Inflammation appears to be the root cause of all lifestyle disease including heart disease.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect itself against an illness or infection. When you have an infection or injury, your body sends its soldiers (WBC’s) to get rid of harmful intruders and repairs damaged cells. However, long term exposure to unwanted substances in the body, such as toxins from the environment, cigarette smoke or an excess of fat tissue, particularly around the belly (visceral fat) can lead to chronic inflammation. As inflammation progresses, it begins to damage your arteries and organs, and when left unchecked, it can contribute to heart disease, blood vessel damage, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.
Inflammation and Heart Disease
When you develop an infection or have a wound, inflammation helps fight off germs and assists in healing, so some amount of inflammation is good for the body. However, long term inflammation may irritate your blood vessels and promote growth of plaques, and trigger blood clots. When these clots block an artery to the heart, it leads to a heart attack and when it blocks an artery to the brain – It leads to a stroke. Buildup of cholesterol and other substances in your arteries called plaques can set off an inflammatory response. For short-terms conditions, inflammation is helpful, but sustained low levels of inflammation can cause problems. These clots are the primary cause of most heart attacks and strokes.
So How can you reduce inflammation.
The good news is that you can control and even reverse inflammation by following a healthy, anti-inflammatory lifestyle. And, these same lifestyle choices decrease bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduce high blood sugar, too.
- Haldi juice : Cut and clean 3 inches of fresh haldi and blend it in a mixer with 100ml of water. Strain, add black pepper, salt (to taste) and some lime juice. Enjoy this juice every morning after breakfast. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet : Your food choices are just as important as the medications against inflammation. Eat more fruits and vegetables and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, walnuts, and flax seeds, and chia seeds. Some of the other anti-inflammatory foods to consume are garlic, tea, grapes, pomegranate and some spices (turmeric, ginger).
- Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods: Reduce consumption of red meat and anything with trans fats, deep fried foods, too many grains and most processed and fast food.
- Increase physical activity: Exercise and moderate workout, such as brisk walking for as little as 30 minutes a day is effective and can help to decrease inflammation. However, too much exercise or over exercising may increase inflammation and those with a genetic predisposition.
- Maintain your ideal weight: Excess belly fat, called the visceral fat is a red flag for heart disease risk, as it secretes cytokines that causes inflammation.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking promotes atherosclerosis by damaging your blood vessels. Therefore, quit smoking to cut you heart disease risk by half.
- Manage stress: Chronic stress contributes to inflammation, therefore, manage stress using meditation and yoga.
Reducing inflammation can prevent heart attack and strokes. Making healthy lifestyle choices is the best way to reduce inflammation.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centers in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune -manages obesity & other health related disorders.
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