Limit food intake that causes inflammation

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. More on how chronic inflammation can be threatening to your body.

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The rates of diabetes and obesity have increased in the country. And it just so happens that obesity is a key risk factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so as we head into the holidays, here are keep some things in mind.

Eating healthier and making better lifestyle choices will help fight off extra pounds and fatigue that many succumb to over the holiday season.

Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign (such as processed food and refined sugars). This often triggers a process called inflammation, which is normal, but too much can be threatening to your health. Many major diseases that plague us, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, have been linked to chronic inflammation.

Ways to combat those levels are to keep an eye on added sugar to your diet. Read the labels of what you are eating; check out how much added sugar is listed.

Regional Health Rapid City Hospital Dietician, Tamara Henzlik, says that besides sugar, refined grains fuel inflammation as well.

“Food that would be an anti-inflammatory would be your more whole foods, for instance, all the colorful vegetables and fruits and there are more in their natural form … fish … spices that we tend to kind of forget about: cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, basil … we don’t have to think about always adding salt.”

One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. Avoid foods such as soda, red meat, lard and refined carbohydrates. Fiber also helps with blood sugar control in your system.

“Don’t forget about fiber with all the treats and the snacks that are available to us. Those whole foods tend to be put on the back burner. Take advantage of the abundance of the seasonal produce … that also helps with blood sugar control and another way to help us keep that appetite in check. Fiber foods can help us fill a little bit more full.”

Henzlik says high blood sugar can mean pre-diabetes or diabetes, and “over time, they cause inflammation and they can cause damage to our arteries into our organs. So by minimizing those high blood sugars, there’s a lot of lifestyle habits that we can practice – exercise, drink water, slow down your eating, eat more fiber foods.”

A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life.

Don’t forget about the ultimate beverage – water. It will help keep your appetite in check. A guide to how much water you should be drinking is to take how much you weigh and divide by 2. That is how many ounces you should get in a day. You can also ask your physician exactly how much water you should be consuming daily. Try adding cucumber or lime slices to hit your water intake goals. Sparkling water, tea and coffee will also benefit as daily intake.

Keeping active will also correlate with a healthier life. Take a walk after meals, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

If it all seems too overwhelming – change just one habit at a time.

“Long-term is what it’s about. It’s not like one day we wake up and we have diabetes or pre-diabetes. It happens over time. And so, lifestyle habits are important, and they can happen gradually, and we work on them, even during the holiday time.”

Henzlik also suggests getting enough sleep – 7 hours is recommended a night. A lack of sleep can lead to increased appetite and increased blood sugars.

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Categories: Local News, Wellness Wednesdays