Inflammation is the enemy of good health. But its causes are lurking in seemingly innocent foods and the everyday choices we make. While this may sound alarming, there is good news. Reducing inflammation is under your control. Making the right lifestyle choices significantly impacts your short- and long-term health in a positive way. At Advanced Pain Care, with clinics in Austin and Amarillo, TX, we help patients manage and prevent pain from inflammation and other causes.
How Does Inflammation Harm Your Health?
The body uses inflammation to fight what it perceives as threats. While this is generally a healthy response, it can cause disease when left unchecked. Under normal circumstances, inflammation appears in the form of temporary redness and swelling at the site of an injury. But chronic inflammation, caused by the wrong dietary choices, a sedentary lifestyle and poorly managed stress, is a different story. Ongoing inflammation puts you at risk for cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems and accelerated aging. The following smart choices can help you keep health-robbing inflammation at bay.
Watch Your Weight
Being overweight contributes to inflammation in the body. Fat cells release proteins, called cytokines, that trigger low-grade inflammation. Excess weight around the abdomen leaves you especially vulnerable to inflammation. To make matters worse, carrying extra weight in the middle also increases the likelihood of insulin resistance. This condition is tied to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Potatoes, white bread, white rice and other refined carbohydrate-rich foods spark the production of inflammation-promoting chemicals called prostaglandins. Swap out starchy foods for lycopene-rich tomatoes and vitamin C-containing broccoli and citrus fruits. Beta carotene helps fight inflammation and can be found in spinach, carrots and squash. Omega-3 fatty acids are another powerful weapon in the fight against inflammation. The following fish are high in Omega 3s and low in toxic mercury:
- Wild Salmon
Incorporate onions, garlic, ginger and rosemary into your diet. They don't just taste great; these flavor boosters are also fight inflammation.
Don't Let Stress Take Over
Stress impacts the body more than you may realize. Just as cytokines from excess weight cause inflammation, stress can trigger their release in the body with the same result. Yoga, meditation, journaling and deep breathing may not eliminate stress altogether, but these techniques can help you relax. Anxiety-reducing supplements can also be helpful. Therapy may be advised if you have chronic anxiety, depression or difficulty dealing with stress.
Exercise boosts antioxidant production to reduce inflammation-causing free radicals. Overly strenuous workouts can actually create an inflammatory response, so aim for regular 30-minute walks, jogs, swims or gardening sessions three or four times a week. Add 20 minutes of weightlifting or weight resistance twice or three times weekly for the ideal anti-inflammatory mix.
Advanced Care offers a wide variety of services to prevent and manage pain. Contact us by phone or online for appointments at our clinics in the Austin or Amarillo areas.