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Two Simple Switches To Reduce Inflammation

I often get asked the question, “What are the best ways to reduce inflammation?” 

Inflammation occurs when the body activates the immune system and sends out inflammatory cells to attack bacteria or heal damaged tissue. If the body sends out inflammatory cells when you are not sick or injured, that may lead to chronic inflammation, which if left unaddressed can result in a variety of diseases.

There are several different causes of chronic inflammation, one of them being diet. What we put in our bodies is extremely important; it can either lead to or help prevent diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease. So how can you use diet to help reduce inflammation and prevent disease?

1. Processed food –> whole food

Try to avoid highly processed foods, which tend to have a lot of refined sugar, preservatives, and other additives, such as emulsifiers that lead to inflammation. Instead, focus on eating whole foods and products that contain a few simple ingredients. 

2. Omega-6 fatty acids –> omega-3 fatty acids

Foods high in omega-6, such as fried foods that are soaked in oils, have been shown to be pro-inflammatory. Western diets tend to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids and lower in omega-3 fatty acids, which actually have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Studies have shown that the rise in the omega-6/3 ratio over the past 100 years may be leading to the increase in inflammatory conditions including autoimmune diseases, allergies, and asthma. The primary contributors to the rise in omega-6 intake are industrial seed or vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, soybean, and corn oil. Try limiting foods with these oils (which are actually found in more products than you realize!) and focus on getting in more omega-3’s, such as salmon, chia seeds, algal oil, walnuts, and flaxseeds.

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