Overeating sugar and refined grains can lead to chronically high insulin levels and inflammation.
The Anti-inflammatory Approach to Good Health
Chronic low-level inflammation has been linked to an array of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, asthma, anxiety, and cancer. Here are some ways you can reduce chronic inflammation and improve your overall health:
- Mix up your fats. The relative benefits of fats from cheese, butter, meat, pork, and poultry, which are high in an omega-6 fat called arachidonic acid have received a fresh look lately, with some healthcare experts reversing earlier thinking about their relation to health. While the jury is out, be sure to balance them with anti-inflammatory omega-3s, found in fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
- Stay away from trans fats. These highly inflammatory synthetic fats—also known as partially hydrogenated fats—are found in many margarines, shortenings, and deep-fried foods.
- Limit sugar. Overeating sugar and refined grains can stress the body's capacity to manage blood sugar, a scenario that can lead to chronically high insulin levels and inflammation.
- Watch your weight. Fat stores in the body produce high amounts of inflammatory chemicals.
- Relax. Stress triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals, but relaxation practices like meditation have the opposite effect.
- Get plenty of sleep. Studies have found that sleep deprivation can trigger an inflammatory response.
Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.
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