In this Healthy Lifestyle Solutions Podcast episode, host Maya Acosta discusses chronic inflammation and its link to chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. She explains how a plant-based di...
In this Healthy Lifestyle Solutions Podcast episode, host Maya Acosta discusses chronic inflammation and its link to chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. She explains how a plant-based diet, rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, can reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
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All of these foods have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be easily incorporated into a healthy plant-based diet.
This is the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast and I'm your host Maya Acosta. If you're willing to go with me together, we can discover how simple lifestyle choices can help improve our quality of life. Let's get started. Hello, my friends and welcome to another episode of the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast and in today's episode, we will talk about inflammation. In natural process that becomes a problem when it becomes chronic, leading to several chronic diseases. We'll also discuss how certain foods particularly plant-based ones can help reduce inflammation. Before I get started on the topic. I want to ask you, did you know that plant-based eating is on the rise? In recent years, more and more people have been turning to plant-based diets as a way to improve their health and well-being. Research has shown that plant-based diets are linked with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. One of the main reasons for the rise in plant-based eating is the growing awareness of the health benefits of a plant-based diet. plant-based diets are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are essential for good health. They also tend to be lower in saturated fats and cholesterol which can contribute to heart disease and other health problems. With all the information available, where can you turn to learn from those who have been living this way for decades. Look no further than the NHA's 75th anniversary celebration and conference featuring leaders in the plant-based movement. Check it out, go to our link that's https://bit.ly/nhadrriz. Hands down this is one of the most amazing conferences around and it's more than just a live-stream event. It's an experience. Dr. Riz and I will be attending the conference in person June 23 through the 25th. The in-person tickets are sold out, but you can still attend the virtual experience. As always, all of my show notes and links are found on the website healthy lifestyle solutions.org. Let's get started. Inflammation is a natural response of our immune system to infection, injury or stress. It's a complex process that involves releasing certain chemicals and immune cells that help repair and protect the affected area. Say for example, you stub your toe or you hit your thumb that's going to be a natural response to help that area heal. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to a wide range of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The CDC recognizes chronic inflammation is a significant public health concern. They state that chronic inflammation is key in developing many chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. living with chronic inflammation can have serious long-term effects on our health. Here are some statistics on the prevalence of chronic conditions in the United States that can be a result of chronic inflammation, heart disease, chronic inflammation can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for about one in every four deaths. About 665,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. According to the American Heart Association's 2021 Heart Disease and Stroke statistics. An estimated 121 point 5 million American adults 48% of adult population, have cardiovascular disease. This includes hypertension, which has high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and others. The prevalence of cardiovascular disease is concerning as it can lead to serious health complication and is a leading cause of death in the United States. Cancer. Chronic inflammation can damage DNA and promote the growth of cancer cells in the US in 2023. A total of 1.9 million new cancer cases cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States accounting for about one in every five deaths. diabetes, chronic inflammation can interfere with insulin production and lead to insulin resistance increasing the risk of type two diabetes
In 2023, a total of 37 point 3 million people will have diabetes. That's 11.3% of the US population that includes both diagnosed and undiagnosed individuals. A total of 96 million people aged 18 and older have pre-diabetes. And that's 38% of the adult US population. Diabetes is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. Dr. Riz and I recently did a four-part series on the podcast in his segment titled Doctor in the House, and you might want to check that out. I'll put it in the show notes, but we discuss in detail risk factors associated with diabetes and what you can do to reduce your risk of diabetes. Here's another chronic disease Alzheimer's disease. Chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease by damaging brain cells and promoting builds up of beta-amyloid plaques. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia characterized by progressive memory loss and cognitive decline. In 2023, an estimated 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older will be living with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for about one in every three deaths among older adults. According to the CDC, chronic inflammation can be caused by various factors including obesity, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking, chronic stress and exposure to environmental toxins. Let's discuss those risk factors more closely. Poor diet, eating a diet high in processed foods, saturated fats and sugar can promote inflammation. Lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to chronic inflammation. Chronic stress can trigger the release of stress hormones that stimulate inflammation, and environmental toxins that include exposures to pollutants, chemicals and other toxins can also contribute to chronic inflammation. Now if you listen to my show regularly, you will know that I often like to focus on the risk factors that we can control such as improving our nutrition, being physically active and managing our stress, the CDC recommends a healthy lifestyle to help reduce chronic inflammation including maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity following a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and of course, avoiding smoking. Today I want to focus on nutrition because after all, we eat three times a day, we know that foods play a huge role in how our body functions. plant based foods are rich and antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients, which can help