Did you know that inflammation is a major cause of disease today? Inflammation of the arteries causes heart disease. Inflammation in the joints causes arthritis. Inflammation of the colon causes ulcerative colitis. Needless to say, inflammation in the body is a serious threat to your health.
Chronic inflammation occurs when our body’s normal inflammatory process doesn’t turn off. When left unchecked like this, the immune system turns from friend to foe and begins to attack otherwise healthy tissues, setting the stage for chronic diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis or even obesity.
As with anything related to the immune system, looking to the gut, and the role of our microbiome is a pretty good place to start. Because the microbiome has such a vital role in our immune system, there is a good reason to believe the gut could play a role in reducing chronic inflammation and limiting the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Recent research has pointed to a loss of microbiota diversity, specifically as we age, as a potential contributor to chronic inflammation. Age-related changes to the gut microbiome are believed to be in response to antibiotic use, consumption of a ‘western diet’ (high fat, high sugar), and declines in nutrient intake, all of which can contribute to a loss of beneficial gut bacteria, and in turn the chronic activation of the immune system.
Now that you can see why it’s critical to lower inflammation and support gut health, let’s take a look at how you can go about this.
By addressing inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods and using food as medicine, not only can the symptoms of these diseases be alleviated, but the foods can actually help reduce the diseases themselves.
Anti-inflammatory foods that should be the base of your diet include:
- Fresh vegetables: loaded with phytonutrients that are shown to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Aim for variety and a minimum of four to five servings per day. Some of the best include beetroot, carrots, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale), dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach), onions, peas, salad greens and squashes.
- Whole pieces of fruit (not juice): fruit contains various antioxidants like resveratrol and flavonoids, which are tied to cancer prevention and brain health. Three to four servings per day is a good amount for most people, especially apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, nectarines, oranges, pears, pink grapefruit, plums, pomegranates, red grapefruit or strawberries.
- Herbs, spices and teas: turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme plus green tea and organic coffee in moderation.
- Wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs and grass-fed/pasture-raised meat: higher in omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised foods and great sources of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like zinc, selenium and B vitamins.
- Healthy fats: butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts/seeds.
- Grains and legumes/beans: two to three servings per day or less is best, especially mung beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, black rice, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa.
Additionally, probiotic bacteria are an essential ally in keeping our intestinal flora balanced. Probiotic bacteria are naturally found in certain fermented foods or can be taken as a supplement. A probiotic should be chosen based on the strains used and the state of the bacteria consumed (alive or “hibernating” freeze-dried).
The strains of probiotic bacteria used in Naked Biotics work in synergy with each other and with the bacteria already present in our digestive tract. Naked Biotics combine the benefits of a probiotic with those of fermented food, restoring balance to the microbiota. When combined with a diet rich in fibre and low in saturated fat, the results are even more astonishing when it comes to preventing chronic inflammation or even maintaining or restoring overall health.
The human microbiome is home to more than just bacteria. It also houses various human cells, viral strains, yeasts and fungi — but bacteria seem to be the most important when it comes to controlling immune function and inflammation.
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