Choosing to live healthy is not an inherently difficult choice; we all know that eating unprocessed, fresh foods, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep are the basic building blocks to living well. But while we are aware of these things on a surface level, what small choices can we make on a regular basis to ensure that our bodies are getting everything they need to care for themselves?
Evolution over thousands of years have led to natural defense mechanisms within our systems. One of these is inflammation: the response protocol that our bodies go through to protect us from infection and injury. Normally, we deal with an acute inflammation that lasts a few days in reaction to localized damaged tissue; we have to deal with a little bit of discomfort (like swelling or pain) while our body repairs the damage caused by invading pathogens or broken bones. Sometimes, however, inflammation can last longer. Over a period of weeks and months, our immune systems sometimes malfunction enough that it begins to damage healthy, living tissue-and this is where consuming anti-inflammatories comes in.
What is an Anti-Inflammatory?
Science is beginning to consider that chronic inflammation might be at the source of a number of major illnesses. Linked to diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and poor heart health, the threat of chronic inflammation is one that could severely handicap our lives. And while inflammation is generally triggered by tissue damage in our bodies, it can also be triggered by what we eat; regularly consuming highly processed foods, refined carbs, simple sugars and foods with a high amount of saturated fats may cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which in turn can trigger inflammation. In addition, overconsumption of foods like white bread, candy and processed meat (like sausages) have been linked to a general increase in cases of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The good news, however, is that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods will protect your body and get you farther in the long term than pharmaceutical drugs. These are foods with natural inflammation-fighting properties that have been proven to reduce the damage to your cells, as well as relieve the pain caused by the condition. Nature has provided the solution to our man-made problems; we just need to make the decision to take it.
Turmeric and its Anti-Inflammatory Properties
An anti-inflammatory diet generally consists of fresh fruit, dark green and leafy vegetables, fiber-filled whole grains, and foods with mono- or polyunsaturated-fats. As a general rule, anything that doesn’t come out of plastic packaging is probably good for you. However, you can go further and add certain fresh herbs and spices that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties to really boost your immune system.
One of these superfoods is turmeric, a golden-yellow spice that has been used for thousands of years in cooking and is a key ingredient in ancient Asian medicinal practices like Ayurveda, Siddha and traditional Chinese medicine. The key component of turmeric is Curcumin, which is the active compound responsible for almost all of the spice’s beneficial effects. Curcumin can help lower your risk of heart disease, boost brain function, increase metabolism and has even been shown to have some benefits in the preventing the development of cancerous cells. However, it is perhaps best known for being a bioactive compound that can fight joint inflammation in patients with arthritis. In some cases, curcumin has been shown to be even more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
Keep in mind that adding turmeric to your diet is not as simple as sprinkling into your next meal. Turmeric has a low bio-availability, which means the body finds it difficult to absorb. Nature’s Rare Turmeric Brew sachets are packed with organic Ceylon turmeric harvested from the sustainably-farmed fields of Sri Lanka-with organic black pepper. Since black pepper contains a bioactive compound called piperine, which increases the absorbability of curcumin, drinking this combination makes the turmeric far more potent and readily available to our systems.
In order to maximize the effect of an anti-inflammatory diet, remember to add regular exercise into the rotation. As little as 30 minutes of daily low-impact exercise can provide anti-inflammatory benefits.