It’s time for you to kick your inflammation to the curb.
Inflammation is your body’s response to some sort of attack, insult, or injury. When you stub your toe and it swells up, it’s your body’s response to the insult. It’s an immune response to control and fix the damage that has been done to you, fighting back per se. This is known as acute inflammation, and it’s what everyone deals with on a regular basis.
This type of regulated inflammation is healthy – our bodies need it and use it as a defense against wounds and foreign bodies.
However, chronic inflammation can be damaging to you and your body. It leads to long-term health issues and puts you on a slippery-slope to heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
Chronic inflammation damages your organs, soft tissues, and brain. This can lead to memory loss, reduced cognitive function, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological issues. Inflammation is linked to diabetes and obesity, and it makes losing weight close to impossible because it interferes with the body’s ability to burn fat. Furthermore, it accelerates aging and it’s even been linked to cancer.
Good vs. Bad
Carbohydrates are a huge cause of inflammation.
Omega-6 fatty acids are another prevalent cause coming from your diet. Unlike Omega-3s, which are anti-inflammatory goodness, Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory.
Q: How do you fight it?
A: You need to eat more Omega-3s, while also eating less Omega-6s. The ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 is what matters.
Q: What is the ideal Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio?
A: 1:1 – However, because this is close to impossible, science has decided that even a ratio of 4:1 is a healthy, good goal.
Here’s a crazy fact – research has shown that the standard American consumes 16 times more Omega-6s than Omega-3s. A ratio of 16:1 gives your body sixteen times the inflammatory acids and one anti-inflammatory counter.
Q: Where do we get all these Omega-6s from then?!
A: You get them from meats that has been raised conventionally. They eat pesticide-soaked grain and are injected with hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals that make their fat toxic to humans. Vegetable oils (corn, soybean, canola) are processed and refined and damaged fats. Trans-fats are anything that says hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated. Trans-fats are also found in fast food, fried foods, and many packaged foods in the grocery store because they were created to lengthen food’s shelf life.
How Do I Reduce Inflammation?
1. Reducing your carbohydrate intake. Ahhh, your body and its puffy, water-retaining self will thank you!
2. Making the switch to all grass-fed meat and dairy products. The amount of inflammatory Omega-6s is drastically higher in conventionally raised cows than in grass-fed/pasture-raised cows.
3. Reducing your Omega-6 intake. Start by getting rid of the garbage oils, and all the snacks that contain them.
4. Increasing your Omega-3 intake. Ideally by increasing your consumption of fish, but taking a fish-oil supplement can help, and seeds and nuts are good sources of omega-3s, with the best being freshly ground flax seeds and walnuts.