Inflammation is a word we often hear (and possibly even feel) regularly. It's produced by the body’s immune response in an attempt to protect us from damage, but when we have chronic inflammation our health can really suffer. Chronic inflammation can lead to serious diseases like some types of cancer, Diabetes type 2, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Did you know that certain foods can increase chronic inflammation, and therefore your risk of disease? Think about staying away from these foods more often if you're trying to fight inflammation in your body: trans fats, refined carbohydrates like sugar and white bread, red meat and even soda.
Trans fats can be extra harmful and hard to detect. Trans fats are also naturally found in small amounts in red meats.
Weight gain or obesity can also be a non-food related risk factor for chronic inflammation.
So what can I do?
1) Read Labels. Avoid products that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable and more than 5-7 ingredients. Skip products that make health claims. Did you know that due to labeling laws, a food can label trans fats as zero if the trans fats content is below .5g per serving? In order to be a savvy shopper, you need to look at the ingredient list to find the hidden trans fats. If the ingredient list has partially hydrogenated fats or hydrogenated fats then there are trans fats in the product.
2) Shop mostly the perimeter at the grocery store. Try to only buy what your great grandmother would recognize!
3) Check out foods that combat chronic inflammation, like dark leafy green, berries and nuts. Adding color from vegetables and fruits to your diet will add a huge benefit to your health. Focusing on making half your plate full of vegetables at each meal will go a long way to reducing chronic inflammation in your body. Below you will find a recipe for Kale Orange Salad to help!
Kale Orange Salad
4 cups baby kale
½ small orange
½ cup quinoa (cooked)
¼ cup of almonds
1 teaspoon lemon
1 clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the dressing ingredients together. Add the dressing to the kale and mix well. (As strange as it sounds kale likes to be massaged.) With your hands massage in the dressing until all the leaves are coated. Add slices of orange, quinoa and almonds. You can also add grilled chicken to the dish to change it from a side to a main dish!
4) Find ways to manage your stress. Get some sleep - poor sleep quality and short durations can increase chronic inflammation. Exercise too! Some people find working out as a great stress reliever and health booster in one ~ You get double points for one activity!
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