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Top 10 tips for reducing chronic inflammation

Inflammation is a natural response of your body to injury or infection, which helps to recover and avoid injury and illness. However, it can become an issue if it lingers for long periods of time, or what we call chronic inflammation. Here are 10 tips for how to avoid or reduce chronic inflammation through dietary measures.

Consume Anti-oxidants

Anti-oxidants aid in the removal of free radicals from your body. Free radicals are like the smoke that comes out your car’s exhaust pipe. They are a natural by-product of using energy. Free radicals need to be cleaned up and if they are, it can help reduce inflammation. Having a diet high in anti- oxidants is a great way to help curb free-radicals and inflammation. Supplementing with anti-oxidants can reduce the amount of free-radical build-up that may contribute to chronic inflammation. Top of the list are Vitamins C and E.

Reduce refined sugars

Chronically high blood sugar levels, that occur when you eat a diet high in refined sugars, can cause an increase in harmful inflammatory compounds called AGEs. These are formed when protein and/or fat molecules combine with sugar in the bloodstream. In high levels they cause oxidative stress and inflammation. High sugar intake is also linked to causing higher LDL cholesterol scores, which is often referred to as the “bad” form of blood cholesterol. It’s our opinion that eliminating your refined sugar intake, and preventing blood sugar spikes through out the day, is one of the best ways to minimise chronic inflammation for most people. It is far better for you body to consume carbohydrates in the natural form of fruits and vegetables, as the sugar is bound to fibre, which takes longer for the body to process. This wont spike your blood sugar levels as strongly as refined sugar.

Check the ingredient list for inflammatory preservatives

Generally speaking if you couldn’t pull it out of the ground, off a tree/plant or cut it off an animal you need to be sceptical of its contents and therefore its nutritional benefits. Get into the habit of reading packets, cans and boxes to see what is in the product in question. If you don’t know what the ingredient is or you have never heard of it, it’s probably safe to assume it may be inflammatory and it’s not ideal to consume. Eliminate as many of these foods from your diet as possible.

Increase water intake

Increasing your water intake is a critical component to the reduction of chronic inflammation. It aids in the removal of toxins and allows your body to regulate its pH more effectively, which can help reduce inflammation. We recommend 1 litre per 20 kg of body mass, up to 4 litres a day. If you weigh 70 kg that’s 3.5 litres a day, if you weigh 80 kg that’s 4L, 130 kg...4L will be plenty.

Reduce alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption is very inflammatory for a lot of the same reasons as sugar. It will often raise blood sugar as it’s often mixed with high sugar mixers. Drinks such as beer and wine are also quite high in sugar. The effect that processing alcohol has on the liver is also very inflammatory. When you consume alcohol, the body reacts to the toxin by making it top priority for the liver to get it out of the bloodstream. This means all other detoxification and liver processes get put on hold. This can then lead to a backlog of other toxins, which your immune system will have to deal with. We recommend alcohol consumption in moderation and limiting its use to social situations.

Digestive Aids

Helping your body naturally digest foods helps the body better process any toxins or inflammatory substances that you may ingest. Our favourite digestive aid here at Chiropractic HQ is using organic apple cider vinegar and lemon juice mixed with warm water before meals. This helps stimulate your natural stomach acid level, which will get your stomach ready to digest the in-coming food a lot more efficiently. Consuming a diet high in natural pre and pro-biotic fermented foods such as Kombucha, Kimchi, Sauerkraut and some probiotic dairy foods can help the digestive process as well.

Reduce processed meats

As I'm sure you are aware, a steak is very different to luncheon meat. One is barely processed, other than cutting it off the animal. The other has been minced and had goodness knows what added to it, so that it has a two-month shelf life. One is a rich source of iron and protein the other is an inflammatory nightmare. The quality of meat is very important here. Steak doesn't need an ingredient list attached to it, any meat that does, should be cut out of your diet. We recommend all meats be pasture raised/grass fed, organic and ethically raised where ever possible.

Reduce refined grains

There are some grains that in moderation and when prepared in the right way can be very useful medicinally. However, gluten can be hugely inflammatory and is found in wheat. Various studies have shown that it causes low-grade bowel inflammation in all people, if consumed in excessive
levels. What is up for debate here is what “excessive” is, it is different for everyone. Some people have Coeliac disease and can’t look at a piece of bread without reacting to it, and others can eat a whole loaf and see no ill-effects. Moderating or eliminating the gluten in your diet can be hugely beneficial for any individual.

Omega 3’s

We recommend taking a high-quality source of Omega 3s, as it is shown to help reduce inflammation in the body. Our modern western diet, is often low in Omega 3s and high in Omega 6s. Omega 6s are not bad, in fact they are very necessary. However, an imbalance of the two will cause
inflammation in the body. A 1:1 ratio of Omega 3s: Omega 6s is best and most people are a long way from this, which causes inflammation at a cellular level.

Reduce dairy

Lactose (the sugar) and casein (the protein) in dairy products may cause gut inflammation in a large portion of the population. Moderating, eliminating or substituting is your best option for milk, cheese and cream. Butter is the one dairy product, often bad-mouthed, which we recommend
you include in your diet in moderation. Butter does not contain much or any lactose and casein, which are the more inflammatory components of milk. In fact, butter provides your body with lots of healthy butyric acid and conjugated linoleic acid which can be great for gut health and general well being.

Digestion, inflammation and your immune system all have something very important in common... your nervous system. Your brain and central nervous system not only control all of these, it controls every basic function in the human body. For your body to digest and process toxins at its best, the messages your brain and central nervous system are sending to your body need to get there uninhibited. If something gets in the way of these messages, none of these tips will be of any use to you, as you won’t be able to do anything at your best. A chiropractors sole job in life is to assess and correct any disturbances in the communication of messages coming from the brain to the body. If you try all of the above and are still having inflammatory issues you probably need to be assessed by a chiropractor to see if you have a communication problem with your nervous system. For more information regarding chiropractic care and how it can help you lead a healthier more active life or about us and our practice, check out the rest of our website. To book a no obligation initial chiropractic consultation to see how chiropractic care could help you follow this link or contact us via email or phone on the details below. If you wish to get a copy of one of our 5 foundation manuals for more in depth health advise, they are available for purchase from our practice.