inflammation in your body, as that will help you know what needs to be changed or eliminated in order to improve.
If you want to control inflammation the healthy way, here are four simple tips for you to follow:
Tweak Your Eating Habits
Did you know that changing your eating habits is the most effective way to reduce and manage inflammation?
The truth is that a lot of inflammation problems are simply your body’s response to food.
Acute tissue damage (by disease, injury, and infection) will usually lead to noticeable inflammation, but it will heal over time.
Chronic inflammation is typically the result of poor diet choices.
Don’t worry: you don’t have to totally overhaul your diet! It comes down to five simple changes:
- Make smart carb choices. Aim for low glycemic carbs as much as possible, and only consume the amount of carbs required for energy maintenance.
- Cut calories. Not drastically, but just enough so that you’re consuming enough to maintain body weight. Your daily exercise will promote weight loss, but your calorie intake will ensure your body is getting enough energy.
- Improve your Omega ratios. Try to consume more Omega-3 fatty acids in comparison to Omega-6 fatty acids. Aim for a ratio between 1:1 and 1:4.
- Eat more veggies. At least two servings of raw, steamed, and sautéed veggies per meal… yes even breakfast if you are working to control inflammation.
- Eat more unsaturated fats. Focus on mono- and polyunsaturated fats from plant-based sources, and increase their intake in comparison to saturated fats (from animals). Not that animal fat is bad, in fact it’s quite the opposite, however occasionally you must adjust your sources.
These small changes to your eating habits will drastically improve your body’s ability to control inflammation in response to the food you eat.
Feed Your Immune System
Your immune system can only function if you provide the information it needs! Food is information, and that means more than just eating enough calories—it means delivering the specific nutrients required to control inflammation.
There are some steps you can take in order to determine the source of inflammation on your own.
Start off by going on an elimination diet, removing anything sensitive or potentially inflammatory from your diet for 90 days. Slowly add the foods back into your diet one at a time, and carefully monitor your body to see which are causing the inflammatory response. Those are the culprits to eliminate from your diet!
Through your daily food intake and supplements, make it a goal to consume more:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
These three nutrients play significant roles in your ability to control inflammation (by producing cytokines), and they all help to create an optimum balance in your immune system.
Note: Be aware of your Th1 and Th2 (helper cells) responses and their role to control inflammation. If they are the cause of your inflammatory problems, take supplements (such as ImmuCore by Metagenics or X-FLM by Apex Energetics) to restore a healthy balance.
Take Smart Supplements
The best source of inflammation-mediating antioxidants comes directly from food—for example, the phytochemicals in dark leafy greens, the anthocyanins from blueberries, and the Vitamin A from carrots.
However, there are a number of supplements that you should consider taking in order to improve your ability to control inflammation through an immune response, specifically your body’s inflammatory activity.
Magnesium, Multi-Vitamins, Vitamin D3, and Omega-3-rich fish oil supplements all serve as the foundation for a healthy immune system and balanced inflammatory response.
Fish oil (up to 3 grams of combined EPA and DHA) can help to counteract inflammation, making it an excellent supplement to take to mediate an overactive immune system. For severe inflammation, an EPA-heavy supplement is your best choice.
Other supplements to include:
- Vitamin C, which can boost immune health while combating inflammation.
- Berberine, which helps to manage blood sugar and insulin levels, mediating inflammation.
- Boswellia, which is excellent for joint health and reducing inflammatory response.
- Aged garlic extract, which can support your immune system and improve cholesterol profiles.
- Curcumin, which improves joint health and gut issues, reducing inflammatory response.
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine, which improves glutathione synthesis and liver detoxification.
Consult with your doctor before taking any of these supplements.
Change Your Way of Thinking
It’s time to make a few changes to your mindset when it comes to food and healthy eating:
- More isn’t better. Eating larger quantities of healthy foods may not be the solution to combatting inflammation. In fact, an increase in food intake (even if it’s healthy) could lead to more problems. The same goes for supplements—more isn’t always better!
- Detox programs – While they may provide some minor short-term benefits, you should combine them with lifestyle changes, good habits and exercise. Instead of only “detoxing” using a cleanse or fast, let the healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle continue to do the work of eliminating toxins.
- Real food is gold. The balance of macro and micronutrients found in real, raw, and organic food is what’s going to do the work of reducing inflammation. Don’t be fooled into believing a special superfood is the game-changer—they’re just rich in the ingredients you can get naturally from real food a balanced diet, and healthy eating.
Learning to control Inflammation through lifestyle is important. Inflammation can lead to serious chronic disease and long-term health problems, so it’s in your best interest to curb it. The four tips above will help you take back control of your body and control inflammation once and for all!