Health is not valued until sickness comes (by Thomas Fuller)
Did you know that most illnesses are preventable? I agree that you cannot control everything, but you can make choices to lead a better quality of life. Even small choices can have a big impact. Often poor choices are excuses – such as eating comfort food because you had a bad day. Recognising your choices is a good first step.
EMPOWER YOURSELF FOR BETTER HEALTH!
What can you do?
Over the next couple of newsletters, I am going to give you tips on how to improve your life and make sure that you either stay healthy or start feeling great again! Today’s topic is inflammation.
Inflammation is a natural process which the body goes through when injured or ill. While acute inflammation is very important to fight off bacteria for instance, chronic inflammation contributes to disease – research suggests that it is potential the root cause of many diseases including autoimmune disease, depression, heart problems and diabetes to name a few.
Also, if you reduce inflammation you might look younger longer - chronic low-grade systemic inflammation is a common manifestation of aging.
Here are some suggestions for you to decrease inflammation:
1. Brush and floss your teeth regularly
Studies showed that poor oral hygiene is linked to low-grade inflammation and cardiovascular disease.
2. Exercise Right
Regular exercise has got an anti-inflammatory effect. However excessive exercise or over-exertion can create oxidative stress (which goes hand-in-hand with inflammation), so choose the right exercise for you.
3. Tap Into The Power of Food
Avoid processed foods, which is often full of sugar, trans-fats and unhealthy preservatives/additives.
Cook your own food – there are plenty of good, easy recipes out there, which you can prepare in advance and freeze, if you don’t have much time at night.
Eat a lot of vegetables and fruit – fill half of your dinner plate with vegetables. Its phytonutrients are rich in properties that reduce inflammation.
You don’t have to eat perfect – follow the 80% / 20% rule. 80% Healthy choices (vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seafood) and 20% not so healthy ones (a glass of wine or chocolate). You will find that the better you eat, the less you will crave unhealthy foods, because you will FEEL THE DIFFERENCE!
4. Reduce Your Stress
We all experience stress at some stage and our body is equipped to deal with it. Long-term stress however places a huge burden on our body and inflammation ensues. If you cannot change the stressful situation, find techniques that will help you to deal with it – deep breathing, yoga, walks and meditation help me to relax.
Do you want to know how stress affects you? Watch this clip.
5. Increase your Omega 3’s
Generally, the Western diets are high in Omega 6 fatty (pro inflammation) and low in Omega 3 fatty acids (anti inflammation).
Include foods high in Omega 3’s:
Weekly: fish high in oils such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, trout, herring and sardines
Daily: Nuts, seeds (flax, hemp, sunflower) or avocados.
If you struggle to eat plenty of Omega 3 foods, talk to your health professional about a good quality cod liver oil or fish oil – there is a lot of research out there that suggesting that these oils assist and prevent many diseases.
Cod Liver oil is an excellent source of not just omega 3 fatty acids but also natural forms of Vitamin A and D.
I always recommend talking to your naturopath/nutritionist before you take any supplements. Even though fish oil is relatively safe, it can interfere with other medication. You are more likely to get a good quality supplement from a practitioner, which is tested for heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs and other contaminants. Some of the ones you get in shops can be rancid, do not have the right potency and are from unsustainable fishing practices.
6. Have Regular Check-Ups
Health screenings can save your life – they are designed to catch problems early for more successful treatments. I don’t suggest that you run to your health practitioner all the time, but it is a good idea to check your blood, blood pressure etc. once a year. A blood test will also show if you have high inflammation. I also carry out other clinical examinations such as nail, tongue, iris which – together with my questioning - give me an indication if something is not right.