reduce inflammation. And here's how. Number one plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants, compounds that help neutralize free radicals in the body. Number two, fiber can also help reduce inflammation by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which can prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can lead to the production of pro-inflammatory molecules in the body. Additionally, fiber can help promote the production of short-chain fatty acids also known as C F A's in the gut, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the body. Finally, a diet high in fiber can help promote weight loss and reduce obesity, which are risk factors for chronic inflammation. I had an entire episode on the benefits of increasing your fiber intake, make sure you check out episode 295 Number three phytonutrients, which are found in plant-based foods many plant-based foods contain phytonutrient compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. For example, curcumin, a phytonutrients, found in turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. making significant changes to one's diet can be challenging and may require gradual adjustments. However, adding more anti-inflammatory foods to one's diet can still be beneficial in supporting overall health. incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds into your diet can provide a variety of nutrients and phyto chemicals that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, reducing the intake of processed and fried foods added sugars, saturated fat trans fat can also help to reduce inflammation in the body. Some people may notice improvements in their inflammation levels within a few days or weeks of adopting a plant-based diet, while others may take longer. However, a healthy diet and lifestyle can have many benefits beyond reducing inflammation such as improved energy levels, better digestion, and a stronger immune system. Before I give you a list of 20 foods that you should include in your diet regularly to reduce inflammation, I'm going to give you some additional tips. Chronic inflammation is not always noticeable. It can occur without apparent symptoms, so it's essential to focus on prevention. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Stress can contribute to chronic inflammation leading to health problems over time. So meditation, deep breathing and yoga can help reduce stress and inflammation and exercise can help reduce chronic inflammation regular exercise can help reduce inflammation in the body by lowering levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines. If you are like me, you prefer finding an activity that will lead it to being physically active. You may enjoy cycling, walking, dancing, tennis or even pickleball find something enjoyable that will get you to be more physically active. Here's a list of 20 foods that you should have in your diet to reduce inflammation. Turmeric. Turmeric has curcumin which has been shown to not only reduce inflammation but alleviate pain. Ginger has a compound called gender roles, which have been shown to even reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Garlic has sulfur compounds which has been shown to help reduce the risk for heart disease and cancer. Berries are which and polyphenols leafy greens are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, they have lycopene, sweet potatoes, avocado, they have mono-unsaturated fats. Chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts have omega three fatty acids. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, lentils and chickpeas are rich and fiber and protein, quinoa, brown rice and oats. And finally, green tea green tea has polyphenols which help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. All of these foods have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be easily incorporated into a healthy plant-based diet. So if you're wondering how you can eat these foods, and incorporate them into regular meals, here's some ideas for breakfast you can have overnight oats with chia seeds, blueberries and almonds. You can also snack on sliced tomatoes and avocado and sprinkle on turmeric and black pepper. Remember that you want to combine black pepper with your Tumeric for lunch. You can have a quinoa salad with mixed greens roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas, a green smoothie with spinach, ginger and berries for breakfast. For dinner you can have broccoli, and cauliflower stir fry with tofu, garlic and brown rice. And then of course you can always have green tea with a squeeze of lemon. There are so many ways that you can incorporate these foods into your diet I often say to create what I call a bootable which is just a bowl that you basically add ingredients to so you can have greens at the bottom. Then add your grains and your legumes and then your vegetables and sprinkle with flax seeds. So these are just a few examples, but you can get creative with incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your meals. Try adding colorful vegetables to your meals using herbs and spices to add flavor and swapping refined grains for whole grains like quinoa or brown rice. Okay, that's all for today's episode of the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast. Remember my friends chronic inflammation can be a silent killer. Still, you can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases by making a lifestyle changes and incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet. Also join our newsletter community by downloading our guide on preventing cardiovascular disease. The link is a bit bi T dot L y forward slash join Dr risk again that's going to be in the show notes as well and thanks for tuning in. Until next time, be healthy and stay happy. Have a
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Maya Acosta is a health and wellness educator, podcaster, and content creator from Dallas, Texas, advocating for whole-food, plant-based living. As co-leader of the Plant-Based DFW Pod, she educates the public on healthy living through various initiatives such as lectures, potlucks, and walks with the doc. Maya hosts the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast and is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine's Women's Health Interest Group. She promotes female health and covers pregnancy, thyroid issues, menopause, and more.
Maya serves as a Pod Action Committee member for PlantPure Communities, creating courses to teach other leaders how to share their messages and support their communities online. Her dedication to health outreach is evident through her involvement in various initiatives such as lectures, potlucks, documentary screenings, and walks with the doc. As a content creator, Maya covers events and makes cooking videos for social media and YouTube.
Maya's passion for helping women take control of their health has become her "ikigai," meaning her life purpose. Maya's dedication to promoting a healthy lifestyle and empowering women to take control of their health is truly inspiring.