With the holiday season quickly approaching, you might be considering how best to prepare yourself for the upcoming festivities. COVID-19 has likely changed many people’s plans, but some things remain consistent throughout the years — and many will probably still indulge in treats, desserts, and indulgent foods regardless of the pandemic.
If you are looking to do a reset on your digestive system as well as overall health, it could be time to look into the benefits of an anti-inflammatory cleanse. A cleanse can not only help your internal health, but also assist you in resetting any unhealthy habits that might have been picked up during months of quarantine. It can improve the appearance of your skin as well, and enable you to do a hard reset before celebrating the new year.
Here are a few of the benefits of doing an anti-inflammatory cleanse, as well as how to go about starting one.
What is an Anti-Inflammatory Cleanse?
In essence, an anti-inflammatory cleanse involves removing all foods from your diet that cause inflammation — many of which are not necessarily thought of as unhealthy. It’s important to understand that some inflammation in the body isn’t a bad thing. Inflammation is a necessary defense mechanism of the body, removing damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens, but this can cause serious problems — including exacerbating existing health conditions — if it turns chronic.
Getting ahead of chronic inflammation can be challenging, but removing certain foods from your diet can go a long way toward improving your overall health. Here are five reasons you should consider detoxing your body of inflammatory foods:
- Reducing inflammation in the body can help you to lose weight.
- Doing so reduces the risk of heart disease.
- You’ll also be working to eliminate the risk of joint damage.
- Doing an anti-inflammatory cleanse can lower your risk of diabetes and improve your body’s ability to process sugar.
- You’ll be improving your body’s response to infections and viruses.
If you’ve decided to embark on an inflammation cleanse, but aren’t sure where to begin, the best first step is to look at your existing diet. That will help you identify some of the main sources of inflammation.
5 Foods That Cause Inflammation
There are a number of foods that can contribute to inflammation in the body. Here are some of the most common culprits.
1. Fried foods
French fries, fried chicken, and other such treats are known to cause chronic inflammation in the body when consumed on a regular basis. Fried foods might be delicious from time to time, but they are best enjoyed on rare occasions and not as a usual part of your weekly diet.
2. Refined carbohydrates
Foods like white bread, pastries, cookies, and others made with refined carbohydrates can contribute to inflammation in the body. Swapping out your favorite white bread for a whole wheat option is a great way to get your bread fix while making a healthier decision.
3. Sweetened drinks
Sodas, added-sugar juices, and energy drinks might give you a quick energy boost, but drinking them on a regular basis has been proven to have negative effects on your health. In addition to increasing your risk for long-term diseases like diabetes, drinking a lot of soda and sugary beverages can cause chronic inflammation.
4. Red meat
Many Americans count on hamburgers, steaks, and hot dogs as part of their regular diet, but eating red meat on a regular basis can cause some health complications and contribute to inflammation. You don’t have to cut out red meat entirely for the rest of your life, but it is best to choose lighter protein options — such as salmon — when doing an anti-inflammatory cleanse.
There isn’t anything wrong with an occasional glass of wine or a cocktail at the end of a long week. However, excess alcohol consumption can cause many health problems.
Consider removing all the above foods from your diet when setting out on an anti-inflammatory cleanse, and you will be well on your way to successfully reducing chronic inflammation in your body.
5 Foods to Fight Inflammation
Just as there are some foods that can cause inflammation, there are those healthier options that should be staples in any detox diet to help reduce it.
1. Olive oil
Rather than cooking with butter or margarine, try adding olive oil to the skillet instead. This low-fat oil is much healthier than other options and has been shown to reduce inflammation.
2. Leafy greens
It is probably no surprise that leafy greens like spinach and kale provide a plethora of health benefits. Add them to your diet to start enjoying increased energy and enhanced vitamin power.
3. Low-sugar fruits
Some fruits, such as watermelon and peaches, are delicious but still have a lot of sugar. There is a way to enjoy fresh fruit while sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet, though: Pick up a carton of blueberries or strawberries during your next grocery run and add antioxidants to your diet.
4. Nuts, seeds, and spices
A tasty snack that offers surprising health benefits, nuts such as almonds and walnuts are not only delicious but also help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, some spices can help in reducing inflammation, proving they do much more than just flavor our food. Turmeric is one of the most popular, but experiment with your favorite herbs and spices to discover delicious flavor combinations.
5. Lean protein
Everyone needs protein in their diet, but some sources of protein are healthier than others. For protein with anti-inflammatory benefits, choose salmon, mackerel, or ground turkey.
Your meal plan is made and your course is set. Here is the process for following an anti-inflammatory cleanse.
How to Do an Anti-Inflammatory Cleanse
Once you have equipped yourself with the knowledge of what food groups to choose, you will need to set a timeframe for your cleanse. Here are some tips:
- You can set almost any time frame for an anti-inflammatory detox that lasts from two weeks to a month or more.
- Once you have established a timeframe, make a meal plan for each week.
- Set yourself up for success by always keeping a refrigerator that is full of healthy staples that provide you with options for snacking.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water during your cleanse, occasionally enhancing the flavor of your water by adding fresh lemon.
- Not only does lemon water provide you with extra Vitamin C, but it has been proven to aid in healthy fasting.
- Kickstart the benefits of your cleanse by getting active.
- Exercise will help to moderate your blood sugar levels, regardless of whether you choose weightlifting or steady-state cardio.
All of these steps will help to reduce inflammation in your body and set you up for a healthier future. If you have any questions about anti-inflammatory habits and how to overhaul your lifestyle, contact Dr. Karen Threlkel today.