Inflammation is one of those core health issues we love to talk about. Like acidity, inflammation is a health issue that underlies so many others – once you learn about this one factor and it’s connection to your health, it feels revelatory! Nutritionist JJ Virgin has her finger to the pulse of this crucial health issue. In her book, The Virgin Diet, she lays out the big picture of just how inflammation effects our on-going health and the simple changes we can make – especially to our diets – to remedy this. Read her list and find ways to make adjustments for your health!
Inflammation comes in two flavors, if you will. Acute inflammation is when you stub your toe. The resulting flare-up actually benefits long-term healing. Chronic inflammation, though less dramatic, over time leads to damage and disorder in the body. Acute inflammation hurts, but chronic inflammation kills. In fact, it’s connected with nearly every disease on the planet, from obesity to diabetes to heart disease.
What causes inflammation? The abundance of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet: vegetable oils, grain-fed meats, and wheat bread are full of them. Food intolerances can also create inflammation. And so can sugar. The best way to fight inflammation is to pull highly reactive foods (I discuss the top 7 in The Virgin Diet; ironically, some of them are deemed “healthy”) and eat plenty of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, walnuts, chia and flax seeds are all healthy sources of omega 3s. I also recommend supplementing with a high-quality professional fish oil, especially if you’re not eating wild-caught fish three or four times a week.
10 Ways to Avoid Inflammation
- Cut it out:
Remove food intolerances. Top offenders include gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, peanuts, sugar, artificial sweeteners and corn.
- Go fish:
Eat wild-caught fish 3 to 4 times a week.
- Delete meat:
Eat less grain-fed meat and try pasture-raised, grass-fed meats instead.
- Go green:
Incorporate copious leafy and cruciferous green veggies into your regular diet. Eat a salad at every meal, drink green juices and find fun new recipes for cauliflower and broccoli!
- Sow seeds:
Throw flax or chia seeds into your protein shakes, smoothies, even juice. Flax seeds can be sprinkled on to almost anything you eat, from yogurt to salad.
- Can the cane:
Avoid sugar whenever possible. Know its many disguises! And find alternatives that don’t cause an inflammatory response.
- Rest easy:
It might seem tough, but get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. A good night’s rest is crucial for vital health.
- Go nuts:
Snack on raw organic walnuts – they’re delicious, filling and so good for you. Add them to salads instead of croutons for satisfying crunch!
- Sweat right:
If you work out, make sure you’re recovering with the right nutrients and rest. Take the break days you need, keep in life in balance and allow your body to recover properly.
- Oil foil:
Dump the vegetable oils – even the “healthy” ones – for virgin olive oil, red palm oil, and coconut oil.