Painful arthritis. Annoying allergies. Frustration with excess weight. The looming risk of obesity, heart disease, or diabetes. Can you identity with any of these? Millions of Americans are affected with these diseases each year, but few know they all share something in common: they are chronic inflammation of the body. And the biggest culprit of inflammation: The Standard American Diet. Specifically, overconsumption of white flour, sugar and omega-6 fatty acids.
Why white flour and sugar?
Once they hit your blood stream, your body views them all the same and spikes your insulin levels. So while that 100-calorie pack looks like a healthy snack, your body treats it as pure sugar. As a result, your immune system goes on high alert and like a fire alarm going off in a busy office building, chaos occurs. After going through this daily or (gasp!) even multiple times a day, the system breaks down and causes chronic pain and disease.
Why omega-6 fats?
To make food that can sit on a shelf and not spoil, hydrogenated oils were created. Hydrogenated oils are omega-6 fats. To maintain a healthy diet, you need a ratio of more omega-3 than omega-6 fats. But with the increase of processed food, came the decrease of natural, whole foods, and people began consuming a much higher percentage of omega-6 fats than omega-3 fats. The body strives for balance, but once the natural stability is interrupted disease often occurs. So what is an immediate solution to fight off your risk of inflammation?
4 easy action steps to reduce inflammation today:
1. Eat omega-3 fats
Decrease the amount of omega-6 fats (soybean, sunflower and vegetable oils) simply by eating more omega-3s (good fats!). Omega-3 fatty acids are found in chia seeds, fish oil, and flaxseeds. You can enjoy mercury-free fish for dinner, add ground flaxseeds to your salad dressing or make delicious chia seed desserts! An increase of omega-3 fats can boost your heart heath and lower inflammation throughout the body. I like to add chia seeds to my smoothie every morning. It adds a little texture and keeps my belly full and my body energized.
2. Eat a plant-based diet
Incorporate a vegetable, preferably a leafy green, at every meal. The minute you start chewing leafy greens, inflammation immediately begins to decrease.
Throw in a handful of spinach with your eggs in the morning or a few extra stalks of broccoli with dinner. And experiment with new fruits and veggies! Every week or so, try a new food you’ve never had before. Add nopal cactus which normalizes blood sugar, or aloe vera juice to your smoothie. If variety is the spice of life, then bring on the seasoning! As a Health Coach, I work with clients to add fun, exciting foods to their diet so they can live a more healthful, balanced life. The key is to introduce more whole foods and eventually “crowd out” the processed foods. I have a client who never even heard of kale before and now it’s his favorite food!
3. Get moving!
In the words of Beyonce, “A little sweat ain’t never hurt nobody, don’t just stand there on the wall, everybody just move your body.” Find an exercise routine that makes you sweat and schedule it on your calendar 3-4 times a week. One of my Facebook fans highly recommended using an app to motivate and track her workouts. I tried it out and it’s the best thing ever! Find an app, find a friend, find your shoes and get up and MOVE. Your body will thank you!
4. Be joyful
Stress will wear and tear on your body just as fast as eating white flour and sugar. Life can be overwhelming at times, but life is also amazing, fulfilling and invigorating! Remember, what you focus on becomes your reality. So focus on today, this hour, this second. Focus on the good. Focus on the joy. Sit and be still.
Life is a gift! It’s a joyous occasion! And it’s my mission to support you to regain your health, live fully, to live joyfully.