Inflammation is sneaky! And your daily habits can actually feed the flame in inflammation. Fortunately, nutrition and lifestyle changes can help, and so can dietary supplements. Here are some of the most essential nutrients for better health.
Chronic stress, non-restorative sleep habits and a poor diet can contribute. A “poor” diet is a diet low in antioxidants and nutrients while high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, processed carbohydrates and chemicals. Eating this way can cause imbalances in your metabolism, create insulin resistance, blood sugar regulatory problems, sex hormone imbalances, altered brain chemicals and even immune system disruption.
Here are some ways inflammation shows up in the body.
- Dysbiosis: This is an imbalance in your normal gut flora which can lead to poor nutrient absorption, estrogen and hormone imbalances, a weakened immune system and weight gain.
- Oxidative stress: Oxidative stress occurs when chemicals, called free radicals, are formed in the body due in part to diet, activity level, exposure to environmental toxins (ladies, make-up has toxins) or from smoking cigarettes, excess body weight, lack of sleep and other lifestyle habits.
- Chronic Stress: With chronic stress, you have increased cortisol and catecholamine levels in the body which can impair carbohydrate metabolism, leading to increased inflammation, weight gain, insulin resistance, and even type 2 diabetes. Stress management and adequate sleep may have the most significant impact on your cravings when you are trying to make changes to your food choices.
A wellness program, using dietary supplements along with nutrition and lifestyle changes, can significantly decrease your risk of inflammation and the symptoms associated with it, including dreaded weight gain. Always look at your plate and what you are ingesting and don’t just rely on supplements. Remember, food selection should be viewed as a lifestyle choice to promote health and not a “diet” of quick fixes and deprivation. Learning to choose foods that taste great, promote health and are good for your metabolism is important. To quote Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Find a good multivitamin. Look for one that contains both vitamins and minerals, especially if you are still having trouble eating your vegetables. The more expensive ones have a combination of key ingredients which allows you to take fewer pills and purchase fewer products.
Low levels of vitamin D are common and are associated with insulin resistance, bone loss, hormonal imbalances, depression, decreased cognitive dysfunction, chronic pain and inflammation. In postmenopausal women, a low level of vitamin D is associated with an increase in joint pain and osteoporosis. An optimal vitamin D3 level is between 60-80 ng/ml.
Decreased levels of this mineral increases your risk for metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Hard to believe, but nearly 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this mineral. Magnesium promotes restful, restorative sleep which is vital for improved health and weight loss. Additionally, in a cross-sectional study involving 210 older individuals, optimal magnesium intake was associated with a positive mood, lipid (fat) metabolism, and lean body mass. Magnesium is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and fats, as well as energy production and the utilization of calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium. Gas, bloating or diarrhea may occur in some individuals and is dose-dependent. If this happens reduce the amount and the symptoms should stop.
It’s an antioxidant, which means vitamin C is a substance that inhibits oxidation and thus free radical production. It’s described above how oxidative stress in the body causes free radicals that can lead to disease by possibly damaging cells. Therefore, vitamin C is essential for your immune system and for fat breakdown.
Omega-3 fatty acids
This has many health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease your body’s production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. EPA and DHA are two omega-3 fatty acids that support the body’s cardiovascular system, maintain muscle and joint health and promote healthy brain function as well.
Probiotics help populate your gut with beneficial bacteria and support and improve your metabolism by promoting a balanced microflora of good bacteria, further contributing to decrease inflammation and improve your immune system.