Inflammation is a natural process that occurs in your body as a response to damaged cells, invading pathogens, irritating chemicals, and other negative factors. It is a normal part of your immune system’s reaction to these stimuli. However, when inflammation occurs chronically, that is for long periods of time, it can do significant damage to your body.
In fact, modern medicine is just beginning to understand that this bad type of inflammation is at the root of many diseases. By eating more of certain foods, many of which are perfect in smoothie recipes, and avoiding bad foods, you can lower your overall inflammation and reduce your risk of developing some of these diseases. Try my delicious anti-inflammatory smoothie shake and see for yourself.
What is Inflammation and why is it Bad?Inflammation is a normal part of your immune system’s response to infection, disease, injuries, pathogens, and irritants. For instance, if you scrape your knee, the skin around that area gets red, warm, and a little puffy. This is acute inflammation and is a healthy response to the damage you suffered. When the flu virus infects you, a fever is another sign of the acute inflammation caused by the infection and your immune response. Blood and immune cells race to the sites of trauma or infection and begin to work healing you, causing redness, pain, heat, and other symptoms.
Acute inflammation is not only normal, it is necessary. Without it you would not be able to heal from infections, injuries, and other bad illnesses and traumas. Inflammation only becomes a problem when it occurs over a long period of time. This is called chronic inflammation and it is this form of the immune response that causes harm and damage to your body.
Over time, chronic inflammation can cause heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and other devastating illnesses. Several factors can lead to chronic inflammation, including your personal genetics, a lack of exercise, stress, and exposure to toxins. But, one of the most important causes is diet. Many of the foods common in most American diets cause chronic inflammation and resulting illnesses.
Foods that Cause Chronic InflammationAlthough times are changing and people are getting wise to nutrition and health, the typical American diet is still packed with inflammatory foods. Trans fats, which are common in processed foods, sugar, and alcohol all cause inflammation. Fats from factory farmed animal sources are another important culprit. This includes dairy and meat.
Most of us also consume an inappropriate ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Many vegetable oils are responsible for the imbalance, as they are high in omega-6, but not omega-3 fats. To rebalance, you do not necessarily need to cut out vegetable oils, but you should add many more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Smoothie Ingredients that Reduce InflammationTo reduce your overall amount of chronic inflammation, it is important to eliminate, or at least limit, the foods that cause it, and increase foods that inhibit inflammation. You can do this by using your smoothies as vehicles for anti-inflammatory foods. Here are some that go particularly well in many smoothie recipes.
Anti-inflammatory Turmeric Shake (serves 2)
Simply put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smoothie. I like to add a handful of ice cubes at whizz again.
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!