Inflammation: What is it? What does it mean for your body? And why is everyone talking about it? Inflammation has kind of become a buzzword within the health industry in the past few years. I wanted to bring some clarity to it. Put it in perspective and maybe help you decide if this is something you should be addressing with your diet.
Inflammation is a normal and healthy immune response to injury or an attack by germs or foreign substances in the body. There are two types of inflammation, acute + chronic. Acute inflammation is the reaction your body has when you get an injury, a paper cut, for example, redness, itching, swelling, warmth. Chronic inflammation, the kind of inflammation that has been getting the most attention lately, this is when there is inflammation throughout the entire body. Our natural immune response beings to attack our own tissue. They are responding to foreign substances that have been in the body for a while and are not being removed. These substances are usually environmental toxins, chemicals in products, on our food, and in the air. Constant states of stress and anxiety can also lead to chronic inflammation because the body cannot effectively remove the hormones that are the result of the stress response. Often times chronic inflammation can go undetected because the symptoms are not strong enough or are diagnosed as something else. Here are some symptoms to keep an eye out for…
Symptoms of chronic inflammation are:
weakened immune system
depression + anxiety
Studies have shown that these types of low-level persistent inflammation lead to degenerative diseases. Such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease, and many cancers.
Some of the easiest and best ways to treat and prevent chronic inflammation is to eliminate processed foods and exposure to environmental toxins. That might sound super overwhelming but with a few modifications can be really very easy to do and super effective for your overall health.
Here are 3 easy steps to help you reduce inflammation naturally!
1) Remove chemicals and toxins from your home.
If you want an easy on-step way to rid your home of environmental toxins, check out Pure Haven. I like to think of them as the Target of non-toxic living. They have everything you need to get started and then you can go from there. You can also check out my blog post about going non-toxic. I try to give you some basic information and guidance.
2) Incorporate more whole food sources into your diet.
Focus on incorporating more of these foods into every meal. You will find that over time you are craving less of the processed stuff and your body feels better in general which will be motivation to to stay on the whole food train. These foods specifically are also really great for helping to combat inflammation. (Check out my favorite salmon recipe below)
Whole Soy (tempeh, edamame, organic sprouted tofu)
Nuts + Seeds
Dark Leafy Greens (Collards, Spinach, Kale, swiss chard)
Sea Vegetables (dulse, nori, kombu)
Omega 3 Healthy Fats (EVOO, Walnut Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Sunflower Oil)
Dark Chocolate (at least 70% pure cocoa)
Herbs (garlic, ginger, Tumeric, Curry powder, Chili peppers, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Cinnamon)
3) Get more sleep!
This is probably the single most important thing you can do for your body. When you sleep your body has the opportunity to remove all the toxins that it has been exposed to through out the day. It is an opportunity to regenerate and repair. When you don’t get enough sleep, not only do you not fully regenerate but you also release more stress hormones into your system complicating things even more. I promise you, leave the dirty dishes. You will get them done 1 million times faster the next morning if you get a good nights sleep.
Broiled Lemon Dill Salmon
Time: 20 minutes
Anti-Inflammatory, easy + delicious dinner option! Some people are not keen on garlic, you are welcome to substitute garlic powder for the garlic cloves.
4 – 5oz pieces of Wild Salmon
1 small thinly sliced Red Onion
2 thinly sliced Lemons
1-2 tbs of fresh or dried Dill
6-8 cloves of Garlic minced or Garlic Powder
4 tsp of Organic Avocado Oil to season
Salt + Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to broil, move the oven rack so that it is about 2 levels below the broiling coils.
Line a baking sheet with a layer of aluminum foil, then layer a sheet of parchment paper over the foil.
Rinse the salmon pieces and pat dry
Lay the salmon on the parchment paper
Season with salt, pepper, garlic + dill
Layer with slices of red onion + lemon
Drizzle with each piece of salmon with avocado oil, approx. 1 tsp per piece
Place in the oven and broil for 8-10 or until cooked to through