Articles, Nutrition

What Is Inflammation?

what-is-inflammation

You have likely heard the word “inflammation”, and the way its presented makes it sound like a totally bad thing. But here’s a shocker for you … just like good carbs and bad carbs, good fats and bad fats, there’s also good inflammation and bad inflammation. 

How are you supposed to know the difference?  

Here’s a good rule to remember: as in everything, little may be good but a lot is not. This applies to so many aspects in our lives, including inflammation. For example, if you cut your finger and it gets red, your finger is inflamed as your body works to fight infection through this targeted inflammation.

But as good as the short term response is for you, long term inflammation it is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. This can happen when you ingest something that the body thinks it has to fight off. 

How To “Put Out The Fire”

You can read the extensive research studies (like this one), but the bottom line is that adhering to a Mediterranean diet is not only associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular reasons, but this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials shows that the Mediterranean approach also reduces inflammation and improves the function of the cells lining your arteries (HINT: You need those cells to be working well!).

Mediterranean diet foods. Chalkboard with words Mediterranean Diet in center.

So, eat food that is not fried, that is not a processed food product, and naturally has healthy fats and carbs.  This is what helps to put out the inflammation fire. If you need a rule of thumb to follow, The bottom line is to consume all real food, mostly plants.

Exercise for your muscles is also exercise for your body’s biochemistry. Regular activity each day helps reduce inflammation throughout your body. You don’t have to do killer workouts all day long either, just be consistent. 

Of course, one of the main causes of chronic inflammation in the body is smoking. So the quickest way to reduce this chronic infection response in your body is to quit, and stay away from those who do smoke as much as you are able.

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