Whenever I think of inflammation, I think of my grandparents who lived in a coastal factory town during World War II. Each night, they had to use blackout curtains and go completely dark to keep enemies who may have been flying overhead from discovering them. It is this state of high alert that only comes from being at war — and when it comes to the body, we see this in the form of inflammation.
Inflammation is a key part of your immune system. It’s what causes you to get a fever when you’re sick. By putting your body on high alert, your immune system is working to make your body as inhospitable to foreign threats as possible. Unfortunately, it’s something of a slash and burn approach, which leads to all sorts of problems like aching joints, fever, and, as a new study has found: depression.
Recent findings have established a connection between inflammation and major depression and specifically the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in depression.
The health of your adrenals has long been associated with your mental health, so it’s no surprise that the link between adrenal inflammation and depression seems to be getting stronger. Depression, then, might be helped by taking steps to reduce inflammation and support the adrenals.
How to Reduce Inflammation
- Eat Right. Although all bodies are different, a diet consisting of whole fruits and vegetables is a great way to reduce inflammation. To find out, specifically, whether food is causing your body inflammation, (see below).
Don’t Smoke or Drink. Your body is naturally allergic to these vices, which is why after a night of heavy drinking and smoking you might wake up a little feverish. Avoid them to keep inflammation down.
- Drink Green Tea. Foods that are high in antioxidants like green tea reduce inflammation in the body.
- Reduce Stress. When you feel stressed, your body thinks it’s under attack and sets it into high alert. Again, high alert causes inflammation, which puts even more stress on your body and emotional state. The cycle is vicious. You need to stop it in its tracks.
How to Determine if a Food is Causing Inflammation
One of the clearest signs of inflammation is a higher resting heart rate. Foods that set off an immune response will also get your heart pumping and pumping. You can use this test foods individually. Before you eat say, a handful of peanuts, take your pulse. Then, after you have your snack, take your pulse again. If your heart rate has increased, then you know your body is having an inflammatory response to the food.