Inside Out

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Inflammation: Dousing The Fire Within

If you have ever suffered from a sore throat or had a sprained ankle, then you know the meaning of inflammation; a term used when your body becomes infected or traumatized.

The discomfort felt from a scratchy throat or swollen ankle is the body’s natural defenses (or immune system) responding. This type of inflammation is absolutely normal. However, when the body becomes unbalanced—due to a poor diet, lack of exercise, or stress—the immune system goes into overdrive, which can result in a slew of maladies from allergies and depression to skin rashes and rheumatoid arthritis. And when left unchecked, inflammation can lead to chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity and depression. Not good.

Popping ibuprofen and other over-the-counter or prescription pain medications serves to temporarily quell the inflammation. But that’s not the answer for long-term relief, especially since those quick-fix solutions—when taken in excess—can present additional problems. Instead, getting to the source of the inflammation so it can be eradicated once and for all should be the goal.

To start living an inflammation-free life, try … Eating a high fiber, plant-based diet; Switching to “healthy fats” by including avocados, sardines, wild salmon and olive oil in your recipes; Vowing to walk, swim, bike or whatever exercise you enjoy to strengthen your cardiovascular and immune systems; Taking a probiotic to help increase the good bacteria in your digestive system; Spending quality time relaxing and enjoying life through meditation, yoga, massage, reading and doing things to ease stress.

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