Losing weight is a simple equation, right? Burn off more calories than you consume, and you’ll lose weight. Turns out this may not always be the case. Research has found there is something lurking in your body that can sabotage your best efforts to lose weight – inflammation. Not the good kind that helps you heal from an injury, but the bad kind that is chronic and thought to be at the root of many health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown it can also have a direct effect on your ability to lose weight.But why?
Why Inflammation Affects Weight Loss
The long answer is complicated, but the short answer is that chronic inflammation activates hormones (such as leptin and insulin) that store fat. And fat, in and of itself (as well as overeating), causes inflammation. Although chronic inflammation isn’t always obvious, certain inflammatory markers can be measured with a blood test, such as c-reactive protein, a substance produced by the liver in response to inflammation.
Ways to Prevent Inflammation in the Body
The best way to prevent inflammation is to practice a healthy lifestyle which includes avoiding smoking and alcohol, reducing stress, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep. But there are also several ways you can help support healthy levels of inflammation through dietary changes:
- Focus on antioxidant-rich and polyphenol-rich foods (green tea, broccoli, kale, berries, etc.)
- Avoid sugar and processed foods which can promote inflammation
- Increase omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, flax and chia seeds, avocado and walnuts or supplements)
- Add spices or supplements such as turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and ginger
- Correct nutritional deficiencies- particularly B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin D which are linked to inflammation and weight gain
- Avoid cow’s milk and dairy products which are pro-inflammatory- try almond or coconut milk instead
- Probiotics- good bacteria help crowd out the bad bacteria that contribute to inflammation. Studies show that consuming foods and supplements containing probiotics can help reduce inflammation.
- Other supplements that may help support healthy levels of inflammation include alpha-lipoic acid, resveratrol, and green tea
Overall, good nutrition and some simple dietary and lifestyle changes can help decrease inflammation in your body, which is good for both you and your waistline! If you have questions on what supplements you should take daily that may also help you with inflammation take our supplement quiz!
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