As we discussed last week, inflammation is the immune system’s attempt to protect the body from infection, trauma, toxins, chronic disease, acute illness, and physical stress. Acute or short-lived inflammation is beneficial for preventing infection and healing after something like a taking a spill on your bike and getting a little road rash. On the other hand, chronic or long-term inflammation can be bad for our health and our immune system, potentially contributing to allergies, asthma, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and some infectious diseases. Chronic inflammation occurs when the stressor causing the acute immune response does not go away.
As you might expect, exercise can result in an acute immune response, which is beneficial for improving strength, performance, and even the immune system. However, without adequate rest and proper nutrition, regular intense exercise can result in chronic inflammation manifested by over training, and things like bursitis or tendinitis. Eating the wrong foods, poor sleep, continuous stress, and excess body fat can also result in chronic inflammation.
Along with adequate rest, proper nutrition is key to managing the inflammation that comes with athletic training. Eating foods rich in antioxidants (vitamin A, C, and E, selenium, lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene) and phytonutrients (flavonoids, anthocyanins, and carotenoids) may help prevent or delay inflammatory damage.
Incorporate the foods below into your usual daily eating pattern for continuous anti-inflammatory benefits.
While limiting the following foods:
Coming soon... a delicious post-workout anti-inflammatory recovery recipe!
Mahan, L. K., Escott-Stump, S., Raymond, J. L., & Krause, M. V. (Eds.). (2012). Krause's food & the nutrition care process. Elsevier Health Sciences
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