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Inflammation: Causes and Prevention

Inflammation. You may have heard about it from ads on TV, have a friend who has had it, or even been diagnosed with it yourself. But what really is inflammation? And what can we do to prevent it?

On a survival level, inflammation really is a good thing. It is your body's natural reaction to try and protect itself against infection, foreign invaders, etc. However, often times the immune system triggers this inflammatory response when there are no invaders present. Some common examples of this would be arthritis and tendonitis (and ailment ending in -itis is regarding inflammation). The joints and tendons often become swollen, stiff, and visibly red.

When inflammation is not serving its biological purpose, it can be the root of many diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

The sneaky thing about inflammation is that it can be caused in many different ways. From diet to exercise to your mental health, inflammation can come at you from a lot of directions.

Causes of inflammation:

Diet

There are many foods that are evidenced to cause inflammation in the body. Some of these foods include sugar, fried foods, refined grains, and artificial additives. Try to avoid these foods as much as possible.

Exercise

While exercise is very beneficial to your health, it can be harmful if you don’t know how to recover safely. For example, if you are new to running, you may develop some inflammation in your knees or hips. Ease yourself into new exercises by slowly adding distance and intensity and properly stretching. Wearing supportive shoes can also be helpful.

Stress

High stress levels is a commonly ignored cause of inflammation. Studies have found that chronic stress levels can actually change the gene expression of your immune cells- leading to an increase in inflammation.

Luckily, there are just as many ways to prevent inflammation as there are causes! If you listen to your body and take care of yourself, you can significantly minimize your chances of developing inflammation.

Preventing Inflammation

Diet

One of the strongest fighters of inflammation is a steady anti-inflammatory diet. Some foods to regularly include in your diet are berries, leafy greens, salmon, olive oil, and turmeric. Turmeric has been in the spotlight lately for its amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Some easy ways to increase your turmeric consumption would be to mix some in with your tea or adding it to some scrambled eggs.

Icing after exercise

In addition to properly nourishing yourself, icing your joints and muscles that you dominantly exercise regularly can make a world of difference in preventing inflammation.

Epsom salt baths

Adding some Epsom salts to your bath can draw out toxins and reduce inflammation.

With these tips you should have all you need to protect yourself against inflammation and injury. Don't let inflammation hold you back!

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