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It may come as a surprise to hear that our diet not only plays a key role in the way we feel on a daily basis but it also influences our risk of developing a number of chronic diseases including some types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Even the way our skin, joints, hair and body looks is impacted by the daily diet choices we make. Unfortunately in modern life, with significant amounts of stress, poor diet choices and high intake of caffeine, fat, sugar and alcohol our bodies are in a chronically inflamed state, and over time inflammation causes damage to the cells that leads to a number of chronic diseases. While this may all sound a little depressing, the good news is that an anti-inflammatory diet, or a diet that focuses on the key foods that help to reduce inflammation naturally in the body are favoured in place of the foods known to actually increase inflammation is the key to help your body look, feel and function better on a daily basis. So if you know your body is not at its best; or have high cholesterol or aching joints, it may be time to put these simple steps into action.
1. Get your balance right
Some types of fat increase inflammation in the body, while others actively reduce it and the key to getting the right balance of fat in modern diets is to choose the right mix of foods every single day. Ideally we need 2-3 serves of omega 3 rich food such as oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed and chia every single day. In addition we need a couple of serves of monounsaturated fat via avocado, almonds and olive oil. Ideally we will also keep our intake of processed vegetable oils to an absolute minimum by avoiding processed and fried foods and get our saturated fats from a little meat and dairy. Many of us fail to get this balance right as we do not eat enough oily fish, and as such supplementing your diet with fish oil is the way to go.
2. Load up on fruits and vegetables
The brighter the colour of the fresh fruit or vegetable, the higher the antioxidant content is likely to be and the more antioxidants we consume naturally as part of our daily diet, the better it is for the health of our cells long term. Countries with the longest lifespan and the lowest prevalence of chronic disease are known to consume 7-10 serves of antioxidant rich fresh fruits and vegetables every single day. This means a vegetable juice for breakfast; a large salad or serve of vegetables at lunchtime as well as ½ a plate or bowl of vegetables at night as well as a couple of pieces of fruit every single day.
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3. Add in your superfoods
Green tea is one; beetroot juice another as are walnuts, salmon and pumpkin seeds. Foods that are naturally high in specific nutrients known to have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits in the body.
4. Cut the sugars and refined carbs
Sugar along with processed fats and refined carbohydrates such as white breads, white rice and processed potato send blood glucose levels soaring which in turn increases inflammation in the body. If you are serious about cutting your risk of developing these diseases, cut them from your diet completely, especially liquid sugars found in soft drinks and fruit juices. Liquid sugars store fat in the liver more readily than other types of carbohydrate and are closely linked to increased inflammation in the body.
5. Add in any supplements that can help
CoQ10 is known to promote cell health as is fish oil and other antioxidants including grape seed. If you suffer from the effects of inflammation such as chronic pain, insulin resistance and fatty liver, adding concentrated sources of key nutrients may too help to improve your natural anti-inflammatory response and help you to feel better each and every day.
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