WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
When your body activates your immune system, it sends out inflammatory cells. These cells attack bacteria or heal damaged tissue. You may have chronic low-grade inflammation if your body sends out inflammatory cells even when you are not sick or injured. Some of the subtle symptoms of chronic inflammation are:
-unexplainable muscle weakness and body pain
-changes in sugar level
-regular nasal congestion
-a weak digestive system
Headaches and morning stiffness could also be the result of a stressed/inflamed system. Internal inflammation can affect all your organs including the cardiovascular system, nervous system and hormones. It can underlie many conditions like Psoriasis, Alzheimer’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and heart diseases.
While you may not connect feeling out-of-sorts to inflammation in the body, it is important to observe and tackle it before it becomes chronic. We are talking about the inflammation that happens at a cellular level and not acute inflammation that happens due to an injury.
We have compiled 5 science backed ways that will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to tackling inflammation.
1. Eat anti-inflammatory foods like leafy vegetables, berries and spices. Stick to whole grains like oatmeal and unpolished rice. Adding Omega-3 heavy foods like chia seeds, walnuts and fish can also be helpful. Common foods to avoid include processed carbs like maida, sugar, deep fried and processed foods.
ACTION POINT: A simple Indian meal of dal-palak with heirloom unprocessed rice, probiotic yoghurts and salad is a good example.
2. Maintain good gut health by eating a variety of food and including prebiotic and probiotic in your meal plan. A healthy microbiome - that is, good bacteria in the gut is directly linked to overall inflammation.
ACTION POINT: Kombucha, Kefir or the good old Congee and home made water fermented vegetables can be added to your daily meals. Supplements are another viable choice.
3. You know your body best. Observe how certain foods make you feel. Food sensitivities are different for each individual. Pay attention to which foods give you energy as opposed to the foods that make you feel poorly, like bloated, low on energy and such like. If you have an inkling of how certain foods may not be working for you but are unsure, you could also opt for food sensitivity tests.
ACTION POINT: Portion control and a 10 minute walk post meal can also help.
4. Stress causes inflammation and mild movements of any sorts like walk, breathing exercises and yoga, if done consistently, will keep inflammation at bay. Cortisol - the stress hormone is known to come down with such light activities.
ACTION POINT: Begin with stepping out in your balcony at daylight and engaging in deep breathing for a few minutes.
5. Sleep atleast 7 hours to avoid an increase in inflammation. Several studies confirm the relation between sleep deprivation and inflammation.
ACTION POINT: Low lighting post sunset and devices to be shut an hour prior to bedtime are known to help.
If the symptoms are out of control and don’t give way even after consistent efforts over a period of time, a simple test called CRP can be conducted. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation, including arterial inflammation. Those who are middle-aged, have a family history of heart diseases and existing blood-pressure cholesterol symptoms can combine a CRP with a lipid profile to get a complete picture. Orange Health also has a stress test package that you can opt for.