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We’ve all heard of inflammation— whether in the context of swollen joints or in reference to our bodies’ reactions to “bad” food. Let’s unravel the mystery behind inflammation, its importance, and how cultivating a balanced lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular exercise, can be key to managing it effectively.

There are hundreds of supplements, gels, teas, and bio-hacking techniques that swear to have a significant impact in reducing inflammation, which could give you the assumption that all inflammation is bad. The truth is inflammation at its core is an important part of the body’s immune response and is not something we should always work so hard to eliminate.

The Guardian defines inflammation as, “The immune system’s response to any traumatic event in the body tissues – from a demanding workout to a scraped knee to a bout of flu.” Think of it as the body’s defense mechanism—sending an army of cells to the affected area to protect, heal, and repair. This acute inflammation is crucial for our survival, but chronic inflammation, when our bodies send white blood cells to attack threats that aren’t present, is what we should be most concerned about as it damages rather than heals.

Many inflammatory issues begin in our gut but can stem from having a sedentary lifestyle, stress and environmental toxins. This is why a well-rounded diet and exercise are so important. Here are a few tips to guide you:

  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods: Incorporate a rainbow of fruits and vegetables into your diet, rich in antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and flaxseeds are potent anti-inflammatories. Spices like turmeric and ginger also boast anti-inflammatory properties. Opt for whole grains and fiber-rich foods. They not only support digestive health but also help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of inflammation. Choose lean proteins like poultry, fish, beans, and legumes. These provide essential amino acids without the saturated fats often found in red meat.
  • Regular Exercise: Exercise is a powerful antidote to inflammation. Engage in a mix of cardiovascular activities, strength training, and flexibility exercises, which can include a dance class, yoga, pilates, exercise classes, free weights, power walking. Aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
  • Hydration: Stay well-hydrated with water, coconut water and herbal teas. Hydration is fundamental for cellular function and helps flush out toxins from the body.
  • Mind-Body Practices: Manage stress through mindfulness practices like yoga, meditation, or deep-breathing exercises. Chronic stress contributes significantly to inflammation.
  • Adequate Sleep: Prioritize quality sleep. Lack of sleep can trigger inflammation and compromise the body’s ability to repair itself.

Understanding inflammation can help us make informed choices about our well-being. By embracing an anti-inflammatory lifestyle—nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods, staying active, and prioritizing stress management—you can help your body operate as it should, so you feel good for as long as possible!

If you have health concerns or want to learn more about the right combination of foods and exercise to support your body, we encourage you to talk to us or a health practitioner who well-versed in nutrition.