Inflammation is actually a natural process or mechanism of the body in which the body heals or recovers itself. It can be of two types, external & internal. In external, you will be able to see the inflamed part of your body (like swelling, redness, pain, etc.) but in internal inflammation, your organs can get inflamed and you actually have no idea about it. Inflammation happens in an area where there is an injury, illness, or infection, and it happens just to protect or heal the body. But, if the inflammation is chronic, then it can be very harmful to your body, as it can give you illnesses such as diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease, or even cancer.
Why does inflammation happen in the first place?
If you are not eating healthy and nutritious food (like if you eat high amounts of sugar, or lots of refined carbs, processed & packaged foods, trans fats, excess intake of alcohol & processed meat), not doing any proper physical workout or sitting too much, or taking any stress or tension, then your body can suffer from inflammation. Also, obese people can suffer from chronic inflammation without knowing about it.
Symptoms of Inflammation
You can have certain symptoms like
- Loss of energy, or feeling lethargic and weak
- Frequent pain in muscles and joints
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of function
- Redness, swelling, heat, or pain
What tests are done to check your inflammation level?
Doctors basically go for these tests when they want to check the level of inflammation in your body
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- TNF Alpha
How to beat inflammation?
We can get rid of inflammation by improving our eating habits. We can include foods that are anti-inflammatory and that can help reduce inflammation in our bodies.
- Eat a RAINBOW Diet
A Rainbow Diet means that you need to eat foods (fruits and veggies) of all the colors such as red, yellow, blue, violet, orange, green, white, etc. Eat a plate of food that is colorful and has a variety. It is because every color has a different nutrition level, and your body needs all of them.
- Load yourselves with Anti-oxidants
Antioxidants basically destroy free radicals which are present in your body, and as such prevents you from cancer. It also reduces a great amount of inflammation in your body. And the best source of antioxidants is Turmeric (Haldi). Turmeric has curcumin which helps to get rid of inflammation in the body. Also, if turmeric is taken with black pepper, then the absorption and benefits increase. You must have seen also that whenever we cook any Indian dish or Indian-style curry, we add turmeric and black pepper both in it, so to have double the benefits that Haldi will give us.
Whenever there is a loss of antioxidants in the body, our body produces oxidative stress. The symptoms of oxidative stress are – weakness, grey hair, memory loss, decreased vision, wrinkles, muscle & joint pain, etc. Oxidative stress damages our cells, DNA, and proteins. And so, we always need to fuel up our bodies with natural sources of antioxidants. Apart from Haldi, rosemary is also a very good source of antioxidants. You can have rosemary tea or use it as a flavor enhancer in your soups, salads, stews, or curries. Rosemary not only reduces inflammation but also increases your immunity and boosts the blood circulation of your body.
- Intake of Ginger, Garlic & Onion
These 3 are actually called anti-inflammatory foods and are very beneficial in reducing inflammation. Most Indians use all three while making vegetables. These are very helpful in getting rid of the swelling from any of the body parts.
- Indian Spices
They are very nutritious and full of health benefits. And so, we should always try to add these masalas such as Haldi, black pepper, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaves, carom seeds, sesame seeds, etc. when we cook any meal.
They are power-packed with fibers and keep us away from inflammation. Sources of beans are kidney beans, soybeans, black beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, etc. Especially if we talk about soybeans, then it prevents us from a variety of cancers. Also, beans are rich in protein, and you need protein for your body as they are the building blocks of the body. Also, try to take plant-based sources of protein, as, in animal-based protein, there comes meat, especially the red one (lamb, mutton, pork, etc), which causes too much inflammation in your body. If you eat red meat very often, then your body will definitely have inflammation, that too mostly the internal one. Also, if your muscles and joints have a lot of pain, that again is also a symptom that your body has inflammation.
- Fiber-rich foods are a must
Sources of fiber-rich foods are fruits, salads, raw veggies, oats, quinoa, and steel-cut oats (Dalia). Fiber-rich foods promote gut health, and as such helps in the proper digestion of food. Apart from that, it helps a lot in getting rid of inflammation in your body. Fiber-rich foods are very nutritious and filling. And the best snack option in fiber-rich foods is popcorn which has a lesser number of calories and lots of fiber content in it which helps to beat inflammation.
- Omega-3 fats
Our body doesn’t produce omega-3 fats, which means we have to fulfill it from external food sources only. The best source of omega-3 fatty acid is flax seed. You can consume it in the form of chutney, or you can add it up to your smoothies and salads.
Foods you should avoid
You should avoid eating sugary foods or beverages, refined carbs, desserts, processed meat, processed snack items, certain oils, trans fats, alcohol, etc.
Anti-inflammatory foods that you should include in your diet
- Include veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts.
- In fruits, consume deeply colored berries, grapes & cherries.
- Include high-fat fruits such as avocados and olives
- Add healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado oil
- Load up with fatty fishes such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel
- Munch on nuts mostly almonds
- Also, include bell peppers and chili peppers
- Dark chocolate is also a very good source
- In spices, consume turmeric, cinnamon, and fenugreek
- In beverages, go for green tea
Chronic inflammation is not at all good for health. It harms your body in such a way that it will give you certain harmful diseases. So, changing your lifestyle and eating habits can help to beat inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods can help a lot!