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Let’s Talk About Inflammation!

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury, infection, or stress. It helps to heal and protect you from harm. However, when inflammation becomes chronic or excessive, it can cause more harm than good. Chronic inflammation is linked to many health problems, such as:

  • Weight gain and obesity.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Mood and depression.
  • Cognitive function (focus, ADD, and ADHD).
  • Brain health (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease).
  • Sports recovery (more inflammation = longer recovery).
  • Immune compromise.
  • Irritable bowel disease and gut problems.
  • Any disease ending in “itis” (e.g., arthritis, tendinitis, colitis, etc.; “itis” is the medical term for inflammation).
  • Chronic pain.
  • Menstrual cramping.
  • And more!

Fortunately, you can reduce inflammation and improve your health by following some simple dietary and lifestyle changes. Here are some tips and examples of how to do that.

Easy Anti-Inflammatory Diet

One of the best ways to reduce inflammation is to increase anti-inflammatory food consumption. This means eating foods that are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can fight inflammation and protect your cells from damage. Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods are:

  • Lean protein, such as edamame, tofu, beans, lentils, fish, chicken, turkey, or eggs.
  • Colorful fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens and berries.
  • Healthy fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, or flaxseed.
  • Omega-3 supplements, such as algae or fish oil.
  • Herbs and spices, such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, or rosemary.

bowl of vegetable salads

Here’s a simple way to follow an anti-inflammatory diet:

  • Divide your plate into thirds.
  • On one third of the plate, put a lean protein.
  • On the other two thirds of the plate, put colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Add a dash of healthy fat and an omega-3 supplement.
  • Aim to eat three balanced meals a day, and snack on fruits, nuts, or seeds if you are hungry between meals.

On the other hand, you should avoid or limit foods that can trigger or worsen inflammation, such as:

  • Processed foods, such as chips, cookies, cakes, candy, or soda.
  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, rice, or sugar.
  • Fried foods, such as french fries, onion rings, or chicken nuggets.
  • Red meat, such as beef, pork, or lamb.
  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, or yogurt.
  • Gluten, such as wheat, barley, or rye.
  • Alcohol, such as beer, wine, or liquor.

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

A great way to reduce inflammation and boost your health is to drink an anti-inflammatory smoothie. This is a delicious and easy way to get more anti-inflammatory nutrients in your diet. You can make your own anti-inflammatory smoothie by blending the following ingredients:

  • 5-6 oz of frozen edamame (or another lean protein source).
  • 5 – 5 oz of greens, such as kale, spinach, or dandelion greens.
  • 4 – 8 oz of cucumber or celery juice (or water).
  • 105 g of frozen berries (or another fruit).
  • 1 packet of unsweetened acai (or another superfood).
  • 1/4 oz of nuts or seeds (or another healthy fat source).

You can also add some optional ingredients to enhance the flavor and benefits of your smoothie, such as:

  • Spirulina or chlorella (1 – 2 scoops)
  • Baking soda or apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp – 1/4 cup)
  • Be sure to let these two bubble and fizz and settle first!

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and enjoy! You can drink this smoothie for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack. It will help you feel full, energized, and refreshed.

Conclusion

Inflammation is a common and serious health issue that can affect your well-being and quality of life. However, you can reduce inflammation and improve your health by eating an anti-inflammatory diet and drinking an anti-inflammatory smoothie. These are simple and effective ways to nourish your body and fight inflammation. Try them out and see how they make you feel. You may be surprised by the results!

Diet and nutrition are just one of many ways you can help reduce inflammation and improve your health. If you want additional support in this area in your life, you can check out my blog (www.brennabray.com/blog). You may also benefit from working with a health or integrative nutrition coach. A coach can help you create a personalized plan, monitor your progress, and motivate you to achieve your goals. To learn more, visit my health coaching website at www.brennabray.com.

Dr. Brenna Bray, a local health and wellness coach, stress researcher, associate professor, and avid ultra-marathon mountain runner, holds PhDs in Biomedical Science, Neuroscience, and Complementary and Integrative Health. Her journey through an eating disorder fuels her dedication to coaching, merging personal experiences with scientific expertise. Through her practice, Bray empowers clients to access and harness their innate healing abilities and achieve remarkable health and wellness transformations. Committed to community engagement and holistic well-being, Dr. Bray shapes a brighter, healthier future for all. Learn more about Dr. Bray at www.brennabray.com.

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