You may not know that your organs are being damaged by chronic inflammation. See how to protect yourself for long-term health.
No, it’s not that swollen knee or red, sore gums. Chronic inflammation is slow and silent. You can’t feel it. You can’t even see it. And it can go undetected for years.
Our body sends out white blood cells to fight infection. But sometimes our immune system gets it wrong, and it sends out fighter cells needlessly. And if there’s nothing for them to fight, they damage healthy cells and organs. This process is chronic inflammation. It can be caused by stress, lack of sleep and being overweight. Evidence shows that it can lead to heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.
Include these foods to protect your body against damage caused by inflammation.
1. Eat oily fish twice a week
Oily fish such as sardines, salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation. Alternatively, you could take a fish oil capsule of 1000mg each day. Walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds (linseeds) are also high in omega 3s.
2. Be liberal with turmeric
This yellow powdery spice contains a useful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Turmeric also appears to slow brain decline and help control blood sugar. Add a dash to curries or scrambled eggs in place of salt for extra flavour.
3. Up the anthocyanins
Add blue and red foods such as beetroot, cherries and berries to your meals. Their dark colour comes from anthocyanins, a natural pain killer. Anthocyanins work by blocking inflammation and inhibiting pain-causing enzymes. They also have strong antioxidant properties.
4. Go for low-GI carbs
Inconsistent blood sugar levels can trigger inflammation. So opt for grainy bread, skip sugary snacks and eat meals containing lentils, chickpeas and other legumes to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
5. Love garlic and onions
Use more aromatic garlic and onions. They are a good source of quercetin, which reduces inflammation. Other sources of quercetin are tea and apples.