Inflammation is a huge issue that most of us don’t know we have or we don’t care until our health is at jeopardy. Inflammation is caused from consuming certain foods that have been processed and contain chemicals. Our body’s immune system attacks anything foreign in our bodies. That includes foods or so called foods that we eat. Now think about this. Over the years how much packaged and processed foods have you eaten? How much soda, candy and sugar? How much packaged breads and pasta? I could go on and on!
Now I am not trying to burst your “if it fits your macros” bubble! This can work well for so many people. But I encourage you to make GOOD choices over processed and sugary ones. We are human and like to enjoy “fun” foods, I know I do. But let’s face it, do we NEED them daily? Will your life become terrible without eating sugar and processed foods daily? The answer is no. What you will be doing if you eat these foods daily is causing future health problems. Just because you are feeling ok now or don’t see any negative change to your body, doesn’t mean it is not there and growing worse.
Also keep in mind we tend to accept the signs of feeling less than optimal as what happens when we age. Or I am just having a bad day. Inflammation can lead to so many health problems and these health problems can lead to a shorter life span or chronic disease. Some signs and symptoms of inflammation are:
- Ongoing, irritating pain (joints or muscles)
- Allergies or asthma (especially if getting worse)
- High blood pressure or blood sugar issues
- Ulcers and IBS (constipation or diarrhea)
- Fatigue or low energy
- Skin problems, red or bloodshot eyes
- Poor digestion and/or bloating
- Congestion and watery eyes
A lot of the symptoms are flu like symptoms and we tend to blow it off as just not feeling well that day. The signs of inflammation may come and go. Most of us suffer from inflammation unless you have been eating perfect your whole life and that definitely isn’t a high percentage!
We do need inflammation in the body to occur at some degree so we fight off viruses and it also helps to heal injuries and repair muscle after we workout. But what we are talking about here is causing inflammation we don’t need because of eating things we don’t need!
Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
- Refined Carbohydrates – such as white bread and pastries
- Fried Foods
- Soda – and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- Processed Meat – hot dogs, sausage, etc.
- Margarine – shortening and lard
- Refined Sugars – such as candies and sweets
Include plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet:
- Olive Oil
- Green Leafy Vegetables – such as spinach, kale, and collards
- Nuts – like almonds and walnuts
- Fatty Fish – like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- Fruits – such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
- Whole Grains (unprocessed) – wild rice, millet, steel cut oats, quinoa
To put it simply, if you are walking around daily sniffling, stuffed up, bloated, have indigestion, muscle and joint pain, headaches, skin irritations, constipation, diarrhea, always tired or loss of strength, you more than likely have some inflammation. You may not have all these symptoms but even if you have a few, you need to start improving the situation before it leads to sickness or disease.
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Now don’t get me wrong, enjoy life, enjoy a good meal. But avoid enjoying foods every day that will compromise your health. Balance is key and important. Again, it takes eating the pro-inflammatory foods on a regular basis to get you in trouble. We shouldn’t strive for perfection, just aim for progressive consistency. Make a couple of changes per week to your diet and your exercise routine. This sets you up for positive change that remains for life.