Why & How to Beat Inflammation

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Corissa ConardWhat is inflammation?
Everyone remembers a time when they sprained an ankle or cut open a finger. The response is usually the same: puffy/swollen, probably painful, and signs of redness around the area of injury. This is called inflammation and is the body’s normal healing response to injury. However, when isn’t this normal? When isn’t it apart of the healing process?

Chronic Inflammation
Chronic, or long-term, inflammation is a term used to describe internal damage that typically is not normal for the healing process of certain injuries or illnesses. Arthritis, diabetes, celiac, or heart disease are all common chronic inflammation illnesses that commonly occur due to lifestyle choices. The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the chemicals we use to clean with, the lotions we decide to use, etc., can all be linked to inflammatory molecules produced within the body that are linked to the cause or irritation of these diseases. Although these are serious cases, internal inflammation can be felt in even the less serious illnesses such eczema (or other skin problems), brain fog or tiredness, bloatedness, and weight gain. Internal inflammation is very harmful to the body and has serious implications on a person's longevity if not reversed.

What are some foods that can help prevent inflammation?

Turmeric - found in a lot of Indian cuisine.

Tart Cherry Juice - a great recovery drink for serious athletes or workout enthusiasts due to the inflammation that occurs after hard workout. Yes, inflammation occurs here too; however, this is healthy in the sense that it is an acute injury to musculature and will repair itself with the proper sleep, rest, and nutrition.  

Omega 3’s - a good type of fat found in certain fish (mackerel, salmon, anchovies, herring, etc.), seeds & nuts (i.e. chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans), grass-fed meats, and enriched eggs.

Berries - blueberries specifically, help the fight against Alzheimer's.

What are some food or food components that can cause inflammation?

Too much Omega 6 - Although Omega 6 should not and cannot be eliminated, the ratio of Omega 3 to 6 is the culprit of inflammation. Found in many the same things as omega 3’s, it’s also found in many vegetable oils, certain meats, eggs and dairy products, and processed foods. Keep those, specifically, to a minimum to hit the right ratio!

Added Sugars - found in sodas and soft drinks, baked goods, cereals, and flavored yogurts, among many others.

Processed foods - such as bread (especially white), chips, cookies, frozen pizzas, etc.

Fried foods.

Gluten - A protein found in wheat. This is a controversial topic as there are a wide spectrum of people who either: 1) Have gluten intolerance, which is formally called celiac disease, that can put people in a very sick and debilitating state. 2) Have a sensitivity to gluten where some signs and symptoms like bloatedness and fatigue may be present, but isn’t debilitating to everyday life, and 3) Those who choose to be gluten-free because they believe this protein is inflammatory without having any sensitivity or illness when consumed acutely. This is an allergic reaction, and can also be applied to those fighting other food allergies like lactose intolerance.

You can beat inflammation with changes in your diet. Give it a try and see if you don’t improve the quality of your life by feeling better!

Corissa Conard Greater Green Bay YMCA
Certified Personal Trainer & Wellness Coach