How to overcome inflammation - 10 useful tips!
The body’s first reaction to injury or infection is inflammation. Acute inflammations are completely normal. Inflammation means temporary discomfort and swelling, because of the influx of immune cells into the area where they’re needed to fight harmful microorganisms and start the healing process.
Acute inflammation resulting from hard training is actually a good thing. This type of immune reaction is absolutely normal and in fact a condition for gaining mass. Intense training causes tiny muscle injuries, which the body heals with the help of nutrients. With regular and progressive physical activity and nutrition of the appropriate quantity and quality, the body “overcompensates”; that is, its muscles will become stronger and bigger. Quite easy so far. What happens if the inflammation becomes chronic, meaning lengthy and lingering?
Chronic inflammation tends to become systemic, which can lead to joint stiffness and general muscle ache. In the worst case, it can cause heart disease or insulin resistance. Most chronic degenerative disorders are also related to some chronic inflammation. Even if we can dodge the most severe consequences, chronic inflammation’s negative effect on (sport) performance is inevitable. The risk of chronic inflammations can be reduced significantly with changes in lifestyle, nutrition and selected dietary supplements.
10 tips to prevent chronic inflammations
1. Have a well-balanced ratio of essential fatty acids! The optimal ratio of the essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3 are about 4-5:1. The problem is that, in Western societies, this ratio is somewhere between 10:1 and 50:1. To begin with, remove (or reduce) the use of oils that are rich in omega-6, such as maize or safflower oil.
2. Your next step should be to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. You can do this by consuming cold-water fish or using omega-3 supplements containing fish oil. Scitec’s Omega 3 formula contains 2000 mg of concentrated fish oil per dose (2 capsules), which provides 470 mg EPA and 330 mg DHA. Of these, it’s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) that has a bigger anti-inflammatory effect.
3. Limit your simple carbohydrate intake! Simple sugars induce enhanced insulin secretion, which – in a certain time period, such as after training – is not a problem, but if it becomes continuous then it can increase the inflammatory process.
4. Get rid of your extra kilos! Given that adipose tissue is where IL-6, TNF-alpha and other pro-inflammatory cytokines feel great and can overproduce. Cytokines are protein-based signalling molecules, produced by immune cells to control certain processes. Pro-inflammatory cytokines are produced when the body needs to fight some pathogen. The problem is that the more fat you have, the more of this material is released (unnecessarily), and inflammation is prolonged.
5. Get a massage! As little as a 10-minute massage can already reduce inflammation in the muscles. Massaging the muscles activates certain biochemical sensors that send out anti-inflammatory signals to the muscle cells.
6. Have more turmeric, ginger and oregano! Turmeric – actually its active substance, curcumin – has an outstanding physiological effect. For example, it has an anti-inflammatory effect, but it also contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system. It’s a strong antioxidant, reduces pain in the joints and helps you to have healthy bones, joints, lungs and an upper respiratory tract. The problem with the powdered turmeric available in grocery stores is that it contains a very small amount of active substance (a few percent). It’s more effective to use a food supplement containing curcumin, which provides the active substance in concentrated form. One such supplement is Scitec’s product called Gold Standard Curcuminoids, which has a 95% curcuminoid content. Absorption of turmeric’s active substance is not the best, and so the formula has been paired with BioPerine® to increase the bioavailability of active substances.
Gold Standard Curcuminoids
7. Avoid trans fats! Trans fats are mainly produced by hydrogenating unsaturated fats (for example, in margarine production), but they are also naturally present in smaller amounts in meat and milk. Trans fats increase “bad” cholesterol levels and lower “good” cholesterol levels. They raise the triglyceride level of the blood and consuming too much of them can lead to systemic inflammations or even exacerbating them. Trans fats can be mostly found in convenience meals, deep-frozen foods, cakes, sweets and fast food. However, as for the latter, the trans fat content varies from country to country. French fries from a McDonald’s in the USA, for instance, contain twice as much trans fats as in Hungary, and 28 times more than in Denmark. The trans fat content of foods depends to a great extent on the regulations in effect in the given country.
8. Limit your alcohol intake! Alcohol may cause inflammation to the intestines and restrict the body’s ability to overcome it.
9. Eat more fruit and vegetables! In this way you can improve the body’s antioxidant status. Antioxidants “fight” free radicals. Growing free radicals may (also) cause inflammation in the body, prolong it or even make it chronic.
10. Use antioxidant supplements, if you don’t have the time to eat food rich in antioxidants (e.g., lots of vegetables). Such supplements are Scitec’s Beta Carotene, C1000+Bioflavonoid, Vitamin E, Vitamin D3 Forte, Selenium and Zinc.
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