(NaturalNews) When most people hear the word "inflammation" they think of the swelling and redness that accompanies an injury such as a sprained ankle. However, inflammation can also be systemic and caused not by injury but by lack of exercise and a poor diet. Systemic inflammation increases the risk of cancer, hypertension, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and many other health conditions. In fact, many anti-aging experts believe that inflammation is the greatest cause of premature aging, so preventing it is also vital for looking young. Increasing exercise is one key to decreasing systemic inflammation, and the other key is to consume a diet that does not promote inflammation.
Most Americans do not get the recommended thirty minutes of daily exercise. Sedentary jobs, TV, and computer time account for a large portion of inactivity. Including daily exercise to decrease systemic inflammation can be as simple as taking a walk, gardening, or even doing housework. Including just a small amount of activity in your life will positively affect weight, the cardiovascular system, and decrease inflammation.
Diet is just as, if not more, important than exercise when working to decrease inflammation. The typical American diet is pro-inflammatory. Sugar, refined flour, and trans fats make up a large percentage of many diets. As a result people are eating foods low in nutrients but high in calories and fat. The result is a chronic state of inflammation. Examples of foods that promote inflammation are refined grains, candy, soda, sugary cereals, processed meats, and high fat meats.
An anti-inflammatory diet is one that is low in processed foods and high in fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, sprouts, nuts and super foods. Stick to the outside edges of the grocery store where the whole, unprocessed foods tend to be when shopping. Examples of foods that are anti-inflammatory are salmon, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Super foods are becoming increasingly popular because of the powerful benefits they offer us. In addition to providing nutrients and balancing the body, they are generally highly anti-inflammatory foods. Maca, spirulina, purple corn, wheatgrass, coconut butter and raw chocolate are a few of the health promoting super foods that are gaining international interest.
In addition to exercise and diet, supplements can help to reduce inflammation. Including a multivitamin and fish oil daily helps to decrease inflammation and the production of free radicals which are damaging to the body. Probiotics are also a good choice because they act as an anti-inflammatory in the gut by introducing good, necessary bacteria.
Making these changes in your life can be overwhelming. Introducing one change at a time will increase the likelihood that you will maintain your new healthy lifestyle.
Sheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner. Her website www.younglivingguide.com provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.