Did you know that most diseases start from having inflammation in our bodies?
Chronic inflammation can lead to countless health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, depression, menstrual cramps, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. The scary thing about inflammation is that a lot of us have it and do not even know it. It is silent and often invisible unless revealed by medical examinations such as blood tests, x rays, or ultrasounds. I learned that I was dealing with chronic inflammation after constantly complaining to my doctor about bad period cramps. An ultrasound revealed that my cramps were being caused by inflammation. Despite what anyone tells you, having painful menstrual cramps is NOT normal and is avoidable. Cramps are not something we have to just deal with as women, but more on this another time!
There are times when inflammation (your immune system’s defense) is necessary and helpful like to fight injury and sickness but the issue arises when this immune response occurs when it shouldn’t. Inflammation can be triggered and linger, which is what leads to chronic inflammation.
How to reduce inflammation:
- Exercise regularly- At least 30 mins per day 5 days a week or 2.5 hours per week.
- Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods- red meat, anything with trans fats such as dairy, most vegetable oils, deep-fried foods, simple carbohydrates (such as white flour, white rice, refined sugar and anything with high fructose corn syrup), and most processed foods including processed meats (think hot dogs, sausage, etc.).
- Incorporate foods that are known to reduce inflammation into your diet- berries, broccoli, avocado, green tea, peppers, mushrooms, grapes, turmeric, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate without added sugar, tomatoes, cherries, and ginger.
- Sleep well- This means 7–9 hours per night for most adults!
- Reduce Stress- Think of activities that bring you peace such as meditation, bubble baths, reading, etc.