During this global pandemic, we are trying everything to avoid getting sick. Perhaps you are double masking or going through more hand sanitizer than usual, Are you addressing things that you cannot see inside your body? While we are following the recommended guidelines and trying to avoid preexisting conditions, one that may not be as commonly addressed is preventing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can cause heart disease, the number one killer in the US. It is also linked with type two diabetes, stroke, and obesity. It is estimated that 3 in 5 people worldwide have died due to a type of inflammatory disease.1
Our bodies respond to the signals that are given to them. When a cut or scrape appears or you eat expired food, the immune system is alerted, and an acute inflammatory response occurs. This means white blood cells are signaled to go to the infected or injured area to help speed up the healing process. When inflammation lasts more than 2-6 weeks, it becomes chronic inflammation. This means that the body is constantly sending out white blood cells to heal an “infected” area. Being overweight, for example, can cause this inflammation. The body sees the fat surrounding organs as a threat to your functioning systems. Therefore, white blood cells are sent to attack the fat, and often your organ can get in the crossfire.2 In turn, some side effects that come with this are fatigue, weight gain or loss, gastrointestinal issues, body aches and pains, and depression.1
Many foods in the “Western Diet” can be linked to chronic inflammation. This diet is filled with ultra-processed food, foods high in sugar, saturated fats and salt, and fast food. All these foods can alter the gut’s bacteria, signaling to the body that something is not right. When consuming these foods regularly, the body is constantly thinking that it is under attack and therefore, causes chronic inflammation.3 Of course, consuming these high-caloric foods regularly can likely lead to weight gain, which as stated before, also puts you at risk for chronic inflammation.
While getting your body out of this state of chronic inflammation does not happen overnight, making daily habits to avoid this will benefit you in the long run. Try including these habits into your everyday routine:
- Include fruits and vegetables. Berries, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and apples are just a few that are high in anti-inflammatories.
- Add foods with “good bacteria” into your diet. This type of bacteria comes from probiotic-rich, fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha or sauerkraut. Adding these increases the healthy bacteria and enzymes to your gut which enhances your digestive system and immune system.
- Drink plenty of water. This helps flush out natural toxins that are in your body. The daily recommendation for water is about 8 cups.
- Add daily supplementation. Adding a fish oil supplement, turmeric, curcumin, or ginger, which are all-natural anti-inflammatory supplements, can help fight chronic inflammation.4
Taking these nutrition precautions can not only help you fight against the COVID-19 virus, but also many of the leading causes of death in America. It may not be easy to introduce a new eating habit into your life, but we can help! Contact one of our health experts today to help create a healthy nutritional plan!
Hillary grew up being active her whole life. After playing many sports, she settled on volleyball and softball, which she played through college at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. While at Concordia, she earned a double major in exercise science and nutrition. After she moved to the MN twin cities area after college, she earned her certified personal trainer certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine along with a certified strength and conditioning coach through USA weightlifting. She found passion in motivating people to reach their goals by finding a personalized nutrition and exercise plan that worked best for them. She has worked with clients 1-on-1, as well as small group classes. She looks forward to continuing to grow her knowledge base and help people achieve their health and wellness goals through Live Your Life!
In her spare time, Hillary can usually be found at the gym, playing volleyball, or coaching softball. During the summer, she participates in many sand volleyball leagues and tournaments. She enjoys Minnesota summer activities, such as rollerblading, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. She loves playing board games with her friends and family and trying any new recipe she can find.
1 Pahwa, Roma. “Chronic Inflammation.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 Nov. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/.
2 “Understanding Acute and Chronic Inflammation.” Understanding Acute and Chronic Inflammation, Harvard Health Publishing , Apr. 2020, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-acute-and-chronic-inflammation.
3 McDonald, Edwin. “Foods That Cause Inflammation & How to Reduce Inflammation.” UChicago Medicine, UChicago Medicine, 4 Sept. 2020, www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/gastrointestinal-articles/what-foods-cause-or-reduce-inflammation.
4 Fight Coronavirus with Food. Nebraska Medicine, 15 May 2020, www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/fight-coronavirus-with-food.