One of the most important ageing factors is inflammation. Inflammation is a healthy process that helps the body when injured. However, it doesn’t only occur in those situations. Sometimes, the inflammation response lingers much longer that it’s supposed to, and this causes problems in the long run. As we age, our body slowly loses its ability to shut down the inflammation process when it’s not required anymore. When the inflammation switch stays on, the body acts as if it was always under attack.
The problem with chronic inflammation is that the immune system is constantly activated. Over time, this weakens the immune system and opens the door to diseases. Ultimately, the immune system can even turn against healthy cells, leading to auto-immune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Lupus, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. Chronic inflammation is even linked to cancer. Fortunately chronic inflammation is something you prevent through a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
Each food has its own effect on inflammation levels. Some foods rev up inflammation while others tamp it down. Fried foods, sugars and carbs all tend to increase inflammation levels. On the other side, a diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids slow down the inflammation process.
5 ways to fight inflammation
Choose your foods
Eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Also avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as processed foods, sugar, HFCS, trans fats, alcohol and caffeine.
Investigate food intolerance or sensitivities
Even if whole grains are usually anti-inflammatory, if you’re sensitive to gluten, as example, eating whole wheat will trigger inflammation in your body. And while this is true with almost any food, you can try an elimination diet to spot problematic foods for you. Start by restricting the most known allergens like wheat, dairy, soy, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, peanuts, citrus fruits, pork, eggs and shellfish. It might seem like a lot to avoid, but there’s still plenty things to eat. After one month on this diet, you can start to add one “forbidden” food back at a time and see how it goes. This way you can spot which foods can trigger inflammation in your own body.
Take care of your digestive tract
The better you digest foods, the less inflammation you will have. You can try adding probiotic to your diet to promote a healthy digestive tract. Alternatively, you can give your stomach a boost by drinking 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in 1 cup of water before each meal.
Spice things up
Most of herbs and spices offer excellent anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric, the spice used in curry, is probably the champion but cinnamon, garlic and ginger are also good.
Regular exercise helps to reset the inflammatory process. While you don’t have to be extreme, it takes vigorous exercise to lower your inflammation levels. Not used to vigorous exercise? Why not start with a brisk walk.