Opinion

Healthy lifestyle puts out fire

DID you know that inflammation is something that affects every body?

Long-term aches and pains, muscle and joint soreness, poor diet, being overweight, smoking and drinking are all triggers for inflammation.

Chronic disease such as arthritis, osteoporosis, sinusitis, skin problems, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes (just to name a few) are all associated with inflammation.

The term inflammation came from the Latin word 'inflammare' which means 'to set on fire'. It can easily be recognised by redness, heat and swelling in an injured area, such as a sprained ankle, lump or bites. Long-term or chronic inflammation is harder to identify.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NDAIDs), such as asprin and ibuprofen, are the most commonly prescribed medications in the Western world for inflammation and pain. However, long-term use of these medications can have a wide range of adverse side effects such as peptic ulceration, perforation and gastrointestinal haemorrhage, and could increase your risk of stroke.

Making healthy diet and lifestyle choices can help you manage your long-term inflammatory problems:

Eat a rainbow of fresh vegetables such as leafy greens, red, yellow, orange and blue/purple vegetables daily, as these are rich in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory in action.

Follow the Mediterranean diet - it is rich in vegetables, low-glycaemic index carbohydrates, lean proteins and high in anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids.

Omega 3s are potent anti-inflammatory compounds, so eat lots of fish!

Consider adding spices like chilli, black pepper, ginger and turmeric to your foods as research shows these herbs can help reduce inflammation.

Avoid processed foods such as refined carbohydrates and sugar - not only do they increase your risk of developing diabetes, research also shows there is a link to increased risk of inflammatory disease development

Maintain a healthy weight - obesity is a state of chronic inflammation. Adipose tissue, which is also known as fat, releases inflammatory markers that have been shown to alter glucose metabolism and adversely impact cardiovascular health.

Get moving - physical activity decreases levels of inflammatory mediators, helps with blood glucose control and improves cardiovascular health

Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption - these all deliver toxic chemicals directly into your body causing significant oxidative damage and inflammation. Many inflammatory conditions have complex underlying factors, so seek the guidance of a qualified medical practitioner.

The Inflammation Checklist - how many of these inflammatory factors apply to you?

Chronic aches and pains, or muscle and muscle joint soreness

Regular use of anti-inflammatory or pain relieving medications

Regular diet includes:

Refined grain and grain products

Refined sugar

Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and deep fried foods.

Vegetable oils - corn, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, soybean and foods that are made with these oils.

Grain fed meats and poultry

Overweight, obese and hard to lose weight

Excess weight around waist

Mental fatigue, anxiety or depression

Prone to infections or allergies

Smoke cigarettes

Chronic disease - arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, sinusitis, skin problems, allergies, asthma, PMS, endometriosis, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes etc.

Seek professional medical advice if you answered yes to 3 or more of these inflammatory factors, as it is possible that inflammation could be or become a problem for you.

Topics:  michelle peden


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