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No stress. How to cut inflammation in your body for a healthier life

Get rid of a long list of maladies.

 |  Hello, Health  |  4-minute read |   24-04-2017
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Whether it's fatigue, body ache, joint pain, chronic headache, unexplained weight gain, low immunity leading to frequent colds and flu, gastric issues like bloating, indigestion; heart burn, or skin troubles like unexplained rashes, most of them can be traced to a high level of inflammation in our body.

What is worse is that, slowly, chronic inflammation may even lead to arthritis, metabolic syndrome, brain health, liver disease, osteoporosis, cancer, asthma, autoimmune diseases, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and early aging. Now that's a long list of maladies!

And inflammation in turn is fuelled by our overly acidic bodies thanks to our poor eating habits (acidic foods like caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, sugars, refined flours and excess animal products), pollution and stress.

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Be tea-smart

So to reverse the process, it is important to cut stress, exercise regularly and, most importantly, follow an alkalising diet, plating foods that help cut inflammation effectively.

Below is a list of broad rules to follow and the anti-inflammation super foods to add to our grocery lists ASAP.

The first foolproof rule is to eat a diet loaded with fibre (fruits, vegetables, whole grains). Research clearly shows that people who choose diets high in fibre have lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in their blood. CRP is a marker of inflammation that has been linked to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), heart disease and diabetes.

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High-fibre foods also feed good bacteria in our gut, which then help promote lower levels of inflammation all through the body. In fact, adding more plant-based whole foods to the diet helps flood the body with vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting phytochemicals, antioxidants, and the fibre it needs to cut and prevent chronic inflammation effectively.

Sip right. Green tea has very potent anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the loads of antioxidants it contains, particularly catechins.

But not many know that even black tea is beneficial as while it has low levels of catechins, it has the highest levels of theaflavins and thearubinins, which are just as effective as the catechins in keeping inflam-mation down, and improving insulin sensitivity - thus preventing diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

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Don't forget antioxidants 

So green or black, make tea an important part of your everyday sip-ping menu.

Consciously eat alkalising foods; here eggplant (baigan) tops the list.

It is, in fact, a perfect antidote to all the acidic foods we eat. That's not all, it also delivers a lot of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanin, which is a proven inflammation cutter, and chlorogenic acid, a wonder pigment which fights free radicals and multiple viruses.

For this compound alone, it makes sense to eat more of this spongy textured vegetable.

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Inflammation can be tricky

Change your sugar. Avoid refined sugars as much as possible and ar-tificial sweeteners altogether. In fact, maple syrup is a good option to consider as a strong body of research has revealed the presence of inulin in it, a type of complex carbohydrate (natural dietary fiber) that acts as a prebiotic (feeds the probiotics) and works to encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

Add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger and cin-namon to the diet to boost the antioxidant capacity.

Curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-bacterial, antifungal, and anticancer properties. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, and polyphenols in cinnamon have shown clear anti-inflammatory action. 

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Load up on omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids work by suppressing the production of the inflammatory chemicals that the body makes, and thereby help lower the risk of many chronic diseases that have a high inflammatory process at their root.

Fatty fish, flax seeds and walnuts are the foods to add to the diet. Al-though it is equally important to lower your intake of omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation, primarily by cooking less in refined oil, eating less meat, and processed foods.

Coconut oil is another highly anti-inflammatory fat that is made up of mostly medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and antimicrobial and anti-fungal caprylic, lauric, and capric acids that aid reduction in inflammation. 

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Steer clear of anything with hydrogenated oils

Finally, it is important to cut to size processed foods, particularly those containing high-fructose corn syrup or those high in sodium - both fester inflammation in the body.

Also look out for foods high in trans fats, as those who eat more trans fats have higher levels of C-reactive protein, (a biomarker for inflammation in the body).

A good rule of thumb is to always read labels and steer clear of products that contain the words "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated oils, and restrict the intake of fried foods.

Inflammation can be tricky, and it plays a part in so many diseases and symptoms that it is best kept in strict control.

And as I have mentioned, overhauling our diet is the best way to do this. So do it consciously, every day of your life.

Is too much caffeine making you anxious and jittery?

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Writer

Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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