You may not know that your or­gans are be­ing dam­aged by chronic in­flam­ma­tion. See how to pro­tect your­self for long-term health.

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - CONTENTS - CATHERINE SAXELBY’S

How to pro­tect your­self for long-term health

No, it’s not that swollen knee or red, sore gums. Chronic in­flam­ma­tion is slow and silent. You can’t feel it. You can’t even see it. And it can go un­de­tected for years.

Our body sends out white blood cells to fight in­fec­tion. But some­times our im­mune sys­tem gets it wrong, and it sends out fighter cells need­lessly. And if there’s noth­ing for them to fight, they dam­age healthy cells and or­gans. This process is chronic in­flam­ma­tion. It can be caused by stress, lack of sleep and be­ing over­weight. Ev­i­dence shows that it can lead to heart disease, di­a­betes and arthri­tis.

In­clude these foods to pro­tect your body against dam­age caused by in­flam­ma­tion. 1 Eat oily fish twice a week Oily fish such as sar­dines, sal­mon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can re­duce in­flam­ma­tion. Al­ter­na­tively, you could take a fish oil capsule of 1000mg each day. Wal­nuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds (lin­seeds) are also high in omega 3s. 2 Be lib­eral with turmeric This yel­low pow­dery spice con­tains a use­ful anti-in­flam­ma­tory com­pound called cur­cumin. Turmeric also ap­pears to slow brain de­cline and help con­trol blood sugar. Add a dash to cur­ries or scram­bled eggs in place of salt for ex­tra flavour.

3 Up the an­tho­cyanins Add blue and red foods such as beet­root, cher­ries and berries to your meals. Their dark colour comes from an­tho­cyanins, a nat­u­ral pain killer. An­tho­cyanins work by block­ing in­flam­ma­tion and in­hibit­ing pain-caus­ing en­zymes. They also have strong an­tiox­i­dant prop­er­ties.

4 Go for low-GI carbs In­con­sis­tent blood sugar lev­els can trigger in­flam­ma­tion. So opt for grainy bread, skip sug­ary snacks and eat meals con­tain­ing lentils, chick­peas and other legumes to keep your blood sugar lev­els sta­ble.

5 Love gar­lic and onions Use more aro­matic gar­lic and onions. They are a good source of quercetin, which re­duces in­flam­ma­tion. Other sources of quercetin are tea and ap­ples.

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