A FitPro’s Take on Inflammation and What To Do About It
Action Steps and Recipe Included!
Inflammation. We hear that word all the time. Inflammation from foods we eat, and inflammation from injury or exercise. Chronic inflammation in the body, according to Dr. Gary Kaplan, the Founder and Doctor of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, can cause or contribute to conditions such as: rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and even cancers. Dr. Kaplan, myself, and other health professionals believe in the benefits of eating an anti-inflammatory diet.
Inflammation has a harsh effect on the body. From foggy brain, to a general lack of energy, inflammation also impacts our bodies ability to heal itself from stresses, both great and small. Stresses like exercise.
Yes, Exercise is a form of specific, intentional stress placed on the body. Without the specific ‘stress’ of exercise and weightlifting programming, the body will not adapt and: grow muscles/get faster/grow stronger/etc. It’s called SAID- Specific adaptation of Imposed Demand and it’s achieved by progressively, and systematically, overloading the body during exercise. Done properly, it creates stronger human, faster humans and more muscles.
To recover from muscle creating, sweat pouring workouts, food plays a role. Like already mentioned, exercise creates micro tears in the muscles and causes inflammation. The body typically repairs said inflammation. But there are some tricks and tools that can be utilized to potentially enhance the body’s ability to recover from inflammation. And here they are:
1. Meals rich in Fruits and Veggies. Ensure you get your daily serving of veggies and fruits. Great veggies are raw, dark, leafy greens such as Kale, Chard, Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts. For Fruits: examples are bananas, and blueberries (also good sources of fiber!)
2. Sleep. Yup. You saw this one coming, didn’t you? Research shows that folks who receive 7-8 hours of sleep a nite recover from stress and inflammation better than those who are sleep deprived. Our bodies heal and restore during sleep and produce growth hormone, another crucial component in muscle growth and regeneration . Make sure you’re getting enough.
3. Fiber! Fiber-rich diets may help reduce inflammation by delivering naturally occurring anti-inflammatory nutrients. Found in: veggies, fruits, whole foods, oat meal, and barley.
4. Anti-Inflammatory herbs: Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, Rosemary, cloves, thyme. My favorite way of incorporating more Turmeric into my diet is via an Almond Milk Chai Tea Latte, with Turmeric. RECIPE: Take 8 ounces of almond milk and whisk it in a sauce pan over low heat until frothy. Add several dashes, or. Teaspoon of Turmeric and a pinch of pepper (to activate and pull out the properties in Turmeric). Once the milk and Turmeric mixture is warmed, plus into a tea cup over your favorite spiced chai tea. Sip and Enjoy!
5. Enjoy eating fish?! Good! Chances are that certain fish contain healthy fats- think cold-water fish.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids: I’ve taken an omega 3-6-9 supplement for a long time. I believe it helps to fight inflammation. On particularly heavy lifting days I take a few extra tablets before bed and combined with restful sleep, I wake up a little less sore. Omega-3’s are also said to be found in salmon, oysters, trout, and sardines.
7. Processed foods and sugar are the devil. That includes high fructose corn syrup, too. These things reportedly contribute to inflammation in the body. Not just that, but I’m sure we can all think of about a dozen other not-great-things that sugar does to our bodies.
8. Manage your stresses. 20 minutes of mindful breathing a day, or a simple 10 minute restorative flow in front of a candle with your favorite cup of chia tea with turmeric sitting near-by!