Protecting Yourself From Inflammation: What You Should Know

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Severe or long-term inflammation in the body can amplify the pain and symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, including arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and even diabetes. Inflammation itself isn’t necessarily bad. When most people hear the word “inflammation,” they envision swelling associated with blunt-force trauma and bruising. However, inflammation is actually a response by the immune system to heal damaged tissue and protect against foreign invaders. This biochemical process only becomes a problem when it’s severe or lasts for a long time.

When inflammation is left unchecked, it can aggravate certain existing medical conditions from which you suffer. For example, millions of people suffer from arthritis, and severe inflammation can cause debilitating pain in the inflamed joints and surrounding tissue. Thankfully, there are ways to protect your body from inflammation, including the following.

 

Eat Fewer Omega-6 Foods

Omega-6 acids are considered pro-inflammatory because they promote the immune system’s inflammatory response. When consumed, these fatty acids stimulate the immune system so that it responds more strongly to injury and foreign invaders. Including omega-6 foods in your diet can help you achieve a healthy immune system, but you should consume them in moderation. If you already suffer from severe or long-term inflammation, a diet rich in omega-6 foods can worsen your symptoms.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in the following:

  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Cottonseed oil

 

Eat More Omega-3 Foods

While you should limit your intake of omega-6 foods, it’s perfectly fine to consume more omega-3 foods. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids may offer relief of inflammation. Unlike omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3s suppress the immune system’s inflammatory response. With a less-active immune system, you’ll experience less inflammation in your body.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in the following:

  • Fish (especially fatty varieties like salmon)
  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Collards
  • Mustard greens
  • Olive oil

 

Some health experts recommend consuming a specific ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, such as 4:1. This means that for every 4 grams of omega-6 fatty acids you consume, you should consume 1 gram of omega-3s. Men and women suffering from severe or chronic inflammation, however, should consider a 3:1 ratio instead. By increasing your ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, you can protect your body from inflammation.

 

 

Watch the Sugar

Be conscious of how much sugar you consume in an average day. From sodas and sports drinks to cookies, bread, salad dressings and pizza sauce, sugar is found in countless everyday foods and beverages. In small amounts, sugar isn’t bad and won’t cause any adverse effects. The problem is that the majority of Americans consume far more than the recommended daily allowance of 38 grams for men or 25 grams for women.

Following a high-sugar diet can lead to a world of health problems, including severe inflammation. WebMD explains that sugar causes the release of chemicals known as cytokines that increase the immune system’s inflammatory response. When your body is overrun with an excess amount of sugar, your immune system will release more cytokines. These cytokines will then trigger inflammation in areas of your body where the immune system detects an injury or foreign invader. Follow the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendations of 38 grams or 25 grams of sugar daily, for men and women respectively, to protect your body from inflammation.

 

Go Easy During Workout Sessions

Exercising is arguably one of the most important things you can do for your health. It stimulates blood flow, improves lung capacity, supports the production of new muscle tissue, burns fat and even encourages a healthy immune system. However, you should avoid doing any strenuous exercises that could worsen your body’s inflammation. People suffering from arthritis, for instance, should stick with low-impact or low-resistance exercises. Swimming is one of the best exercises for arthritis sufferers because it places virtually no pressure on the joints. In comparison, lifting heavy weights places significant pressure on the joints, which can trigger the immune system’s inflammatory response and increase inflammation. If you’re going to lift weights, stick with a low weight and small rep sets so that it doesn’t worsen your inflammation.

 

Stay Hydrated

The amount of water you drink will affect your body’s inflammation. Research has shown that people who don’t consume enough water throughout the day experience greater inflammation in their body than their counterparts who are properly hydrated. When you are dehydrated, your body pulls water from other areas, such as the joints, thereby leaving those areas prone to physical injury. And when you sustain a bodily injured, your immune system will respond by sending white blood cells to repair it. A side effect of this natural healing process is, unfortunately, inflammation. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.

 

If you suffer from severe or chronic inflammation, contact us today. Atlanta Chiro and Wellness offers a variety of services that can help reduce inflammation and help you achieve better health.

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