Whether you sprain an ankle as a weekend warrior, develop a blister from breaking in new shoes, or swell up like a balloon after eating peanuts, you’re experiencing inflammation. Inflammation is your immune system’s natural response to a potential attack on the body. Acute or short-term inflammation is the body’s normal response to trauma or infection and is essential for our protection, healing, and survival.
Although acute inflammation is healthy, most people experience chronic or long-term inflammation from such things as poor dietary choices, digestive issues, or environmental toxins. Unfortunately, when many people feel pain they seek quick relief in pills that mask the body’s warning signal that inflammation is present and inhibits the body’s ability to repair, heal and protect itself. Over time, chronic inflammation results in weight gain, digestive issues, food sensitivities and allergies, and hormone imbalances. Many modern diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and autoimmunity, are caused or worsened by hidden inflammation.
10 Nutrition Tips to Cool Inflammation
When it comes to getting healthy and losing weight, counting calories will only get you so far. Reducing inflammation is essential to reduce body fat, strengthen immunity, prevent disease and support overall health. The following tips work together to cool inflammation by reducing toxins and increasing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich foods.
1. Select Better Beverages
- Stay hydrated with filtered water to flush out toxins. Add antioxidants to H2O with berries, pomegranate, citrus wedges, grated ginger, or fresh mint leaves.
- Get your caffeine kick from “organic” coffee (polyphenols) or green tea (catechins).
- Sweeten with success by using cinnamon and stevia.
- Find healthier alternatives to processed beverages (such as Zevia).
- Top shelf for alcoholic beverages: red wine, especially Pinot Noir (rich in resveratrol)
2. Eat More Whole Foods
- Always read food labels. Look for: minimal (and preferably) whole food ingredients.
- Pass on products containing ingredients that look like part of a chemistry experiment.
- Opt for organic, especially with animals products, coffee, teas and the Dirty Dozen.
- Read PLU codes: 4 digits = conventional, 5 digits start with 8 = organic, 5 digits start with 9 = GMO
3. Balance Your Omegas
- Increase your omega-3s with wild salmon/sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, grass-fed meats, and free-range poultry/eggs. Omega-3s increase your body’s inflammation-fighting prostaglandins and increase fat-soluble vitamin absorption to further reduce inflammation.
- Avoid excess omega-6s from grain-fed animal products, grains, and vegetable oils.
- Supplement with pharmaceutical grade fish oil as needed.
4. Increase Your Antioxidant Intake
- Eat a wide variety of colorful vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices.
- Antioxidant allies include: polyphenols (berries, coffee), resveratrol (blueberries, red grapes, red wine), catechins (green tea), glutathione (whey), omega-3s (salmon, sardines, walnuts), curcumin (turmeric) and full spectrum antioxidants (green leafy veggies, cabbage family veg, herbs and spices).
5. Go Crazy For Coconuts
- Unrefined coconut oil, MCT oil, coconut butter, coconut milk, coconut flakes, and shredded coconut.
- Heat stabile for cooking and excellent for fat burning via MCTs.
- Supports immune system via lauric acid and gut health via caprylic acid.
6. Pack in Plant Foods
- Choose greens (such as veg) over grains (such as bread). Vegetables are filled with phytonutrients and fiber that help to stabilize blood sugar levels and fight free radicals.
- Eat more veggies by juicing, enjoying salads, including with snacks and using for wraps/rolls.
- For extra benefits include veggies that are: raw (for enzymes), bitter (to improve digestion), fibrous (to eliminate toxins), and fermented (for probiotics).
7. Cook With Care
- Avoid overcooking and preserve nutrients by choosing gentle cooking methods, such as steaming, sautéing, or using a slow cooker.
- Minimize toxins by using non-toxic cookware and kitchen items.
8. Go Gluten-Free (or Modern Wheat-Free)
- Try a gluten-free elimination diet for 2 weeks.
- Switch from modern, American wheat to traditional heritage, herbicide-free Einkorn wheat.
9. Reduce Anti-Nutrients
- Anti-nutrients, such as lectins (nightshades — tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes), phytates, oxalates, and mycotoxins can lead to mineral deficiencies, inflammation throughout the body (especially the gut), digestive issues, leptin resistance (blocks the “I’m full” signal when eating), food sensitivities and autoimmune disease.
- Choose traditional preparation methods, such as soaking, sprouting, and fermenting foods.
10. Strengthen Gut Health
- Rule out food sensitivities — can create inflammation from even healthy foods.
- Increase prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods in your daily diet.