There is a battle going on inside of our bodies, and that is inflammation. Some of us have more than others and the lifestyle we choose to have largely depends on how many of these soldiers continue to fight against our system.
Everything is arguably related to inflammation. It can cause cancer, skin conditions, allergies, muscle pain, joint pain, headaches and painful menstruation. So what exactly is inflammation? It’s a combination of heat, pain, redness and swelling that happens externally or inside the body. Of all the new health buzzwords touted these days, inflammation wins the race by far. docs are giving recipes for home remedies to reduce it and oncologists are learning more and more about how closely inflammation affects the development of cancer.
Often, chronic disease development stems from an unresolved inflammatory response. Managing inflammation and preventing it is crucial to overall human health, especially as we age.
A coalition of experts published in the British Journal of Nutrition this year talked about how nutrition influences the inflammatory processed and can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Inflammation that is elevated and not managed or cured is a core cause of a range of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Prevention or control of low-grade inflammation is an attractive target effect for healthy food or food ingredients.
Inflammation is a normal component regulating your metabolism, but unresolved chronic inflammation is a pathological feature of a wide range of conditions, including metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases.
Micronutrient deficiencies or excess of certain nutrients like folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin E and zinc can lead to ineffective or excessive inflammatory response. Recent studies have revealed that a high consumption of fat and glucose may create post-prandial inflammation which is sparked after we eat. The Western-style diet, rich in refined sugars and unhealthy fats, is linked to an increased prevalence of diseases with strong immunogical and autoimmune components including allergies, food allergies and obesity.
A new field of epigenetics—the study of gene expression and how the epigenome influences DNA—is digging deeper into how inflammation affects the body and how we can prevent it. We all know half of genes come from our father and the other half from our mother, but many people don’t understand their family history. The expression of genes regulating inflammation and immune function are under your control depending on the toxins or nutrients you’re putting in your body and the history of your family and how their lifestyle choices affected their overall health.
By looking at inflammatory markers, we can get to the heart of what we’re all destined to develop, when it comes chronic diseases.
Inflammation is often due to consuming processed foods, fast foods, white sugar, white flour and head damaged oils. These foods are turning on numerous genes that promote inflammation causing cancer, heart disease. Inflammation often begins in the gut, destroying gut bacteria that releases inflammatory chemicals. These toxins produce inflammation, promoting changes in the body that can lead to chronic diseases.
The Mediterranean Diet is a great way to eat and lead a healthy lifestyle as well as helps reduce inflammatory markers. Wheat, dairy and sugar tend to be the biggest causes of inflammation.
Foods that support the liver which is responsible for ridding the body of toxins are especially important such as:
- Avocados: Avocados are great for our liver because they help our bodies produce a powerful antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione helps the liver get rid of harmful toxins. Avocados are also loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and potassium and are extremely nutritious. They can also help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, help you lose weight, and may even help prevent cancer.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are another type of food that is high in the same antioxidant as avocados, glutathione. Walnuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Both glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids help improve liver function as they aid the liver in its cleansing process. This nut also has tons of arginine, which is an amino acid. Arginine helps the liver detoxify ammonia. Make sure you chew and break down the nuts in your mouth before swallowing so that these important antioxidants and amino acids are fully extracted for absorption.
- Leafy greens are one of the most important foods we can eat to help cleanse the liver. These are good for our liver because they can protect it from harmful substances that may be in some of the food we consume. They can neutralize chemicals, pesticides, and minerals that pass through our body which can either be acidic or toxic. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula, or mustard greens are excellent choices to try as they help improve the flow of bile within the liver, which helps remove toxins and waste from our blood and organs.
- Apples are rich in pectin, which helps the liver to cleanse and get rid of toxins within the digestive tract. As a result, the liver is better able to process and filter out the amount of toxins that pass through it.
- Green tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants called catechins, which are known to improve liver function. However, beware of taking green tea supplements which contain high amounts of catechins. In high doses, catechins can be toxic to the liver. The recommendation is to drink one cup of green tea every day or at least every now and then. Green tea in the liquid form has a much lower amount of catechins.
- Garlic is excellent for your liver because it helps turns on enzymes in your liver that get rid of harmful toxins. Garlic is also high in selenium and allicin, which are two natural compounds that help the liver restore itself. Allicin is also what gives garlic its distinct garlic smell. The compounds in garlic can also help reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, reduce your risk for heart disease, improve bone health, and may help you live longer in general. Garlic also contains antioxidants which may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Turmeric is an important spice for the liver. It supports enzymes in the liver which help rid the organ of harmful dietary toxins, such as carcinogens. Turmeric also promotes the production of bile in the liver, which helps our bodies digest fats in the small intestine.
- Cabbage helps activate essential liver detoxifying enzymes which are necessary to cleanse the liver of toxins. Great ways to incorporate more cabbage in your diet are by eating kimchi, sauerkraut, or even cabbage soup.