Once your body becomes overstressed, you are exhausted, and the last thing you want to do before closing out a stressful day is cook a delicious, wholesome meal. It is during these times that you make the quick detour to McDonald’s or stuff your face with fast, easy, comfort food. Naturally, this will compound the problem, leading to additional stress, and the cycle continues. What you may not know is this cycle also leads to an increase in inflammation in your body.
According to various research studies, weight gain and inflammation are entwined. Typically, once inflammation arises, even those among us that adhere to well-balanced diets may see little progress with their weight loss efforts.
Unfortunately, the inflammation usually rears its ugly head once you put on a few extra pounds. Once this happens, it kicks off a never-ending cycle, as inflammation leads to weight gain, and excess body fat leads to inflammation. This can make for a very challenging weight loss journey and may also be why counting calories doesn’t always work.
Inflammation and Weight Gain
A 2014 study found that inflammation will impair the way your body handles insulin, which often leads to insulin sensitivity and, even worse, a fatty liver. This fat in your liver will then reduce the way your body processes insulin, which leads to more weight gain and inflammation, and the cycle goes on and on.
In case this wasn’t bad enough, this cycle between inflammation and weight gain also causes issues with your leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating. This inflammation-weight-gain cycle disrupts the leptin response. This means your brain isn’t getting the “full” signal on time. As a result, you will eat more, gain more weight, and increase your inflammation.
By now, you can likely see how dangerous inflammation is to your weight loss efforts. The cycle that your body gets into is a tough one to break as everything seems to feed into it, causing even more inflammation and more weight gain.
Luckily there are a few things you can do to reduce the inflammation in the body and cut in on this inflammation and weight gain relationship.
How To Reduce Inflammation in Your Body
Get Your Beauty Rest
Sleep seems like a constant denominator when discussing weight loss. Once again, getting to bed on time will help you reduce the amount of stress in your body, minimizing the inflammation and ultimately helping you lose weight.
Sleep is the crucial time of day when your body focuses on healing itself. Don’t deprive your body of this much-needed healing time. Lack of sleep will lead to more stress in your body, which then leads to the dreaded feeling of stepping on the scale in the morning. Do yourself and your body a favor, and get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Say No To Sugar and Processed Foods
This is just one more reason to eat wholesome food. The chemicals, preservatives, sugar, and everything else found in processed food can and will irritate your body. Naturally, this irritation will lead to inflammation and kick-start that never-ending cycle.
Next time you pick up a can or a box of food, take a quick peek at the ingredients label on the back. Can you pronounce the ingredients? Are they things that you would use in your recipes? If you said no to these two questions, put the box down, and head over to the vegetable aisle. While processed foods are convenient and will certainly satisfy that craving, it isn’t worth the pain that it will cause in the long run.
Take Time to Relax
Everybody needs at least 20 to 60 minutes a day by themselves to relax and ponder life. Taking time out to meditate, do yoga, or even go for a nice walk, will help relieve some of your stress. If your body is continuously stressed, then it will be nearly impossible for you to get rid of the inflammation that is plaguing your weight loss journey. Take time to manage your stress, relax, and feel better. Don’t skip on this one – it is essential to leading a healthy and happy life.
Eat Gut-Friendly Food
A healthy gut will significantly help your body in its fight with inflammation. Adding healthy bacteria to your gut flora is like calling in the reinforcements. Adding to the healthy layer of gut microbes will prevent irritants and other material from sneaking through the gut wall.
As such, this reduces the irritation throughout your body and leads to less inflammation. Taking probiotic supplements or eating food filled with live bacteria, such as yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha, are great ways to boost your gut’s healthy bacteria level and prevent inflammation.
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Food
Foods that contain antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory properties. These types of foods will be your front line in the war against inflammation.
So let’s find out what you need to be eating to finally break up the inflammation cycle that is running rampant in your body.
The Best Foods To Fight Inflammation
Love them or hate them, beets are an excellent source of the phytochemical known as betalains. This chemical compound is known to fight inflammation in your body.
Adding beetroot to your diet is as easy as using it as a topper on your salad. Mixing it into your salad is an effective way to mask the taste and get all of the benefits. Alternatively, you can also add beets to your smoothie or freshly made juice. No matter how you do it, make sure you add beets into your diet.
It doesn’t matter if you enjoy munching away on cashews, walnuts, almonds, or pistachios, there will be a massive benefit to fighting inflammation. Researchers in a 2016 study observed over 5,000 participants and found that people who eat nuts five or more times per week had fewer inflammatory markers in their bloodstream. This is conclusive evidence that nuts will help reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. So add them to your salads, eat them as snacks, or look up some protein powerball recipes.
While most of the health benefits are attributed to the high levels of monounsaturated fats in avocados, we care about the fiber content this time around. Believe it or not, an avocado is packed with fiber, containing a good chunk of your daily requirement.
Fiber plays a vital role in reducing weight-gain related inflammation. Similarly, the microbes in your gut love fiber and feed on it. So eating foods high in fiber will increase the healthy bacteria in your stomach and, as such, reduce the amount of inflammation attacking your body.
Cherries are loaded with antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Of course, they also contain vitamin C, which is excellent for building up your immune response to help fight the inflammation.
