Your body is a fine-tuned machine that is constantly repairing the damages caused by the environment in which it lives. Your cells turn your experience into biology.
One of the key processes of your body is inflammation. This process has become one of the most vilified biological processes and its reputation is not entirely misguided. Inflammation is part of the natural, biological healing process. Exercising is in itself is actually very destructive at first in the process; breaking down muscle to then get rebuilt bigger or stronger. You may know the feeling of soreness a few days after a workout that makes you proud and reassures you of a good workout. This soreness is in fact inflammation that helps repair the muscle fibres caused by exercising. This is good news because if you don’t generate some form of inflammatory response during exercise, you probably haven’t gone hard enough. This is the good kind of inflammation that only sticks around until its job is done and the tissue is healed. Still, the inflammation from working out also produces free radicals - the same kind you hear about entering your body from environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke, and even medications.
Exercise: The good and the bad kind of inflammation.
Despite the fact that hitting the gym hard can initiate inflammation in order to heal your damaged muscle fibres, exercise actually activates anti-inflammatory molecules as well, so staying healthy is one of the best ways to reduce it overall. A large amount of this responsibility falls on ‘cytokines’ - substances secreted by your immune cells that directly affect other cells.
Meet the IL6 gene :
In particular, one cytokine called interleukin 6 (IL-6) plays a big role. We are all different when it comes to how IL6 gene expresses within somebody where some of us would be more prone to chronic inflammation than others. People with a high impact of this gene must include anti-inflammatory foods in their diet when training hard.
The bad type of inflammation.
When the inflammation does not turn off, it is called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to all sorts of long term disease development. Chronic inflammation is the result of excess free radicals in your body which can cause oxidative damage to your cell membranes and DNA. Most of the time you don’t have to worry about this because a healthy body has several ways to protect itself from this harm. However, if your diet isn’t the healthy type, you may add even more stress to your body, amplifying the inflammation response.
What not to eat :
Added sugars and refined flour will initiate inflammation in pretty much everyone. Any processed food has been associated to create an inflammation response. Furthermore, food intolerances, the most common being, lactose, sodium and PUFA metabolism (polyunsaturated fatty acid) are also linked with igniting chronic inflammation. Genes such as MCM6 for lactose intolerance, ACE/AGT gene for sodium intolerance and FADS1 for PUFA metabolism, depending on their variation, will indicate whether you are intolerant or not. Many people take their bloating and slump during the day for granted, when it may be the symptom of a food sensitivity. In the UK, there is an estimated 70% lactose intolerance. However, less than half of these people know about it and carry on with their daily morning latte. Even switching to a simple alternative like almond milk could make their day much more enjoyable.
What to eat to control your inflammation?
There are certain foods that reduce inflammation by interrupting it at the cellular level. For instance, eating whole grains every day, the inclusion of fruits, roots like ginger, vegetables, spices like turmeric as well as lean proteins low in saturated fat is recommended to help your body cope and prevent chronic inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish and seafood, also lower inflammatory markers. In general, a more plant-based plate helps to lower inflammation since more meat has been linked to increased inflammation.
With more than 1,600+ articles evaluating the medicinal benefits of bromelain found in pineapples, it deserves a shot! Bromelain is literally true medicine! It is thought to have many health benefits including aiding digestion, treating dermatological disorders, and being anti-carcinogenic but also one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents. If you are training hard, bromelain can also help soothe and relaxes tense, inflamed muscles and connective tissue. The healing power of this enzyme is truly remarkable. You can juice it up with pineapple post-training, it will help for your recovery!
Increasing your antioxidant intake will also provide added protection for the body against damage. While we can't stop free radical production, antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins C, D and E work to protect membranes and can hedge against them. Artichokes have a really high antioxidant content. Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent antioxidants such as polyphenols. Pomegranate also contains punicalagins that are extremely powerful antioxidants
Reduce inflammation the holistic way
In the traditional Hindu system of medicine Ayuveridc, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing. One recipe ‘Golden milk’ is particularly efficient and has been proven to lower inflammation and prevent chronic inflammation, largely thanks to curcumin found in turmeric.
Is your recovery strategy taking inflammation and oxidative stress into account?
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