Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Anna Glennon is on a mission to help women reduce symptoms of inflammation through diet and lifestyle changes. She is also a new mom, a health advocate and a teacher. She has a private coaching business called TeachEatRepeat.

What is inflammation? Inflammation is a new concept for medicine, but it is being linked to all chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even some forms of cancer. We tend to treat the symptoms (take a painkiller for our joint pain, or an antacid medication for our stomach troubles) but this approach doesn’t get to the most frequent CAUSE of those things: inflammation.

Inflammation is a new concept for medicine, but it is being linked to all chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even some forms of cancer

Instead of taking yet another medication to reduce an inflamed part of the body, changing some diet and lifestyle habits may help you reduce inflammation in the first place.

Here are the top 5 things that may be contributing to your inflammation:

EATING TOO MUCH SUGAR

Sugar is confusing, because we need some and are evolved to seek it out. It signals something that’s safe, and nutrient dense to your body, so once you start eating sugar, it can be hard to stop.

The trouble doesn’t come from things like yams or fruits; added sugar is the kind that can be damaging for your body

The trouble doesn’t come from things like yams or fruits; added sugar is the kind that can be damaging for your body. Things like your favourite desserts or snacks may contain lots of added sugar. If you’re a soda drinker, that can be a major culprit as well. Try drinking your coffee or tea without sugar and have a fruit for dessert instead.

EATING LOTS OF REFINED CARBOHYDRATES/PROCESSED FOODS

Some common food items like cereals, breads, rolls and chips consist of lots of refined carbohydrates, and lack and real nutrients. They are also high-glycemic foods which means they can raise your blood sugar, and fuel inflammation. Add healthy carbohydrates to your diet like yams, rice, and lentils.

Cereals, breads, rolls and chips are high-glycemic foods which means they can raise your blood sugar, and fuel inflammation

TRANS FATS AND NON-NATURAL SATURATED FATS

You find these in packaged snacks like cookies or chips, fast food, fried food, and in cooking oils like vegetable oils. Trans fats are particularly damaging if you’re already a little bit overweight. They cause you to hang on to more fat, and increase inflammatory markers.  Try baking or grilling foods instead of frying, and stay away from those fast food joints.

Trans fats (found in cookies, chips, fast food, fried food and vegetable oils) are particularly damaging if you’re already a little bit overweight

TOO MUCH PLASTIC IN YOUR HOME

There are chemicals like BPA in plastics all over our homes and everywhere in our daily lives. They can impact your hormone function within your body, which can cause further inflammation. Reduce the amount of plastic in your home by getting metal or glass food containers, water bottles, and looking for safer alternatives to your personal care products.

Reduce the amount of plastic in your home by getting metal or glass food containers and water bottles

NOT SLEEPING ENOUGH

Sleep is our body’s time to repair itself, so if you are only sleeping 4-6 hours a night, your body doesn’t get to fully regenerate and fight inflammation. Try implementing a bedtime routine every night around the same time. Maybe you make a cup of tea and read in a darkened space. This will help train your body and mind to get ready for bed at the same time every night.

If you are only sleeping 4-6 hours a night, your body doesn’t get to fully regenerate and fight inflammation

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