Unfortunately, the research suggests that you consume more than 45 cherries a day to get the full benefits of these antioxidants. This probably isn’t suitable for most people; however, if you can add more cherries into your diet, it will help you reduce your inflammation. Don’t be afraid to add them to your smoothies, eat them whole, or throw them into your morning oatmeal.
This includes superfoods such as kale, spinach, and collard greens. If it is leafy and dark in color, then it is likely rich in minerals that will help reduce inflammation in your body.
More specifically, these leafy greens contain vitamin K, lutein, and folate, which will slow your inflammatory response. Eating just one serving of leafy greens a day will have a significant impact on reducing inflammation. Get out your salad spinner, add them to smoothies, and start mixing and matching these dark, leafy greens. Your body will love you for it.
Spices and Herbs
We have all know that turmeric is a powerful spice that may have many health benefits. But it is not the only spice that should be in your anti-inflammatory arsenal. Spices and herbs, such as cloves, cinnamon, mint, pepper, ginger, parsley, and oregano, all have health benefits and can help reduce the level of inflammation in your body.
Add a variety of spices to your dishes. Whether you are making a salad dressing, cooking zucchini pasta, or roasting some vegetables, spice it up with your favorite inflammation-fighting herb.
Blueberries are also full of anthocyanins, which helps reduce the number of inflammatory free-radicals found in your body. They are also packed with other nutrients like vitamin C and resveratrol, which increases your immune response and decreases the inflammation in your body.
When it comes to anti-inflammatory fruit, you can’t go wrong with blueberries. Add them to your smoothies, eat them as snacks, or include them in your porridge. Just make sure you get plenty of blueberries in your diet.
What makes green tea so powerful are the catechins found within it. Some of the catechins, such as epigallocatechin gallate, or more lovingly referred to as EGCG, are only found in green tea leaves. These catechins are known to play a massive role in preventing inflammation.
It might not be a bad idea to switch out the coffee for green tea every now and again. We are at war with inflammation, so we have to take advantage of every natural weapon we have.
When we say fatty fish, we are talking about fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. They all contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. These fatty acids cause an increase in a hormone called adiponectin. This hormone increases your muscle’s ability to use carbohydrates as a fuel source. This increases your metabolism, your ability to lose fat, and consequently lowers your inflammation.
Yes, dark chocolate continues to shine as a tasty, fat-fighting snack. A 2014 study discovered that the numerous antioxidants found in dark chocolate could actually prevent weight gain while lowering blood sugar levels. As mentioned above, gaining excess weight will lead to increase levels of inflammation, so anything you can do to prevent weight gain will reduce inflammation.
Another 2014 study found that our gut bacteria also loves eating chocolate. They will actually break down the chocolate into anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds will suppress genes tied to inflammation and insulin resistance. It’s always great when a food you love is healthy for you.
Broccoli is packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It is basically Superman of the vegetable world. While there are many healthy compounds in broccoli, the one we are interested in is glucosinolate.
This compound was found to reduce the production of inflammatory properties at the gene level. Basically, broccoli goes in and stops inflammation right at the source.
It also has vitamin K, which you may remember from the leafy green section. This helpful vitamin balances the inflammation response, reducing its effects on your body. Steam them, bake them, or eat them raw – just make sure you are adding broccoli to your diet.
Chia seeds contain numerous compounds that fight against inflammation. They have omega-3 fatty acids, a ton of fiber, and even some protein, which all help reduce your fat levels, suppress your appetite, and balance your blood sugar. When you add all of this up, these little seeds become inflammations’ worst nightmare. These tiny seeds are a must-have on your weight loss journey.
This delicious fruit makes it onto the anti-inflammatory food list because of a little compound called bromelain. This enzyme is known to prevent the spread of inflammation, as opposed to removing it from your system entirely. While it won’t go out and actively fight your current inflammation, it will stop it from gaining control of your whole body.
Unfortunately, while bromelain can be found throughout the entire pineapple, it is most prominent in the core. Since it is tough and not quite as sweet as the rest of the pineapple, we recommend throwing it into the blender with your smoothie. You can disguise the taste and get a bunch of bromelain into your system.
Beans aren’t generally known as a superfood. What they are known for, though, is having a high amount of fiber. This starchy-fiber is a beloved food source for your gut microbes.
Providing your gut bacteria with fiber helps them multiply, which again closes up the leaks in your gut. This prevents harmful irritants from escaping and causing inflammation throughout your body. Don’t be afraid to add beans as a side dish to your next meal. Your gut will love you for it.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has been shown to reduce the level of inflammation in your system. Generally, the skin of the tomato will provide most of the lycopene antioxidants, which makes cherry tomatoes your salad’s new best friend. Try adding in more tomatoes, raw or canned, to your diet, as they will assist with your body’s natural inflammation-fighting properties.
These are a few of the foods that will help you reduce the inflammation in your body. It is important to note that, while we villainized inflammation, it is your body’s natural response to help repair itself.
Unfortunately, if you have too much inflammation, it will cause more problems than it is fixing. It is crucial to manage your stress, eat healthy, wholesome food, and try to add in some of these special anti-inflammatory foods while you are at it.
Reducing the inflammation in your body will help tremendously in your weight loss journey. Breaking up the intimate relationship between weight gain and inflammation is necessary to get the weight loss results you desire. It’s time for you to start making the appropriate lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation in your body.